If you’ve ever wondered what influences your dreams, you are not on your own. Neither would you be alone in having occasional dreams that are so strange that you can’t possibly imagine what they were about or influenced by.
This blog is influenced by the things that can influence our dreams.
Hearing certain sounds during our sleep cycle can influence what we dream about. For this to work you need the sound to be loud enough for you to perceive it during your sleep cycle, but it also needs to be quiet enough for you to achieve a deep sleep. This is similar to meditation and guided imagery soundtracks that are used in relaxation classes. Play a soundtrack with waves gently lapping onto a beach with distant sounds of seagulls and you may well be able to bring about a dream of your holiday in the Mediterranean.
Think happy thoughts
What we do immediately before bedtime has a direct influence over what we dream about. So if you spend a little time relaxing and mulling over some happy memories, perhaps looking through some old family photos, there’s a good chance that you’ll stir up a dream about that time, that place or those people.
On a slightly cautious note here this would also apply to if you do something very negative before bedtime. If you’re in a mood when you turn in for the night, then you might just have a fairly unpleasant dream experience. Watch a scary movie right before bedtime and you may well be living it during your dream time.
Add a little spice
Eating spicy food before bedtime will often cause you to have a fairly disturbed sleep, especially if it causes heartburn. When we have a disturbed sleep there’s also a good chance that we will wake during a phase of REM sleep, which is when our brains are most actively dreaming. We can usually remember our dreams in detail if we wake up before our REM sleep phase has finished.
Many medicines, especially anti-depressant pills can change our brain chemistry and in turn give us very lucid dreams. This is particularly common with the SSRI class of anti-depressants. Sometimes the side effect does not show until the dose is altered or when the doctor advises you to stop taking them. The lucid dreams usually go a short period after you have stopped taking the medication.
Seemingly even the position we sleep in can have an influence over our dreams. In particular lying on our front has been linked to having erotic dreams, though there’s no clear reason why this should be so. Now depending on how you feel about this you may want to discourage yourself from sleeping on your front or with a little help from one of our range of front sleeper pillows get yourself comfy and ready for a racy dream.
We know that giving up smoking is perhaps the best thing we can do for our health. What they probably didn’t tell you when you decided to quit was that you stand a very high chance of having lucid dreams. This does settle down over time however, 63% of ex-smokers still see themselves smoking in their dreams over a year after giving up the habit!
If you happen to be travelling when you fall asleep, there’s a chance that your dream will also involve some form of travel or motion. It would seem that whilst we are asleep our mind is still aware of the sensation of motion.
“Such stuff as dreams are made on”
Since we started and finished this blog post with a quote from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, it seems only fitting to finish with the literary connection that can influence our dreams. Most people interact with a book in a way they don’t with any form of visual media like TV or film. When we read we make our own images of characters and even image their clothes and what their voices sound like. This level of mental engagement can often bring about a dream that carries on straight from where we left off in the book – especially if we fall asleep reading.