Do you remember your dreams? Parts of them? I do I have good dreams, I am thankful as I do know someone who has told me in the past they have vivid bad dreams. She claims they are the kind that wake her up at night. Now I have had those kinds of dreams before, you know your leg jumps, you fall and you wake up? I don’t have them regularly though. Apparently many people right now are having very vivid dreams tied to anxiety.
From the article: “In essence, our bodies are in a flight or fight response, which, as we know from watching any horror movie, is incompatible with sleep,” said Jason Ellis, a professor of sleep science at England’s Northumbria University and the director of Northumbria Sleep Research Laboratory. He and his colleagues recently published an article in the Journal of Sleep Research about practical tips for dealing with sleep problems during home confinement. He calls our unprecedented circumstances “the perfect sleep storm.”
That maelstrom, he said, is unlikely to increase the amount of dreams we actually have, but it’s likely to increase the amount of dreams we remember. “The question,” he said, “is, why is the content so weird?”
The point here is people are remember more of their dreams, not actually having more. The article does a good job of giving examples and correlating the dreams to increased anxiety levels due to Covid 19 concerns. On this blog I have given out dozens of posts on how to fight anxiety, one of the key weapons we use is a good night’s sleep. So where does that leave us now?
We have to create the conditions of relief BEFORE we go to bed at night. If you are having bad dreams and they are becoming more and more vivid below are three things you can do before bed to help you first, get a better night’s sleep, second reduce the vivid bad dreams.
- 2 minutes of deep breathing: in through the nose out through the mouth. The deepest breaths you can take, in the dark in your bed sitting up. Do this BEFORE you lay down.
- Screens off 30-60 minutes before you retire: I’m not going to go on and on about how much screen time you should have. If its 15 min or 15 hours, you need to shut off the screen an hour (ideally) before you lay down to sleep not shut down and then go to bed.
- Prior to logging off the screens, laugh: Watch a funny video, read a joke, read a positive story. Whatever you have to do to actually laugh and smile do it. This will be the last “imprint” on your brain before you retire.
These steps are of course in reverse order. However they are listed in order of importance. Do step 3, then 2 then 1 and you will have the best result. Minimally you do step 1 every night. IF you are having more and more bad dreams due to the heightened anxiety world we are currently in, try these steps they will help you.
You are doing awesome, one day at a time.