How to Improve Dream Recall and Dream Interpretation

There is no right or wrong way to interpret your dreams if you are honest with yourself, but sometimes it can be difficult to get to the truth. Some dreams can seem so abstract that they couldn’t possibly relate to you or your subconscious mind – and sometimes that is the truth. Dreams, after all, are nothing but a mental brain dump that our sleeping mind interprets into stories and images. Not every dream requires in-depth interpretation.

However, sometimes our subconscious mind is trying to tell us something that can only improve our lives if we listen to it.

In a previous post Lucid Dreaming: My Experience and Tips to Get Started I discuss the basics of lucid dreaming, and skim over how to improve dream recall. I’m going to go into some more detail in this post, then jump into some ways I like to improve my dream interpretations.


Dream Recall

Step one is ALWAYS to improve dream recall, because you can’t interpret dreams if you can’t remember them. Here are some tips to help with dream recall.

  1. Get a good night’s sleep. I try for 8 hours a night – but everyone requires a different amount of sleep so do whatever works for you.
  2. Have a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every night.
  3. Dream Journal. Have a pen and notebook by your bed so you don’t have to get up to write down your dreams. Sometimes just sitting up is enough to lose the memory of a dream.
  4. Tell someone you trust about your dreams. Talking aloud can easily jog your memory. This is also helpful for dream interpretation.
  5. Use a vibrating alarm or something less startling than abrupt blaring of music to wake up. Jolting awake is the best way to forget a dream.
  6. Lie in bed and think about your dreams before writing in your dream journal.
  7. Be patient. Some people don’t naturally remember their dreams, and it can take a lot of practice and time to remember them in detail. Give it time.


Dream Interpretation

After developing a good level of dream recall (ideally remember at least two dreams a night – humans have 5-6 dreams on average per night) you can begin dream interpretation.

  1. Recognise recurring themes, symbols or events. Look through your dream journal and note any recurring themes. For example, my most common dream symbol is water (generally the ocean). A dream symbol can be anything; a place, a person, an object, an element. Anything.
  2. If you have a recurring symbol, list everything you relate to that symbol. Mind maps are great. For example: WATER: swimming, splashing, ocean, waves. Then think about figures of speech related to WATER: water under the bridge, like a fish out of water, test the waters… etc. This can give valuable insight into the unconscious mind.
  3. Talk about your dreams to someone you can trust. As above; talking about your dreams aloud is very helpful for dream recall, and can also give you another perspective on possible meanings of a dream.
  4. Decide if the dream really requires interpretation. Not every dream requires interpretation. For example, if you have been binge watching Supernatural and have a dream that you join Sam and Dean on a hunt for a rogue vampire – your subconscious is probably telling you that you’ve got great taste in TV shows, and that perhaps you should spend some time outside.
  5. Think about your senses and if they were active in the dream. The basic senses are sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. Try and remember if a particular sense was heightened or if you felt hungry, thirsty, hot, cold, if you were in pain etc in the dream. Some people naturally have highly vivid dreams and the senses experienced can offer great insight.. Or maybe you ate a LOT of cheese for dinner (Fun Fact: cheese has been known to cause vivid dreams – and make lucid dreaming easier).
  6. Think about how you felt in the dream. Were you happy, sad, frightened, excited? Emotions in dreams are highly valuable for individual interpretations.
  7. Decide if the dream reflects a real life situation. Did you dream that you were taking an exam but you didn’t know any of the answers, or your pencil kept breaking? If you are about to take an exam, or make a big decision, this is easily interpreted as a basic anxiety dream.
  8. Be honest with yourself. 
  9. Use a dream dictionary, but don’t rely on it for everything. A dream dictionary is useful for very general interpretations, but the real interpretation must be tailored to you and your experiences and feelings. I have used THIS DREAM DICTIONARY website before and find it very useful. I like it because it doesn’t just offer one interpretation, but many.
  10. Speak to a professional if you are concerned about your dreams (eg. recurring nightmares/dreams or insomnia).


Hope this was helpful/interesting. I have thoroughly enjoyed developing my dream interpretation muscles and I hope you find it insightful!

Have a lovely day/night!





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s