A dream log, aka dream diary or dream journal, is simply a place where you can record your dreams.
According to Wikipedia: A dream diary is a diary in which dream experiences are recorded. A dream diary might include a record of nightly dreams, personal reflections and waking dream experiences. It is often used in the study of dreams and psychology. Dream diaries are also used by some people as a way to help induce lucid dreams.
Curious to see if my dreams were truly random or there were any patterns I might find useful, I started a dream log of my very own.
The more I log, the easier it is to recall the previous night’s dreams.
Why Start A Dream Log?
There are several reasons you might want to start a dream log, from simple curiosity to delving deep into dream interpretation.
Some of the benefits of starting a dream journal include:
1. improving your overall memory – writing down your dreams every day exercises your memory muscles
2. reducing stress – writing down dreams can help you work through issues and come to terms with them
3. helps solve problems – sometimes your subconscious will come up with solutions to problems while you sleep
4. helps you learn from your mistakes – reviewing your past via dreams will help you avoid the same pitfalls in the future
5. improves your creativity by expanding imagination and generating new thoughts and ideas (the song Yesterday came to Paul McCartney in a dream!)
6. easier dream interpretation (can’t interpret your dreams if you can’t remember them)
Setting Up Your Dream Log
Starting a dream log can be as simple or complicated as you make it.
Do you want to keep things simple? Then grab a pen and some paper and you’re good to go!
Are you more artistic and want to include drawings and charts with your journal? Then stock up on colored markers and maybe some stencils, then go to town!
It’s your journal, so your rules.
Let’s get started!
Choose your journal
You can buy a ready-made dream log, but then you’re locked into whatever format they’ve already set up.
If you want to try out different dream log formats, then you’re better off using a blank notebook.
Decide if you need a larger journal so you can log your dreams for the entire year, or maybe a small one to just to write down highlights.
Do you want a journal with a pen holder, or is attaching your pen to the notebook with a rubber band good enough? Or do you not want to bother with attaching the pen/pencil at all and just keep them loose? All valid options.
Lined? Unlined? Dotted? Grids? There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to blank journals. I’ve tried both lined and dotted journals for my dream logs and prefer lined, but that’s just my personal preference because I don’t include any charts or drawings.
Found the perfect journal for your dream log? Great! Now let’s decide where to put it.
Keeping your journal right next to your bed so you can write down your dreams as soon as you wake up is the ideal location.
Since dreams tend to fade soon after you wake up, you’ll want easy access to your journal.
What works best for your situation? On top of the nightstand next to your alarm clock? In the drawer of your bedside table? Maybe tucked under the mattress?
Whichever location works best, so long as it’s within easy grabbing distance.
Some people keep their journal, pen, and other supplies in a small basket so they can just grab the basket and start writing.
You can keep the basket on top of your nightstand if there’s room, or maybe tucked under the bed or in a drawer.
A blank journal and a pen are enough for a basic dream log, but you may need other supplies depending on how intricate you want to make your log.
If you wake up in the middle of the night and want to record your dream without waking others, you may want to invest in a small book light.
You could color code recurrent themes in your dream log, so you’ll need colored markers or colored pencils.
Maybe a small notebook to write down bullet points from the dream so you don’t forget anything, then transcribe your dream into your dream log later? Since my handwriting is pretty bad first thing in the morning, I like the small notebook idea.
A small basket, storage container, or tin to keep all of your supplies would be useful so that you can just grab it first thing in the morning.
Starting Your Dream Log
Now that you have your journal and supplies easily accessible, it’s time to start your dream log.
The most important thing to do is write down your dreams as soon as you wake up. Dreams tend to fade quickly so you don’t want to wait and forget any details.
Write down everything you can remember. You can use bullet points or write down highlights first if that’s easier, then go back and fill in the details.
Once you get into the habit of recording your dreams, you’ll find that remembering things gets easier.
Include your feelings as well. Did you wake up angry or sad? Did something in the dream make you happy? Did you go somewhere scary or run into someone you were glad to see? Emotions can be powerful hints to the meaning of a dream.
Some people name their dreams, which helps them summarize their thoughts and feelings. I’ve never titled mine, but it’s an option and would probably make it easier to find in your log.
If you’re more comfortable with drawing, then do some quick sketches to capture images from your dreams.
Use colors to signify different emotions or themes in your dream log. Maybe blue for sad or red for angry? You’ll need to come up with a key to remind yourself which color equals what.
If you had more than one dream during the night, focus on the most vivid and powerful one to write down.
Be sure to take your journal with you when travelling, as your dreams won’t stop just because you’re not at home.
If you’re not sure how to start your dream log, some prompts might help:
-location of dream
-your feelings and emotions
-people who were with you, what were they doing
-weather, is it the same or does it change?
-activities; what were you doing? what were others doing?
-dream symbols, things that reoccur in your dreams
-feelings the dream evoked
-how do you feel NOW about the dream as you’re recording it?
These prompts from Kenzie at HelloNeverland.com should help get you started! (sad to say that it looks like Kenzie has shut the blog down)
Templates to Inspire You
Still not sure how to record your dreams? Here are a few templates to inspire you:
This simple yet effective dream log from Tiny Ray of Sunshine would be a good place to start. A short synopsis of the dream, possible themes, and a quick interpretation.
This cute dream log from Emma at @entropyemma is for those who are a little more artistic. You’d have to draw the bed out beforehand, but add the speech bubbles as you record your dreams. Clever was to log your dreams!
This dream log found on @diaryjournalbook is more my speed. A short synopsis for each dream, then doodling a cloud around each entry. Cute and easy!
Love this dream diary found via My Inner Creative! This looks like a title page for a dream log as there’s not much room to record any dreams. I like the Salvador Dali quote: When we are asleep in this world, we are awake in another.
This example from @kathrynzbrzezny is freestyle, without really following a template. It looks more like a regular journal page, but with doodles to break up the writing.
Emma at @emmabeathe has another good looking freestyle dream log. Some of her entries are short while others are more detailed. I like the little dashed boxes she’s put the short synopses inside.
This dream log by @mentalhealth4mommy is a cute but simple template that anyone could do. A really short synopsis followed by an equally short interpretation, all enclosed in a little cloud. Love the moon drawing!
This combination dream log and sleep tracker by @studysoignee would make a great spread in anyone’s bullet journal! There doesn’t seem to be enough room to log nightly dreams, but would work if you’re only doing highlights.
This sketch in a dream log by @obsoletefuture is a good example of including drawings with your descriptions. This was an involved dream so they put a small sketch at the bottom to illustrate a point.
I’m not sure what this dream log entry by @daselva2018 says but it must have been some dream! Beautiful example of a talented artist adding drawings to their dream log.
Time to start your Dream Log!
So now you know how to start a dream log and some of the benefits. A few prompts and templates of bullet journal dream logs to help get you started, so all you need now is to sleep, perchance to dream.
Curious how else you can use your blank journals? Check out 30 Uses For a Blank Journal!
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