A dream diary (or dream journal) 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. They are also regarded as a useful catalyst for remembering dreams. The use of a dream diary was recommended by Ann Faraday in The Dream Game as an aid to memory and a way to preserve details, many of which are otherwise rapidly forgotten no matter how memorable the dream originally seemed. The very act of recording a dream can have the effect of improving future dream recall. Keeping a dream diary conditions a person to view remembering dreams as important. Dreams can be recorded in a paper diary (as text, drawings, paintings, etc.) or via an audio recording device (as narrative, music or imitations of other auditory experiences from the dream). Many websites offer the ability to create a digital dream diary.
Dream diaries are often kept by people striving to induce and remember lucid dreams. Writing down dreams increases what is called dream recall, or the ability to remember dreams. When writing down dreams, the dreamer often searches for dream signs, or recurring themes that have been detected between dreams. Dream recall can vary from day to day but keeping a diary tends to regulate waking dream memory.
It is important to record the dreams in the diary immediately after waking up, as individuals forget the details of their dreams very quickly. Writing the next day's date in the dream diary asserts a conscious thought to remember dreams, which communicates intention to the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind then responds by fulfilling that desire. This mental action causes the conscious and subconscious minds to work together toward the common goal of remembering the dream.
The discipline of waking up to record a dream in a diary sometimes leads to a false awakening where the dreamer records the previous dream while still in a dream. Some dream diarists report writing down the same dream one or two times in a dream before actually waking up, and recording it in a physical dream diary.
Followers of Eckankar frequently keep dream diaries, since they view dreams as important teaching tools and as a gateway to "Soul Travel," or the shifting of one's consciousness to ever-higher states of being.
- Faraday, Ann: The Dream Game, Harpercollins, March 1976.
- Christina Sponias - How to Keep a Dream Journal Archived August 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- Condron, Barbara (1994). The Dreamer's Dictionary. Windyville, Missouri: SOM Publishing. ISBN 0-944386-16-4.
- Buzzi, Giorgio (September 2011). "False awakenings in light of the dream protoconsciousness theory: A study in lucid dreamers". International Journal of Dream Research. Retrieved April 2015. Check date values in:
- Klemp, H. (1999). The Art of Spiritual Dreaming. Minneapolis, MN: Eckankar