Some of us are known to be big dreamers, while others are not so much, and I’m not referring to life dreams, a big house, a loving family, and successful careers that take place during the day, I’m talking about those dreams or nightmares that occur during the night.
While some people out there might brag “they never ever dream about anything”, others actually dream pretty often, about many things. If you’re in the second category, then this is a good article for you to read. Have you ever wondered if you can control what you’re dreaming?
Because Freud did *wink-wink*. But truly now, we can’t 100 % control our dreams. Sometimes they might be filled with snippets from our daily lives, and sometimes they translate some of our innermost thoughts. However, what if we could partly improve our sleep, so we can dream better at night? Let’s find out if that’s possible:
Get enough quality sleep
Did you know that adults need roughly 7 hours or even more to sleep properly? If you’re experiencing trouble getting a good night’s sleep, there are various ways to combat that! First, try to set a bedtime and wake-up time and stick to it every single day.
Also, you should know that a comfortable temperature in your bedroom means a lot to a good sleep session. Naturally, a comfortable temperature might vary, depending on what each and every one of us prefers. Then, make sure you turn off all the lights, including the nightlights. Give up on any glowing clocks that you might have in your proximity.
Did you know that exercising regularly during the day helps you fall asleep faster at night? However, you shouldn’t exercise right before bedtime, as you might have trouble falling asleep rather than making it much easier.
There are recent studies that show how exercising too late might have something to do with the disruption of your sleep. However, not all exercises are the same, so it’s highly important to choose your activities carefully.
If you’re really decided to exercise before bedtime, make sure you go for moderate activity. This will help you fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep. It’s also important to keep a 1-hour gap between the time you did your last workout and bedtime.
Have a special sleep zone
It’s very important to clear your bedroom from clutter. Make sure you don’t sleep in the room you have your TV or computers. Also, it’s important to stay as far as possible from smartphones, and any other electronics that might glow and beep.
If it’s absolutely mandatory to have a workspace in your bedroom, you can use a room divider to keep it out of sight at bedtime. It’s very important to create a space that’s essentially just for sleeping because any other kind of disturbance might also have something to do with the quality of your sleep. Try to make a sanctuary out of your bedroom!
De-stress before bed
Take an hour before your bedtime to try and release all the stress you’ve accumulated. Do things that are relaxing to you, whatever those might be! If you have never considered doing this and you don’t really know WHAT works for you, you can try meditation or deep breathing, where you basically lay down and focus solely on the way you breathe.
It doesn’t sound like much, but trust me it does the trick! Also, there is aromatherapy, which is also known to be very helpful in this matter. It’s worth mentioning that you shouldn’t work during this time, eat and drink (except for water and maybe chamomile tea), or perform any strenuous exercises, as we mentioned above.
Change your sleeping position
If you’re known to suffer from unpleasant dreams, you can always try to change the way you usually sleep. There’s a small 2004 study that shows how people who slept on their left side had more nightmares than those who slept on their right side.
In another 2012 study, it has been noticed that sleeping on their stomachs might promote dreaming persecutory dreams, such as being smothered, locked up, or unable to move. Also, if you’re known to suffer from back pain or you have issues in that area, you should also consider sleeping in a way that is comfortable for your spine.
Eat foods with melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone that your body is producing naturally, and is responsible for improving the quality of your sleep. Melatonin can be found in various foods, such as eggs, fish, meat, milk, nuts, some cereals, germinated legumes or seeds, and mushrooms.
This substance works side by side with your body’s circadian rhythm. In other words, the circadian rhythm is your internal clock and is responsible for deciding when it’s the proper time to sleep, wake, and eat.
Did you know that the melatonin in your body starts to increase when it’s dark outside, and decreases when the sun is up? This way, your body naturally knows when it’s time to sleep and wake up.
Consider taking melatonin supplements
There’s a 2013 meta-analysis where scientists came to the conclusion that melatonin decreases sleep onset, and increases total sleep time, but also improves the overall sleep quality, even if the effects are modest. In another study conducted in 2018, researchers discovered the interesting cases of three people who had nocturnal hallucinations.
These hallucinations were slightly reduced when they took 5 mg of melatonin. Taking melatonin for dreaming might have a different impact on each individual. Some people might find that melatonin improves dreams, but others might have more vivid and even scarier dreams.
In another 2014 study conducted on older adults, those who suffered from generalized anxiety disorder had experienced more bad dreams than those who didn’t. The researchers suggested that cognitive-behavioral therapy might help those who suffer from anxiety to reduce their recurrent bad dreams.
However, generalized anxiety disorder is still a topic that hasn’t been tackled as it needed to be, so if you don’t know how it manifests, we don’t blame you.
Some of the most common physical and mental symptoms of this condition include perceiving situations as more dangerous than they really are, difficulty in letting go of your worries, difficulty focusing, difficulty sleeping, and dealing with uncertain situations.
Try having a dream journal
Oftentimes, dreams are just a jumble of your daytime thoughts and experiences. Some bad dreams might reflect things that are probably just stressing you out. As an alternative, you can try writing them down as soon as you wake up, including what you felt during those dreams. This is a positive exercise that might help you connect the dots between what you’re dreaming and what you’re living.
Take up virtual gaming
According to a 2019 study, by playing physically interactive games you might control the frequency of lucid dreaming. How come? Well, overall gameplay makes it much more likely that game content will appear in your dreams and increase lucid dreaming. This is also known as the Tetris effect.
If you enjoyed reading this article, we also recommend reading: Sleep: 7 Reasons Why You Should Prioritize It