If you are like many people, you wake up tired in the morning. You’ve had a fitful night’s sleep and you don’t know why.
· Maybe you have an upcoming presentation or dreaded meeting that you don’t feel prepared for.
· Possibly you are trying to figure out how to pay mounting bills or realize that you are never going to be able to retire.
· Your Boss wants to see you first thing and you have no idea why.
· Your child is not doing well in school and you aren’t sure how to help.
· You just found out that you have a major health challenge.
Situations that seem out of our control contribute to stress – which leads to worry and anxiety. Hence, tossing and turning all night.
What is happening?
Your problems actually enter into your dreams and you experience sleep interrupted.
Have you ever had crazy scenarios play out in your dreams?
· You are falling off a cliff.
· Your teeth are coming out one by one.
· You miss a plane flight in a foreign country.
· You are being chased, and suddenly, you can’t run faster than a turtle.
Did you know that in your dreams there is a plethora of information being provided to you? But mostly, what is happening is that you are working out your problems, regardless of the bizarre nature of your subconscious.
This is not necessarily a bad thing.
I remember a dream I had when I felt trapped in an abusive client situation. As I slept, I found myself able to fly through the air, at all altitudes and speeds that challenged the fastest race car. It was odd, exhilarating, and in a way, freeing. When I woke, I felt lighter, like I had experienced a secret superpower that seemed very real – at least in my dream.
Often our dreams (even the weird ones) result in great ideas, solutions or approaches to challenging situations.
The confidence I felt after dreaming of flying gave me the exact solution as to how to handle my cornered situation. I suddenly knew that the only way to navigate my way out of the abusive situation was to resign the client. So I did. Instant relief. I quickly replaced the client with a nicer, better paying and more collaborative one.
So, if you want to reduce stress, and now know that you often work out your stress in your dreams, the key is to dream better.
But how do you do this?
Try these 5 proven methods to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep and welcome what waits for you during REM.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR DREAMS THAT CAN HELP REDUCE STRESS
1. TEA: Before going to sleep, skip the wine and instead, have a cup of decaffeinated chamomile tea. It is calming and helps you rest well.
2. MEDITATE: Do this with instrumental only music. I like to listen to #YouTube renditions. Just #Google, YouTube sleep meditation music, and you will find many excellent choices. Meditation calms your mind. Worries disappear and you are in the right state of mind to have pleasant dreams as opposed to ones filled with stress.
3. READ: Climb in bed with your cup of tea and read anything that you enjoy (not work related). Within 20 minutes, you will be ready for some shut eye. You may find parts of your reading appear in your dreams, so make sure it is an uplifting article or book.
4. PILLOW: Make sure your pillow is like the one #Goldilocks would use. Not too hard, not too soft, but just right. Love your pillow and snuggle in. Feeling good helps you dream well.
5. DON’T EAT TOO LATE: Eating late means that your body needs more time to digest the food, which puts stress on your system. Try not to eat after 8, or, eat a very light dinner. Both are preferable. Lay off more than a glass of wine too. Your sleep will be more peaceful and productive, which will help your dreams be easier and more pleasant.
6. POSITIVE SELF TALK: Be nice to you. Positive self-talk can help you sleep better and be more productive in all things, including your dreams. My favorite mantra as I fall asleep comes from #DeepakChopra.
I am a wonderful person.
I am a beautiful person.
I love myself, exactly as I am.
I repeat this at least 10 times and I feel wonderful as I fall asleep.
7. JOURNAL: Writing all your thoughts down in a journal will help you be able to let them go. Write them down. Then when you sleep, your dreams will be more relaxing and productive; helping you to come up with great solutions in an engaging way.
8. HIT THE HAY EARLY: We all need more sleep than we think. If you wake up feeling rested, then that is your magic number. Some people can survive on 6 hours. 8 hours is the minimum recommendation and sometimes we need 10 or 12 to really feel rested. Find your number.
9. FOCUS ON YOUR BREATH: Breathe in through your nose as let your stomach rise. Breathe out through your mouth with a ‘ha’ sound, and then through your nose only after a few times. As thoughts or worries enter, just go back to your breath. Within 15-20 minutes, you will be ready for a productive dream filled sleep.
While all of these tools help you to get a restful, stress less night sleep, remember—even if your dreams still are a little ‘off,’ they actually may be helping you not only understand yourself better and help you work out any stress, they can also give you amazing ideas. The key is to be in the best sleep state possible so that you can benefit from your dreams as opposed to be freaked out by them.