Do you ever wish you had dreams about unicorns? Just once in a while, instead of your standard nightmares about missed trains & dentists? I can’t exactly remember the day when I started suffering from nightmares – it was that long ago. What I do remember though is all the different tricks I’ve tried while fighting them. Two years back I put together a blog post on various ways how to battle your nightmares (read it here). Now two years on I’m here still having pretty terrifying nightmares – but I’ve learnt to deal with them, to push them to the back and it’s only ever so rare for them to resurface. I’m what you’d call a cautious dreamer.
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Alright, before we start – I can’t promise you will actually have dreams about unicorns – that would be a lie. Maybe cats, I think I can get you a dream about cats – that would do, right?
💤 Eating healthy (or clean) is your baseline for good sleep
This sounds like such a cliche, but damn it is really effective! The key here is to use common sense – when your tummy’s hurting because you stuffed it to the brim with Domino’s, chances are you’re going to dream about suffocation (by all the extra cheese & anchovies). Try to change this damn pizza routine and have something light for your evening meal – you don’t have to go straight for something morbid like a salad – maybe try a small(er) portion of homemade roasted chicken & baked potatoes? An interesting tip I just recently read about is to eat a handful of grapes right before you go to sleep – grapes contain melatonin which is a hormone of happiness – hence it should induce lovely dreams.
💤 Drink plenty of water
Or tea, or milk, or any liquid really (just no Baileys, Baileys won’t give you nice dreams, I’ve tried). Not drinking enough liquids gives you an ultimate migraine – and a headache is another reason why your dreams might be traumatic & dark rather than full of butterflies & daisies. A good call is to have a glass of water on your side table, too.
💤 Go techy & use a dream app
Dream journals are so out! This is the 21st century, people. Dream apps are the thing now! There are tons of different apps you can use to improve your dreaming pattern. To get some grip of your dreams I’d recommend you write them down as soon as you wake up. I used to have an actual dream journal next to my bed but it’s so much easier to do it on your phone! iDream (a dream interpretation app – download it here) is perfect for this – you can even create a voice recording – quick & easy! This app also has got a vast database of dream interpretations. Understanding your dreams is crucial, especially when you feel like your dreams traumatise you. Realizing what’s in-between the lines of your dream will make you worry less about what you’ve actually seen and felt in that particular dream, I promise you that.
💤 Learn from the past
And by the past I mean your own dream-past as well as the world’s-past. Back in the day (read: hundreds and hundreds years back) in the ancient China, people believed that when in a dream, your soul actually left your body and travelled to a different world. They also believed that if awaken suddenly from your dream, your soul is at risk of never coming back – that’s why they were really cautious about setting their alarm clocks! How crazy! This snippet of a history lesson only highlights that you should not hush your dreams away (& be very careful when settin’ up your alarm clock too, I mean if the ancient Chinese say it…). And if you decide to keep a dream journal, maybe you can figure the dream meaning out yourself. Take me for instance – by writing down my dreams I realized that a lot of them are on repeat. Especially the locations they take place in. Not sure why but by figuring out the pattern I feel less freaked out by the environment my nightmares throw me in. As crazy as it sounds I could draw you a map of one of the locations my dreams have been set in – and the more detail I can add the less scared (and more in control) I am when I’m thrown in.
💤 Lucidise your dreams
Although I probably just made that verb up – you get the gist – this is about lucid dreams. Dreams which you can control. This goes hand in hand with the above – try to understand as much as you can about your dreams and chances are they won’t catch you off guard. You might not be able to fully control them (as you would with real lucid dreaming) – but really, who can fully control their dreams?! As long as you’re able to handle your anxiety, it’s all good & there won’t be many sweaty-PJ’s-n-sheets nights.
And don’t forget to watch a season of care bears before you fall asleep. Or alternatively this video will do too.
Have you got any advice for us nightmare-dreamers?