It turns out that having good dreams is as easy as having a good time before you fall asleep. Whilst most of life's unpleasant stimuli are unavoidable (your boss shouts at you, your dog destroys your favorite flower bush, you burn your child's birthday cake etc etc...) adding life's pleasant stimuli is slightly more within your control. By incorporating pleasant smells, noises, tastes, feelings and emotions into your bedtime routine you are more likely to have lovely dreams.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Play your favorite sound as you are falling asleep or while you are sleeping. Think ocean waves crashing rather than hard rock playing loudly.
- Spend time reminiscing or fantasizing. Think good things, dream good things.
- Put on your favorite scent. A vanilla candle, a magnolia bubble bath or a mint foot cream can linger long enough to add sweet notes to your dreams.
Remembering your pleasant dream is less within your control as it is dependent upon when you rouse. Dreams occur during REM sleep and you are unlikely to remember dreams that occurred if you did not wake at the end of the sleep cycle. This is why you are more likely to remember the great dream you were having when you are suddenly roused by an alarm clock or thunder storm.
Further research has also showed a link between vivid dreams and regular rousing. Regular rousing is often to blame on low blood sugar levels as well hormonal fluctuations.
Hunger leads to decreased blood sugar levels and increased rousing between sleep cycles. Regular waking will lead to more chance that you remember your dreams, but you will feel exhausted the next day due to the regular wakings. To sleep more and wake less, eat supper at least 2 hours before bedtime. Furthermore, eat an appropriate bedtime snack 15 minutes before your bedtime. Don't forget to brush your teeth.
Certain life events are linked to a surge in dreaming. Getting married; writing an exam; and having a baby are all linked to a rise in anxiety levels but also a physiological change in hormone levels. Pregnancy, the post-partum period, breastfeeding and menopause are all linked to severe hormonal fluctuations which disrupt sleep and therefore increase the chance of recalling your dreams.