Night time dreams are strange things. Everyone seems to have wildly different opinions on dreams and why we have them.
“Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of the week,” says William Dement (Newsweek, Nov. 30, 1959)
“The general function of dreams is to try to restore our psychological balance by producing dream material that re-establishes, in a subtle way, the total psychic equilibrium,” says Carl Jung (Man and His Symbols)
Some of us dream every night, but we are not sure where they come from and what they mean (if anything!). Some of us don’t dream (or at least that’s what we think!) Others of us are secretly alarmed, and sometimes scared stiff, by the images from our dreams. Or, we just love talking about our dreams and they provide hours of endless fascination and chatter.
So, are they just random images drudged up from our subconscious?
Are they caused by an indigestible food (that blue cheese or late night dinner…) which sits heavy as we sleep?
Or, are they messages from our subconscious to help guide us in our daily life?
Cassandra Eason in her book, ‘Modern book of dream interpretation’, tells us, “According to dream researchers, we dream approximately five times each night with the first dream being short and occurring in the early part of the night. Our minds tend to use this first dream to sort through the information of the day, whereas later dreams, which can last from 30 to 40 minutes, are more creative and involved. It is often these longer dreams which provide the best ways of understanding our hidden feelings and fears about fears and situations, and for deciding which is the best course of action to take.”
I like to believe that my dreams (or at least some of them) are there to give me some guidance for problems that I have in my daily life.
Sometimes, however, when I am over-tired, I fall into a deep sleep and don’t know anything more until the alarm clock goes off. Other times, when I am over-stressed, I struggle to get into a deep sleep, and my dreams are fragmented and confused. Our modern world is super busy and, at times, super stressful, so I’m guessing we all experience this at one time or another. Both of these situations can stop us from dreaming.
Here are a few things you can try if you are over-tired:
Go to bed half an hour earlier,
Take short power naps whenever you can (Saturday and Sunday afternoon naps are sometimes the easiest naps to squeeze in,)
If you travel to and from work by train, then this could be a good nap time (although you can’t sleep too deeply on trains, because you may miss your stop,)
Sometimes, if our muscles are tight and tense, we take time to fall asleep, and then sleep lightly. So, before you fall asleep, squeeze all of your muscles tight, and then relax them. Do this a few times, and it will help you to relax before you fall sleep,
Caffeine may give you that short-term fix, but over a period of time, it makes you feel more tired and dehydrated. Drinking enough water can help make you feel less tired, and herbal teas are a great natural way to give yourself a boost when you need it.
Here are a few things you can try if you are over-stressed:
If you have a lot on your mind, then before you go to bed, go into another room and take a journal, or a piece of paper, and write down everything that’s on your mind. We are not looking to find solutions at this point. This is just one big bleurgh, to get all of the things on your mind, onto paper,
If you find yourself thinking and thinking and thinking, I find if I concentrate on my eyes and my eyelids and focus on my eyes becoming heavier and heavier, then this seems to stop me thinking,
Also, if I am super stressed, my breathing tends to be all over the place, so I concentrate on breathing in for four counts and out for seven counts, which balances the oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood,
“Low magnesium is associated with irritability and jumpiness. It’s also known to cause chronic inflammatory stress, and insomniacs often have chronic inflammatory stress. So it’s possible that taking a magnesium supplement—100 to 200 milligrams a day—will help with sleep.” — Forrest Nielsen, PhD, research nutritionist at the USDA Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, North Dakota
Here are Cassandra’s tips for quality sleep and dream time
- Make sure your bedroom is warm but well ventilated.
- Imitate the birds and animals and make yourself a nest using plenty of soft bedding and cushions.
- Tidy your bedroom, removing old coffee cups, newspapers and washing and put your mobile phone on silent answer – better still switch it off!
- Light rose or lavender incense or burn a relaxing essential oil
- Use subdued lighting. Fibre optic or lava lamps can be very relaxing. If you use a scented nightlight, place it safely in a glass container where it cannot ignite anything, even if it gets knocked over.
- Play gentle rainforest, ocean or dolphin music softly in the background of your room.
- Lie down on your bed and imagine yourself cocooned and floating on pink fluffly clouds.
So, now you know what dreams are, and you have a few tools to help you dream. It’s time to get ready and dream! Over the past five years, I have had some dreams which have really helped and guided me in my daily life. So, can you! Dreams can be a great source of inspiration, they can help you figure yourself out and even provide answers to some of your current questions. In the next blog, I will look at ways to harness the power of your dreams, and also tell you a bit more about my dreams and how they have helped me.
Here’s to our dreams!