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Dreaming better dreams

29 May, 2020

How did you sleep last night? 

We all know that anxiety and stress can severely impact the quality of our sleep. However, with broken nights comes interrupted REM sleep. This is the point at which our bodies relax but our minds come alive – processing intense emotions and current stressors, which results in vivid dreams. And when this state is interrupted – we’re better able to recall of our dreams. 

So we were fascinated to read reports of ‘crazy dreams’ under current circumstances. For many years, clinical psychologists have been studying the themes of our dreams and identifying patterns between crisis episodes. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the more visual the crisis, the more literal the dream. After 9/11, many reported dreaming of falling buildings and hijackers with knives. However, invisible threats, such as the current pandemic, evoke more abstract dreams – with many reporting recent nights filled with insect invasions (‘flying bugs, swarming cockroaches and squirming worms’) as well as uncontrollable disasters like earthquakes and tidal waves.  

However, we can take some control, according to experts. Thinking about what you’d like to dream about is the most effective way of staving off those night-critters, such as a specific place, person, pleasant memory, and playing those details through in your mind before falling asleep reduces the likelihood of pesky anxiety dreams. 

By Jennie Mitchell

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