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Tips for Remembering Your Dreams

Sometimes after you wake up from a deep sleep, you may feel an overwhelming sense of an emotion, confusion, and potentially a lack of memory.

Even though you dream, you may not always be able to recall them.

Why is this?

Doctors have a few theories on why you may be able to remember your dreams and your best friend can't. It could be as simple as not fully paying attention to dreams while sleeping, or it can be as complicated as your brain's neuro-chemicals being out of balance when you're sleeping versus when you are awake.

How can you come to understand the meaning of your dreams?

Justina Lasley, MA, joins Dr. Mike to share some tips on how you can remember your dreams, and what they might mean in terms of what's going on in your life.
Tips for Remembering Your Dreams
Featured Speaker:
Justina LasleyJustina Lasley, M.A., is founder and director of the Institute for Dream Studies, an internationally recognized program that promotes the understanding and value of dreams to help people reclaim their authenticity. Justina shares with clients her enthusiasm, keen insight, and talent for relating to others, facilitating their rapid movement toward a more authentic, spiritual, and fulfilling life.

Justina is the author of several books on dreams including her new book Wake Up!: Use Your Nighttime Dreams to Make Your Daytime Dreams Come True. She has been featured on television, radio and in numerous newspaper and magazine articles. Justina's more than 20 years of study and practical experience makes her an in-demand speaker, trainer, and coach throughout the U.S. and abroad at such venues as Omega Institute and the NY Open Center.

RadioMD Presents: Healthy Talk | Original Air Date: May 11, 2015
Host: Michael Smith, MD

Healthy talk with Dr. Michael Smith MD and now, here's the country doctor with a city education, Dr. Mike.

DR MIKE: So, can you remember your dreams? Well my guest, Justina Lasley, she can help you remember your dreams. She is the founder and director of The Institute for Dream Studies, an internationally recognized program that helps promote the understanding and value of dreams that helps people reclaim their authenticity. Her book is Wake Up: Use Your Night time Dreams to Make Your Daytime Dreams Come True and she has a website,

Justina welcome to Healthy Talk.

JUSTINA: Thank you, Dr. Mike.

DR. MIKE: So, I want to spend most of our time talking about tips, why they're difficult to remember and things we can do to help us remember them, but before we get into that, you were talking about, because I asked the question, I think it's an important question to go back over.

Lots of people would agree that dreams reflect a certain amount of emotional things that you're going through, but you take it to a different level. So, you were telling a story, in your own life, how you become convinced of the power of dreams and you were talking about your family, a very analytical family, and why don't you take up where you were at, because you were talking about how you had this epiphany, about a bird or something.

JUSTINA: Yes, so when I was struggling with how can I know things, how can my body know things, how can I be guided by something that I didn't read in a book and didn't study, didn't go to school to know and I heard this bird chirping one morning and I thought, "That's it." I believe that that bird knows everything it needs. It knows where to go; it knows what to eat; it knows how to raise it's young. It knows everything. I believe that. Why would I not believe that human beings were not given at least that quality and so it really just shifted everything for me and then I started paying attention and it's true, we do have those abilities, we just override them with our analytical thinking and wanting to prove everything .

DR. MIKE: Is that maybe why, for some people, dreams are difficult to remember?

JUSTINA: Well, I think dreams are difficult to remember for a number of reasons. One main reason is that most people don't respect this. So, we don't take the time that we need to remember them. In the night, our brain, different parts are activated during our dream time, other parts are shut down.

So, when we wake up, our dreams seem like vapor. Often, they're just gone. We may have a sense that we had a dream, but we can't get the words to write it down and this is what I really like to help people do because if we are going to understand this symbolic, metaphoric language and message of the dream, we definitely have to have the story that's happening, or the emotions--what's going on in the dream.

So, we hop up from sleep and go quickly to get ready for our day, moving into linear thinking and that is not dream time and so we'll discuss some of these tests, but, mainly then, attention and commitment to taking time to remember our dream.

DR. MIKE: So attention, commitment. Does that mean, then, when you first wake up then, JUSTINA: and not running off immediately to get the coffee going, get the kids up. Maybe, do you just spend a few of minutes at the edge of the bed first? Does that help?

JUSTINA: Yes, and often people will say they don't have time, their life is too busy and I'm like "Really?" To really switch around things and get what you want for your life, to be as healthy as you can, to have great relationship, to have the career you want, your dreams are there as your support, they want you to have all that and they're offering it to us every night and we're often asking for help and we're getting it, we're just sleeping through it.

So, I do encourage people, if they have to set their alarm a little bit early do it, or at least on the weekend, to take time out to remember their dreams, lie in the bed, be still, be prepared to capture the dream. I always put paper and pencil by my bed before I go to bed or under my pillow. I don't wake up and turn on the light in the night, but I make notes in the light, because this dream language escapes so fast. We're not familiar with it. We have to train ourselves to have that.

DR. MIKE You know, it's funny. So, it's interesting that you talk about the busy lives that we live, and that's true. I also think though, if my listeners are really interested in this and learning about how to capture their dreams and remembering it and stuff, we just have to prioritize that stuff. We have to make it a priority. When we do that, we tend to stick with it.

JUSTINA: Absolutely. And I hear people, you know, they get up in the morning, they check their Facebook, they check their email.

DR. MIKE Immediately, right?

JUSTINA: Immediately, like there's something important there that's going to be life changing. Well, I can guarantee them, their dreams are going to be life changing, and so, if they can take time out for that, they can take 10 minutes to write it down.

DR. MIKE So, when I start writing things down, Justina. So, I'm going to be committed; I'm going to make it a priority; I'm not going to rush out of bed; I'm going to lay there; I'm going to try my best to visualize that dream. What stuff should I be writing down about? Should I be trying to pick up every single detail or just the gist of it?

JUSTINA: Yes, and because we have limited time, I want to tell the listeners that this is on my website, as well as in the books. Of course, in much more detail in my book, but they can go to and sign up for the top 10 tips for remembering your dreams and then, in time, there will come guidelines for recording your dreams, but I always encourage people to write the date and write a little bit about what was happening in your life the day before because our dream is going to be working with that information. It's going to be problem solving. What's going on at this time in our life? Relating it back to the way we handled it previously in our life. I said what else knows everything about our past, even prenatally, you know, babies—embryos--are dreaming and they've been with us 24/7, knowing every feeling that we have and they have that to offer in support. So, write down that. Waking life experience. Write down the emotion.

DR. MIKE So, let me ask you this, though, so when you're writing down this stuff. So, you're being pretty specific here, you're writing date, time. How important is it to include, like, if I can remember, alright here was this situation in the dream, this guy came up, it was a dark room. I'm just making all this up, whatever. So, I'm writing all that down. How important is it to include how I felt in that dream?

JUSTINA: Very, very important. An emotion is one of my three points when I try to narrow down this. In understanding dreams, emotions is one of the top. Belief systems and characters. We must write down how we felt when we woke up and how we felt in the dream and how the other characters felt. That will help us understand the impact of emotions in our life.

DR. MIKE: Why do you think dreams are so bizarre?

JUSTINA: Because they incorporate everything. They don't have a sense of time and space as we have created. We have created limitations on time and space to make our lives more orderly, but actually there is none and that is something that human beings came up with. So, because we can be a child in the dream and then we can be an adult in a dream within a moment, it seems so bizarre. Or, we can be at our home and then, all of sudden, we're in Europe, with no time going between the two. This seems bizarre, but the dream is going to put all of that, everything that's happening, everything that's where we could be, where we have been, into one scenario and so, it seems bizarre to us.

DR. MIKE So, the book is titled Wake Up: Use Your Night Time Dreams to Make Your Daytime Dreams Come True. Her name is Justina Lasley. She's the founder and director of The Institute for Dream Studies and her website is

Justina, thank you so much for coming on today.

This is Healthy Talk on Radio MD.

I'm Dr. Mike. Stay Well.