Having Strange Dreams?
Updated: May 16
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Many people are having really strangethese dreams. It's ok, there are explanations. As a sleep and dream researcher I provide here on this sight many resources for sleep and dreams. But let's start here with those weird dreams...
Have you been having strange dreams? While nightmares are more common in childhood, most adults have disturbing dreams at least occasionally. Naturally, any additional stress can make scary images more likely.
Dreams are rarely a cause for much concern unless they’re interfering with the quality of your life. However, you might like your nights to be more pleasant.
Keep in mind that some of your recent experiences may just mean that you’re remembering your dreams more. That’s what happens if you wake up frequently during the night or you sleep in late and have longer stages of REM sleep when most dreams occur.
Try these tips for enjoying more restful sleep.
Dealing with Disturbing Dreams:
Evaluate your schedule. Sleep deprivation can lead to upsetting dreams. See and evaluate how your schedule has changed and what you can do to make it work for you, not be a slave to IT. Ensure you are getting enough sleep. What's enough sleep depends on your unique schedule. It could be 8 hours or 10 hours. Don't let anyone guilt you into giving up precious sleep. It may not be possible to wake up and sleep the same time, because the truth is that's not really natural, contrary to what you see and read out there and unfortunately even many if not most sleep experts get wrong. Do try to keep your sleep space/ bedroom dark and quiet. No worries, my upcoming book and future posts will cover all of this.
Change the ending of the strange dreams. Sleep therapists and dream workers use a technique called Imagery Rehearsal that you can simplify and try at home. Rewrite your dreams with a happy story line. You could also focus on something you want to dream about before you shut your eyes.
Soothe yourself. Create comforting rituals for bedtime or if you wake up during the night. Drink a cup of herbal tea or experiment with a weighted blanket. I eat a piece of dark chocolate!
Work out. Physical exercise also relieves stress. Go for a run in the morning. Buy some equipment so you can train at home.
Eat light. Indigestion can affect your brain as well as your body. Avoid heavy meals and spicy food when you’re about to lie down.
Drink responsibly. Alcohol may make you drowsy, but (may) change your sleep cycle so you’re more prone to nightmares. Skip the wine if you’re having a late dinner. Caffeine and nicotine can also affect brain functions and remain in your system for hours.
Keep a journal. Tracking your sleep may help you understand your individual triggers. Record your daytime activities and dreams to see if you can spot any patterns.
See your doctor or other professional. Let your doctor know if you feel distressed. You may have an underlying medical issue that needs treatment, or your symptoms could be caused by a medication you’re taking. You may want to see a therapist or search another sleep expert to help you as well.
Additional Tips for Pandemic Dreams:
Avoid infection. Surveys show that the most common pandemic dreams involve you or your loved ones being exposed to COVID-19. Reduce your risk by taking precautions including masks, social distancing, and frequent hand washing.
Manage your finances. Job loss is another concern. You may feel more secure if you have a plan in place in case you are laid off. Minimize your spending and explore other sources of income.
Connect with others. Are you feeling lonely or isolated? Find safe ways to spend time with family and friends. Enjoy video calls and virtual birthday parties. Gather together outdoors on your patio or at a local park.
Monitor media consumption. The daily news can sometimes be more frightening than horror movies. Take a break if binging on the news is keeping you up at night. You can stay informed by checking in once or twice a day.
Treat trauma. The pandemic may intensify mental health conditions that contribute to nightmares. That includes depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Call a community helpline or let a loved one know if you’re struggling.
You can have pleasant dreams even during stressful times. Think positive, and see your doctor/other professional if you need additional help.
Wishing You Wholeness