Which effects do dreams have on sleeping quality and rest?
Every human being is dreaming about 1.5 to 2 hours daily, no matter whether we remember it or not. The first third of the night is dominated by deep sleep which is very important for the physical recovery. During the second and third part of the night, there is a lot of REM-sleep (rapid eye movement = phase of dreaming). These dreams are – among other things – important for processing the experiences we made during the day. For this reason dreaming is important for our mental well-being. Dreams may have a positive as well as a negative influence on our sleeping quality, our organism and our health. The one who is permanently having bad dreams and is aware of it most certainly will get nervous, irritated, stressed or scared during the day as well. Of course it is also working the other way round: the one who is sleeping bad, disturbed or sparsely most commonly will have disturbed dream phases. By training the conscious dream-control (lucid dreaming) you can improve your sleeping quality and thereby recreation. There are studies that show, that if we are walking up in the morning right after a dream phase we will feel fitter and mentally more efficient during the day.
Which role do dreams have? Why are we dreaming?
As mentioned above, dreams are very important for reduction of mental, emotional and social stress. There are several scientific hypothesis about the actual tasks of dreams that especially have to do with our brain. The basic problem for science is that you can’t measure dreams from the outside, dream-memory and mental experience are only available on interviewing. But still, actual science is pointing at another direction: for us, dreams are some kind of lesson that help us to be prepared for severe real incidents. One can say, that it is some kind of security training for emergency situations. Are we dealing in our dreams with frightening situations again and again, our brain will be able to react faster in case of a real threat, so the assumption. Some scientists assume that dreams help us to deepen things we learned by virtually living through it again during sleep. My personal opinion is, that dreams are mainly a form of life- and soul-therapy that is helping us to manage the challenges of the awake life and to personally develop on all levels, especially spiritually.
How can I learn to better deal with dad dreams?
It is important to understand that up to two thirds of our nightly dreams are dealing with awkward situations. This seems to be important for our healthy inner life. And as mentioned above, it is possible, that we “train” during sleep, to be better prepared for burdening situations and incidents. On the other hand, if we are aware of these things too often and the dreams bother us during the day, it might have a negative effect on our well-being and mood during the day as well. Normally, the “bad dreams” also occur during the REM-phase and find an abrupt ending in waking up startled and completely soaked with sweat – often with a pounding heart, sometimes even paralyzed (we are unable to move during dreaming). It might bring some mental relief to accept the “bad dreams” and understand it to be a psychoactive try to better cope with emotionally unresolved things. This is relieving for our soul. Since dream experiences have a lot to do with our real life, analytic psychology conducted by experienced doctors and therapists may help persons concerned.
Can dreams be influenced?
As a matter of fact, you can really infiltrate your own dreams via “lucid dreams”. While you are dreaming, you understand, that you are dreaming and are even able to influence your dream up to a certain level. Scientifically it is not clear, how many people are able to really do so by nature. Rates are ranging from 25 to 80 %. However, more and more psychologists, sport medics and doctors are using this learnable technique of lucid dreaming more frequently in their therapies for stress releasing, relationship problems, sexual therapy and especially for performance enhancement in sport. Latest findings proved the following: Brain activity had been measured during lucid dreaming. The dreams activated the brain similarly like an actually executed action. Once more, this study has shown proof that our brain is not resting during sleep but is very active, indeed. In fact, when looking back into the history of science you will learn, that many groundbreaking findings “appeared” its discoverer while dreaming.
Why do we sometimes remember dreams and sometimes not?
The ability to remember your dreams after awakening is called “dream-memory”. A dream-memory after a lucid dream can be meant, too. Basically one can say that a dream with intense feelings and of subjective meaning is more easily to remember than a dreary and banal one. When someone is claiming that he is not dreaming, he is not quite right: most of the time you just don’t remember your nighttime dreams. From the point of view of brain- and awareness-science this might be some kind of protective mechanism of the brain. This is to understand in that way that the human psych is taking bizarre dreams as real as the awake reality. The dreamer experiences and learns no less than the awaken one. Simply said, both together is forming the human consciousness. And exactly at this point the human psych might have built in a “protective mechanism of forgetting your dreams”. Because, if the mostly confused world of dreams would be a part of our memory, too, one would constantly be shifting in an inextricable stop-and-go between reality and dream. What is real and what is a dream? You would not be able to make a clear cut. A constant danger of sinking in chaos would impend. Out of this reason, our brain possibly takes care that you only remember dreams when you wake up directly after a dream phase or when you focus on training your dream memory.
Why do some people remember their dreams almost anytime and others don’t?
Dream memory is depending on several factors like personality, memory, cognitive factors, creativity and phantasy, sleep behavior and sleep psychology, life events and daily stress and last but not least from the own attitude towards dreaming. The one who remembers his dreams well can take advantage of it, when interested. Dream memory can easily be increased by methods like autogenous training, meditation, suggestion and affirmation while falling asleep (“I will remember my dreams when I wake up”, “My dreams are important to me”). But, after waking up you will have to lie silently and with closed eyes in your bed and recall your dreams.
What can you do against nightmares?
Only about 5 % of adults are affected by nightmares. Considerably more children are affected but in adulthood nightmares get less and settle down at the mentioned 5 %. There is no guideline when nightmares need to be treated. In practice, this is due to the personal psychological strain whether someone is looking for or is needing help. A possible access to cope with nightmares is lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming means that the sleeping person is aware during dreaming that he is dreaming and that it is not real. In this lucid dreams you are able to influence the action, that means, you are able to take action in the dream event. This, you can learn and it can be used with help of therapists. Amongst other things, when having chronical nightmares with always the same or similar dream event. You are able to consciously change the process of the dream or give it a different, better ending. The one who is able to act out his phantasies during a dream wakes up happy and satisfied. And his recreation is better, too.
What are the best hints for waking up rested?
Nature talented people for healthy sleep tend to extinct. Nowadays, knowing the laws of sleep is the most important condition to actually be able to recover during sleep. Sleep needs some fundamental preconditions like relaxed tiredness, darkness, silence, and certain hormones. From the biological point of view, this makes the sleeping place to the most important place in the house, apartment and hotel. In my experience, it has to be optimized sleep biologically in any case, since disturbing factors like electromagnetic pollution, distortion of the earth’s electromagnetic field, light stimuli and much more is interfering with sleep. The bed with its content, duvet and the perfect pillow is the most important furniture. For a healthy sleep, the sleeping place and bed have to meet all sleep biological, orthopaedical, bed climatic and electro biological requirements. Because, every year we are spending four months (!) in bed. And the healthy, restful – the bioenergetic sleep, how I like to call it – is already starting during daytime. Enough of sun- and daylight, sufficient exercise, a good rhythm of tension and relaxation, drinking enough of water, nourish yourself sleep friendly and control the stress as good as possible. Too much of alcohol, nicotine, coffee or screens and displays with a high rate of blue-light should be avoided in the evening. These influencing factors prevent amongst other things the sufficient release of the sleeping hormone melatonin. Consequences are disturbances to fall asleep as well as to sleep through and a non-restful sleep.
This post is also available in / Diesen Beitrag gibt es auch in: German