Dream Incubation Techniques

The following is a step-by-step set of instructions for asking for dreams that might help you solve or gain new insight into a personal problem or an intellectual challenge.

Take the usual steps to encourage dream recall. These steps are presented elsewhere on this website.

  1. Take any objects that might be related to the problem into the bedroom with you. For instance, if you wish to incubate a dream about a love relationship, take a photo of your loved one and place it on your nightstand. If an intellectual problem is what you’re working on, you could create a collage or other objects related to the problem and take them to bed with you.
  2. Write out the nature of the problem to be addressed. Write it out in as much detail as you’d like.
  3. Look over what you’ve written and boil the problem down so that it can be expressed in a sentence or two. Then copy those sentences on to a 3×5 card or a piece of paper and place it by your bed.
  4. Before getting into bed, read over your 3×5 card at least 10 times.
  5. Climb into bed and let whatever images you have about the problem wander through your head for a while. Keep yourself from falling asleep during this process.
  6. Clearly and directly tell yourself that you will have a dream about this issue. Repeat this idea as many times as you’d like and ideally drift off to sleep in the process.
  7. When you wake up, immediately ask yourself if you’ve been dreaming. Even if you haven’t been dreaming, write down whatever comes to mind whether or not your recalled dreams seem to be related to the topic.
  8. Thank your dreaming mind for the dream, and ask that more dreams occur when you go back to sleep.