I remember the magical moment I realized I wasn’t translating from English to Spanish any more. It was in the middle of the night. I was dreaming that I was conversing with my parents. Something seemed strange. ‘Wait a minute,’ I exclaimed to my virtual mom and dad. ‘You people don’t speak Spanish!’
Scientists are hesitant to confirm the theory that dreaming in a target language means acquisition, but it has been suggested that while our bodies rest, the brain is extracting and processing the useful information we have accumulated. Wouldn’t you like to know how to tap into that infinite resource that is your brain? Here are some tips on how to remember your dreams and use that ‘down time’ to your linguistic advantage.
First, get yourself a journal to write your notes. It can be plain or fancy, lined or with blank pages. You’ll need a pencil at least, but you also might get some colored pencils or markers to highlight certain themes or threads. Keep these items on your night table so they are handy in case you wake up in the middle of the night. Having one of those little book lights isn’t a bad idea.
Before turning out the light, write that day’s date on the first blank page and jot down one thing you want to dream about. This one thing could be specific like a word, a phrase or a grammatical structure or more general like having a conversation with someone. Remember, your Dream Journal is your communication channel between your conscious and your subconscious so it’s important to follow this step. If you tell your subconscious what you want it to do, it tends to listen.
You must record your dreams as soon as you wake up, even if it’s in the middle of the night. Otherwise you will forget them. This task can be difficult at first, as at best you may only remember fragments. Write down everything you can remember … colors, textures, feelings, language … with time you will train yourself to remember more complete sequences.
Get enough sleep. It’s just logical that the more you sleep, the more you’ll dream. If you like to fall asleep with the TV on, put the audio in English.
In my own personal experience, it took very little time to be able to intervene in and control my dreams, perhaps a few weeks. Currently I enjoy seeing far away friends and flying.
Jumping into the conscious world, I’d like to recommend a book that outlines a holistic way of using your brain. Written for learners, teachers and decision makers, ‘Brain Power’ by dear friend and colleague Rita Baker illustrates that you don’t need to be a neuroscientist to understand how the brain works. Take a look inside for free here: