Some of us sleep like babies, while others need to take great efforts just to fall asleep. Some people remember what they were dreaming of, some not. Dreams have always been an enchanted and mysterious realm for us all. Dreams are often considered different dimension; one that lies somewhere behind the curtain of our conscious and reality. There are numerous superstitions and beliefs considering dreams, all around the world.
However, there have been a lot of researches, as well. Scientifically speaking, some contemporary studies claim dreams are some sort of brain impulses that consist of our thoughts and imagery. Modern researches still debate over their actual role in our life.
People have been trying to discover the hidden pattern behind the dreams centuries and millenniums ago. In some cultures, dreams are still induced on purpose, in order to discover underlying schemes of some phenomenon or actions in the real, conscious world. In many great civilizations of the Ancient World, dreams were appreciated and even feared of, considered to be a realm neither of human world nor the world of gods, but something between the two. In Ancient Greece and Rome, dreams were often considered prophetic and magical.
Hidden realm of dreams
Some of the first psychological theories about dreaming occurred by the end of the nineteenth century. Famous psychologists of the time, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung created some of the most popular theories about dreams and dreaming. According to Freud’s studies and hypothesis, dreams are a field of sorting out the unsolved thoughts. Most of Freud’s analyses were centered on the idea of repressed wishes. He thought dreams are some sort of exhaust valve for thoughts, wishes and longings we repress in our real life.
Contemporary studies developed some other theories, thanks to technological advancements that allowed scientists and medical experts to dig more deeply into the obscure world of our dreams. Most of previous theories, such as Freud’s, for example, claimed dreams certainly do have an underlying pattern and they most likely represent things we (un)consciously repress.
According to particular new neuro biological studies, dreams are nothing but electrical brain impulses. Those impulses actually trigger random imagery we later remember or not. Since people are thinking beings, we naturally try to connect those images after waking up and construct a meaningful story.
However, some other experiments proved animals dream, too. Cats, for example. These theories interpret dreams as a natural defense mechanism. Dreams often picture possibly threatening situations and thus they enhance neuro cognitive system, which is needed for efficient perception of dangerous things. According to this theory, dreams are an evolutionary advantage, a survival trick.
Dreams also have a lot in common with our emotions. In fact, they help us regulate our feelings and process emotion. Recalling our dreams actually works the same way we memorize thing while being awake. So, by encoding and constructing memories of our dreams, we sort out our emotions, in a way. To put things simply, we may dream completely meaningless and irrational scenarios, but emotions we get in those dreams are real emotions. The same is in our awaken stage; you could easily imagine completely unreal situation, but you can’t really fake your emotions. When we create a memory of a dream, we strip the emotion out of a certain experience and thus it is no longer active, since it gets processed.
How to have pleasant dreams?
Healthy sleeping is of the major importance for our overall well-being. Good sleep and nice dreams energize our body and get us calm and relaxed. The more content we are, the healthier we become. Some people believe having dreams means we don’t sleep well, while others feel very good after they had a pleasant dream. Some people rarely remember their dreams, while others have nightmares.
However, all of us have certainly experienced troubles with sleeping and scary dreams, at least a couple of times in our lives. Whatever the real truth about mechanisms of dreams may lie behind, dreams could affect our day, for sure. People who suffer from nightmares often feel exhausted and get ill more easily.
Having a nightmare once in a while is certainly not a problem; all of us have scary dreams from time to time. Lots of people are constantly under stress and that affects both their sleep and their dreams. There is no magical potion to bring you good dreams, without causing other harms. Luckily, there are some very simple methods that could help you sleep well and have pleasant dreams.
Getting into your bed relaxed is far better than bringing all your daily stresses and worries with you. They could literally accompany you in your sleep and cause you bad, disturbing dreams. So, try to get relaxed before you go to bed. There are various good techniques to do so. You could try some gentle yoga moves; you could meditate or listen to calming music. Nice warm aromatic bath or shower will also do the thing. You could do whatever you feel gets you calm and peaceful, of course. Read a book, do some breathing exercises or try some other stress relieve technique.
We’re sure you know it is not advised to have a meal just before you go to bed. However, there are lots of people who take this advice for granted. The explanation is logical; if you’ve had a heavy meal just before you go to bed, your stomach will have to put more effort to digest all of it. Moreover, you’ll get too full and bloated. There were also some researches that confirmed particular types of food could literally cause you nightmares. Spicy food, caffeine and alcoholic beverages would most likely disturb your sleep and may also get you bad dreams.
On the other hand, going to bed hungry would most probably upset your sleep, as well. Poor sleep quality and bad dreams often go together. A good, balanced dinner, about three hours before bedtime would provide your body with all the valuable nutrients it needs. In addition, you won’t feel hungry, so you could peacefully go to bed. Yet, if you are still hungry, have a glass of warm milk or hot cocoa. Lettuce is known to have a positive effect on sleep, as well as whole grains. Take just a couple of bites, of course.
People who have quality night sleep usually have good dreams, as a positive side effect. Consistency of bedtime and sleeping schedule may help you get better night sleep and have pleasant dreams. All activities you do before going to bed affect your sleep and dreams, no matter all of other things you’ve experienced or done during the day. Try to keep a positive state of mind, get relaxed and calm before you go to bed. If you have a good evening routine, your body and mind would know when to prepare for your cozy blanket and dive into the kingdom of nice dreams.
Sleeping position is also important. There are many speculations over the matter. According to some evidence, if you sleep on your stomach you may experience erotic dreams, for example! It is also believed sleeping on right side causes calming and good dreams and the opposite. Surely it is most important to get into comfortable position and feel relaxed. Try to be aware of the position while falling asleep and waking up, so you may try different positions and see how they affect your dreams.