5 tips to remember your dreams tonight

Dreams are such a mystery. They come and go, night after night, with little to no recollection of their contents or significance. Everyone dreams, but not everyone remembers what their dreams were about. What would happen if we started to remember the things we dream about? What experiences would we have? Would we learn more about ourselves, or would we simply open up another door to an exceedingly vast sphere of mystery? I guess you never know unless you try.

Here are 5 tips to remember your dreams more clearly tonight:

1. Sleep More

This may sound obvious, but there is research that backs it. On average, we dream 4-6 times each night. The y can be long or short, detailed or dull. The goal of dream recall is to remember more of the details to even the dull dreams.

 

After 8 hours of sleep, we often experience up to 45 minutes of dreaming. That’s why we often have long and detailed dreams right before we wake up. Our minds are most likely to have dreams when we enter REM(rapid eye movement sleep). In the last minutes before we wake up, our body has entered a very deep REM cycle that prompts some awesome dreams.

Most people don’t get 8 hours of sleep every night. I don’t either. But if you want to have more REM cycles, you need to sleep more. It’s that simple.

 

2. Wake up in the middle of the night

Set an alarm for 5 hours after you go to sleep. You’re first REM cycle typically starts 4.5 hours after you actually fall asleep — so you should have gotten a solid 30 minutes of quality dreaming in. When you wake up, immediately start recalling what you remember. Take note of images, colors, sounds — and especially dialogue. The more you intentionally recall your dream details, the better you train your brain to do it naturally. Researchers suggest it’s easier to remember a dream when we wake up directly from it. This means that more often than not, you’ll be waking up in the middle of the night.

I know what you’re thinking — that sounds achingly unattractive. Who wants to disrupt a good night sleep halfway through? I understand.

But if you are serious about digging into your subconscious and remembering your dreams, you’re going to have to get a little uncomfortable.

3. Write it down

I’m sure you’ve heard of a dream journal. Many people do it simply because they love journaling, and their dreams give them something to journal about. But the main purpose of writing down your dreams is so that you can refer back to it later. Referring back to past dreams could help produce some reoccurring ones. Dreams that replay over and over again — or have a recurring aspect — are easily identified by the dreamer, making them a key piece in recalling dreams.

Keep pen and paper next to your bed. When you wake up from a dream — either in the middle of the night or in the morning — write down everything you remember about that dream. And I mean EVERYTHING. Where were you? What were you doing? Who was there? Try to recall specifics and rebuild the dream again in your head and on paper.  You can even take it a step further and write down specific things from your dreams on your bathroom mirror, in your car, or on the ceiling above your bed.

If you want, you can work on your memory recalling skills by remembering things you did in the waking day. Write down what you ate for breakfast or what color your best friends lunchbox was. Recreate real-life situations on paper, and you will learn to do the same thing with your dreams.

 

4. Instruct your brain to remember your dreams

When you lie in bed at night, your brain is playing a slideshow of the day’s activities. It makes a note of everything you’ve gotten done during the day and puts more things on the to-do list. What you want to do is put ‘remember my dreams’ on the night’s to-do list.

It turns out that our subconscious minds are highly suggestive. While you are drifting off, repeat something like “I remember all my dreams” over and over again. Use the present tense — instead of saying something like “I recalled my dream yesterday” — because you’re trying to convince your mind to think a certain way.

What this does is send a command to your brain instructing it to remember the dreams you have. And while you won’t be consciously remembering, your subconscious will hear the command too and act accordingly. It sounds quite elementary, I know, but it works!

 

5. Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine before sleep

As you can guess, these depressants — or stimulants — restrain your body from entering REM sleep, the type of sleep where dreams occur most frequently. Alcohol can also suppress your memory which will obviously affect your dream recall. If you can avoid coffee or alcohol for the entire day, that would be ideal. But if you can’t go without and still want to remember some dreams, just make sure it’s been 8 or so hours since the last sip. For more on how coffee affects your dreams, check out my other post: How does caffeine affect dreams?

Remembering your dreams isn’t an easy task. That’s probably why you looked up how.

Try using all of these tips collectively and watch the dreams start flooding in like the Mill River:)

Also, make sure to comment and tell me how they worked for you!

 

6 reasons you’re having night sweats

At some point in life, everyone experiences night sweat. Let’s begin by differentiating between night sweats and hot flashes. You may experience the latter when you are wearing too many layers, or when the temperature is too high.  If you wear heavy clothing, use a thick comforter, or make your room hot when you sleep, it is normal to sweat at night. Unrelated to an overheated environment, actual night sweats will soak your clothes and be incredibly irritating to deal with.  They can come from a variety of different causes including:

  • Infection

  • Anxiety

  • Spicy Foods

  • Low blood sugar

  • Hormone Disorder

  • Sleep Apnea

 

If you only deal with light sweating while you sleep, try wearing some deodorant to bed. The antiperspirant on clean skin should stop the sweating as long as you’re in a cool environment.

Infection

Illnesses such as the flu, tuberculosis, and even HIV are often accompanied by night sweats. Other bacterial infections such as inflammation of the heart valves and bones will cause them as well. Once your body has rid itself of the infection, the sweats should also stop. If they continue after the infection, consider another reason.

Anxiety

If you suffer from sweating due to stress during the day, the same thing is likely to happen at night. Unfortunately, emotional problems don’t disappear when we go to sleep.  Fears and anxieties still make their presence while we are sleeping through our subconscious. Treatments for anxiety can help eliminate this type night sweat.

Spicy foods or Hot drinks

Many people will be able to self-diagnose themselves for the first two on this list. But this one is slightly less known. There is a chemical common to peppers — and other spicy foods and drinks — known as Capsaicin. This chemical activates particular receptors in your body that make it respond like it were in a hot environment. These receptors send a signal to the brain to indicate that your body is feeling a heat-related pain. Drinking a ton of water after eating a spicy food will help you stop sweating because you are neutralizing your body’s initial reaction to the chemical.

Low Blood Sugar

Also called Hypoglycemia, low blood sugar is a leading cause of night sweats. A variety of different conditions can contribute to an incident of low blood sugar. Eating or exercising differently than normal can throw your body’s blood sugar levels off. A more common cause is taking an incorrect amount of insulin. If you’re suffering,

If you’re suffering night sweats for this reason, there are a couple things you can do. First, try eating a snack — something high in protein so your blood sugar can remain stable for the next few hours while you sleep.  Second, consider taking less blood sugar medication in accordance with how much physical activity you did during the day.

Hormone Disorder

Very common in women, hormone imbalances can result in a range of different issues with even the slightest change. Sweating is only one of the many symptoms that occur from sudden fluctuations in hormones. There are a number of hormone therapies you can try to get rid of the problem, but seek additional counsel before you take that path. Talking to your doctor concerning your night sweats is the best option if it may be due to a hormone imbalance.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is essentially when your body stops breathing while you’re asleep. Scary right? The major reason it causes sweating is because — when you stop breathing — your body goes into panic mode fighting for air. The lack of oxygen makes your body aggressively struggle for air — and thus causes you to start sweating. if you’ve read this far and not found your cause for night sweats, consider the possibility you might have sleep apnea.

Hopefully, you’ve been able to diagnose the source of your night sweats. If not, the problem may be more serious and you should seek the help of a doctor ASAP.

What have you done to end your night sweats?

How does caffeine affects dreams?

For all of those avid coffee drinkers out there, this question has probably come up. What effect, if any, does caffeine have on my dreams?

A good majority of coffee drinkers will tell you that caffeine produces no detrimental sleep problems; they have built up a tolerance to caffeine which allows them to drink it whenever they want, and still fall asleep without much trouble. But if we look deeper we will find some underlying effects.

Caffeine is known to increase the production of a hormone called cortisol. It’s often created by the body in high-risk situations because it enhances alertness/awareness. A person not in a stressful situation when producing extra cortisol will experience negative effects like stress and anxiety. Of course, the most popular example of a low-stress situation that we engage in all the time is sleeping. For a person attempting to sleep with high levels of cortisol, the best case scenario would be a very light sleep while the worst case would be the development of insomnia.

Studies show a decrease in the quality of sleep for those who drink coffee regularly —which is definitely the case for most.  But it doesn’t always mean they don’t sleep through the night. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it can abstain your body from entering deeper stages of sleep. For example, a coffee drinker could fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night, but they might only be in a very light stage of sleep. So naturally, their 8 hours of rest might only feel like 5, and their body will feel extra tired during the day in order to revert back to normal sleep patterns.

 

But what does this have to do with dreams? Well, there is a stage of sleep where you are most likely to have dreams — especially ones you recall. This stage is called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and, naturally, it’s the deepest stage of sleep. Coffee drinkers — and particularly those who drink coffee right before bed — have not given their bodies a chance to get rid of the stimulant which causes their body to stay in light stages of sleep. If the body can’t enter stage 3/Delta sleep, then it won’t be able to enter REM, thus causing dreams to be prevented.

For those who take a break from coffee for a few days, vivid dreams could occur because there is no longer a stimulant blocking their passageway into REM sleep.
Has coffee effected the way that you dream in any way?