I agree with what pretty much everything North Star has said.
I think it's a good idea to create that atmosphere or do things to aid in having dreams. I really liked what North Star suggested with the dream aids, sleep mantras, and that sort. She knows her stuff.
I find that by practicing recalling your dreams and recording them is personally one of the most crucial things for dream analysis (captain obvious
over here, haha). The more you practice trying to remember them, the more details about the dream you'll remember. The more details, the more the dream will make sense to you so when you start to analyze it, it's easier to figure out why you feel a certain way about something and what it means to you.
Also, another good thing about practicing dream recall and just in general, focusing on what you're dreaming really helps with developing lucid dreams
. The more aware you become of them you can become conscious and be able to steer your dream how you want it to happen.
Some things that I do to help in recalling them:
Teas and Medications:
I find that sometimes certain herbs and medications will effect my dreams. Personally, when I drink Chamomile tea I usually don't remember my dream in the morning or its really vague. Whereas, say I use a Nyquil sleep aid, my dreams are really wacky and easy to recall.
Maybe you could experiment with certain herbal teas before bed and find out if anything hinders or enhances your dreams and how you recall them.
(I wouldn't advise anyone to take the nyquil, but its helps me sleep when my body clock gets out of whack.)
Gradual wake up:
Another thing that really helps me recall my dream is to wake up gradually. I find that if I am woken up abruptly I don't focus as much of what I dreamt or I can't remember what I dreamed. I know for a lot of people not using an alarm clock isn't practical but it's something that aids me in recalling dreams.
Perhaps if you do use an alarm, set it on a lower sound setting (I'd allow for more time before you have to be where you need to be in case it takes awhile for it to wake you and having a backup alarm in case it doesn't wake you at all) so it takes you longer to wake up but brings you out more slowly, hopefully aiding recalling your dream.
Focusing on dream and recording:
I think by just laying in bed after being woken up instead of jumping right out and getting ready for work or whatever and thinking about what you dreamt is a good thing to do as well. Writing it down then helps me remember even more details from the dream and helps to create that cohesion and flow so the timeline of the dream makes sense for me.
Organizing your dream:
Personally, I think its good to try to write your dream in a somewhat organized way or to develop a format that works for you so the dream analysis is easier on yourself to figure out. I normally set my dream record like this. It's not necessary but makes things easier on me (helps me figure out the main focal points of it) and if I want to share it, it's easier for other people to read or hopefully have insight.
Goal in dream:
I try to remember what my goal was in the dream.
What I remember:
Write everything that I do remember about the dream.
When I woke up:
I like to see how the dream affects me or if it makes me do anything. (like if i wake up feeling relaxed or sweats, laughing etc)
Some odd things:
Usually I like things that I normally don't experience a lot, or things that I put a lot of emphasis on (ya may wanna make that tid bit a different category).
My Method of how I go about analyzing my dreams.
I haven't been able to find anything online to help with dream analysis. There's dream dictionaries but those really don't work for me. Everyone will associate certain objects, themes, etc different ways. They're fun to look at but I don't think it's the way to go. I also think that the best person to interpret dreams is the person who had it. Again, certain things have different meanings for other people. There some theories as to why we dream but that's about it and pretty much only thing I have found about dreams.
I think dream analysis is all about figuring out which part/or events in the dreams affect you in the dream and how you feel when you're awake. I find the easiest way is to pick out certain things in the dream that caused a unusual or intense emotional reaction and to try and figure out what it meant to you.
, When I am awake, say looking at a backpack doesn't have any special meaning and doesn't affect how I feel at all. Yet in my dream, looking at the backpack makes me uncomfortable/threatened and puzzled.
So, for the analysis, its all about figuring out why that affected me like that since I put so much emphasis on it in the dream.
Also, tying in other aspects about your dream and trying to figure out how they got there. Perhaps you read something, saw something on the tv, people you knew. Did that affect you in any way? Was that the main focus in the dream or more of a backgroung? How did you feel about it? Notice anything weird or out of place? Why do you think it was like that?
Taking in account to whats going on around you when you're awake and try to see if there are any ties to that in your dream. Any situations that are making you feel stressed? Worries that have been on your mind? Anything that's made you really happy? What thoughts or things have you been focusing on a lot while your awake?
Like, if I get sick, my dreams are usually nightmares and represent how I am feeling. My heart beat racing/pounding from a fever while I am asleep will make my dream seem rhythmic or have repetitive actions in the dream. If I'm fighting with my fiance or i'm focusing on something happening a lot, like worrying. It will normally cause me to dream about what I'm focusing on or taking note of when I'm awake.
Maybe start out slowly. Pick one thing that happened in your dream like an object/action that caused a big reaction for you or made you feel a certain way that's unusual for you. And try to figure out what made you feel like that or why you think that happened? Why did it cause a response from you? Does it remind you of something that has happened? Or do you think it will? Why does an object make you feel a certain way?
Just try to find out what symbols, objects and experiences mean to you. Ask yourself a lot of questions. I find it helps me with dream interpretation.
I hope that helps you out some!