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I really like the concept of lucid dreaming, but in addition to having to wake up in the middle of the night (according to it's technique), my biggest hurdle to being able to practice it is actually logging down the dream in the middle of the night.

Dreams are volatile entities. You get up from bed and can already feel all the little details seeping out of you. Puff, all that world that only existed in your head is no more. This is for physiological reasons, and for the same reason we sometimes wake up in the middle of the night fully conscious but don't remember it come morning (other people tells us instead). This transition from dream to waking life is sometimes a bit blurred by our brain, but as soon as it's completed, our 'dream buffer' is mostly deleted (and our 3am excursion to the kitchen might get deleted with it).

But to write down a dream in the middle of the night without moving much or turning any lights on? I can touch type, and that is essential. I'm looking for a modern solution. I have already tried these:

  1. Had an Alphasmart beside my bed, so when I woke I would pull it and type lying in bed to some success, but they're a bit inconvenient to transfer to a PC later, plus they're old tech and keep failing (I had like 8 malfunctional units at one point).

  2. Had my laptop turned on with a program called Q10 focused. The program is great because it provides typewriter-like audible feedback on key touch. But there's too much hassle with this setup: 1. you need to ensure power settings won't make the pc sleep/hibernate; 2. every morning you need to setup the laptop again at your desk (extra monitors, etc); 3. don't even get me started on avoiding the laptop's screen light (Alphasmart produced no light in comparison).

  3. Same as (2) but with Gmail or some other cloud text-input with auto-save. That way I used a second laptop exclusively for this and accessed Gmail on my desk laptop. Problems is it didn't provide audible feedback so I had to look for windows utilities to provide that = setup hassle.

  4. Same as (2) but with Apple's bluetooth keyboard, so the laptop would stay on the desk (in my room). Problems: the bluetooth's reach is a joke, I would often loose connection if the keyboard was lying on top of me, but if I lifted it a foot it would have a connection. Also the battery runs out unexpectedly fast. And for blind touch typing I need something dependable.

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3 Answers

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Personally I keep index cards, a sketchbook and pen handy on my night stand. However, if you're looking for something more modern then I think a digital voice recorder with usb connectivity would be a good option. Some newer models can even sync up via email to make logging and archiving easier. Because they usually only have a few physical buttons, it should be simple to operate in the dark.

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Writing method should not matter, the importance should lie in remembering the details before going to write them down. When you wake up you should be thinking "what did I just dream about" rather than "I need to do X to get my thoughts written down". Repetition of what you had just dream about removes some of the volatility, that way you don't lose most thoughts halfway in writing.

As for the writing part, which can of course be optimized; you should be able to do only a single action to get yourself ready to write.

  1. Paper-based writing: Turn on the light, take the pen(cil) and start writing.

  2. Electronic device: Should be ready to be written too, optionally turning on the light.

  3. Laptop: After opening up the laptop or waking it from sleep mode, there should immediately be a text writer on your screen. Make sure you don't have to type a password first or click around to get to the text editor.

    You should be able to enter the text without looking at that bright screen. But why have a bright screen anyway? Remember that you can use F.lux and also turn down the brightness of your screen to make it much easier on your eyes. As said, make sure that is put ready in advance...

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I always used to use paper and pencil, with a little pencil mounted torch so I wouldn't wake anyone. After a while you'll find you remember with less effort, and you might end up not even needing to write them down.

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