The Weird Dreams Edition [Mollie's Monday Obsessions v.89]
A trendy topic right now is the increase in WEIRD DREAMS during this COVID lockdown.
What better day than 4/20 to address the trippy nature of what occurs for many as an increase in the number of “weird dreams”?
So for those of you who have missed it, this is a snapshot of what is circulating online: “At least five research teams at institutions across multiple countries are collecting examples...one of their findings so far is that pandemic dreams are being colored by stress, isolation, and changes in sleep patterns—a swirl of negative emotions that set them apart from typical dreaming.” -National Geographic
Ironically, Blake literally has Christopher Nolan’s, Inception on in the background as I write this, and I just heard this,
“You musn't be afraid to dream a little bigger darling.”
I think this applies to what seems to be occurring for many...don’t be afraid to dream a little more than usual...however, I would take it as a sign that it’s essential to improve our sleep timing consistency and up-level our destressing practices.
“For those experiencing coronavirus nightmares, there is growing evidence that so-called “dream mastery techniques” can alleviate their suffering.When Barrett works with patients on “scripting” their own dreams, she often asks how they want the nightmare to be different. After a patient figures out their dream’s new direction, they can write it down and rehearse it before bed. These scripts range from more mundane solutions, like fighting off attackers, to more “dreamlike” scenarios, such as shrinking the attacker down to the size of an ant.
For those seeking to wrest some control over bad dreams, focusing on the “bizarre” may help, says Ruby, the researcher from Lyon. “Changing the context—the laws of physics and so on—may change the perspective [and] propose another angle, a shift in the understanding which may help to change or play down emotion.”
Reduce stress. How you spend your time right before bed can impact your dreams once you fall asleep, Stahl says. So try to refrain from activities that might make you anxious or get your mind racing, like watching a scary movie or reading the news. To get better sleep overall, you may also want to incorporate stress-management strategies like journaling, regular exercise, meditation, or talking with a therapist.
Relaxation techniques. If a disturbing dream does wake you in the middle of the night, it can be difficult to fall back asleep. "After an unsettling dream, relaxing, deep breathing, focusing on reducing your heart rate, and avoiding rumination about the dream are beneficial," Stahl says. You could also try occupying your mind with something else, like reading a book, until you start to feel drowsy again.
Try dream rehearsal. A method known as "dream rehearsal" is another way to help manage or prevent strange dreams from wrecking your sleep, Dimitriu says. This process involves writing down the story of the bad dream and then describing an alternative or happier ending, which can "Set the intention to have a dream end in a positive way, just before bed," Dimitru says.
Stick to a sleep routine. Having good sleep hygiene can help you sleep better, Dasgupta says, and potentially avoid bad dreams. This means that you should aim to fall asleep and wake up around the same time every day, which can help regulate your circadian rhythms and avoid over-sleeping or sleep deprivation.
Resource: Article, 6 Factors That Determine Whether or Not You Remember Your Dreams Fun findings like your sex, age, and total sleep duration (among other things!) have a say in whether you’re more likely to remember your dreams or not. *Don’t forget that there are also drugs that repress your REM state, like some anti-anxiety medications.