It is possible to choose the type of dream you have by making subtle changes to your bedtime habits, according to a dreams expert.
Theresa Cheung, author of The Dream Dictionary from A-Z and The Dream Decoder, says a perfect night’s sleep with sweet dreams is possible, if you know how.
‘From economic hardships to juggling work and home-schooling, the coronavirus pandemic has increased our stress levels by causing major disruption in our daily lives,’ she told FEMAIL.
‘Getting a good night’s rest under stressful conditions is hard enough, but in lockdown it can seem impossible. It’s no surprise, then, that people are experiencing more night terrors than ever before, and that their dreams are generally more vivid with unpleasant content.’
Here she shares her ultimate bedtime routine for a long and quality night’s sleep — and how to stop nightmares and enjoy the sweetest possible dreams.
According to dreams expert Theresa Cheung, author of The Dream Dictionary from A-Z and The Dream Decoder, a perfect night’s sleep with sweet dreams is possible, if you know how (stock image)
EAT YOUR GREENS FOR CLEARER DREAMS
Research shows that people who take Vitamin B6 supplements before going to bed report clearer dreams and improved ability to recall their dreams on waking compared to a placebo.
Vitamin B6 occurs naturally in whole grains, bananas, avocados, spinach, potatoes, milk, eggs, liver and fish – so during the day you may want to consider your B6 vitamin intake. If you decide to take a B6 supplement be sure to consult your doctor first.
MOON-GAZE FOR HONEST DREAMS
Gazing at the moon while you fall asleep will help you connect to your inner guidance and encourage your inner self to speak to you while you dream.
In mystical lore the moon rules our intuition and dreams, so if you can see the moon through your window at night, focus on it for not more than 10 minutes of meditation.
If you can’t see it from your bed, find a photo, picture or image of the moon and meditate on it – but keep your meditation short to help you relax and sleep better.
You can meditate on the moon anywhere you feel comfortable and relaxed, but the ideal place is the calm, quiet and peaceful environment you have created in your bedroom.
A POP OF COLOUR FOR DREAMY DREAMS
You can influence the types of dreams you have by wearing the right colour clothing – purple, silver, green or blue – or having bedclothes which are relaxing.
Association is a powerful thing and these calming, cooler colours have been proven to help reduce stress and anxiety which can hamper your ability to clearly recall what happens in your dreams.
FOLLOW VICTORIA BECKHAM’S HACK FOR INTUITIVE DREAMS
Victoria Beckham is said to drink moon water to boost her holistic wellbeing.
Lunar energy is at its most potent when the moon is full, and drinking moon water is believed to help boost your intuition – the intuition that you want to speak to you loud and clear in your dreams.
If moon water, which is simply tap water left under the light of the full moon overnight, is not your cup of tea, set the right dream tone with some air spritz. I recommend intuition-boosting lavender or rose petal.
The best thing to avoid nightmares is to keep to a sleep routine. Try to get to bed before midnight and keep the same regular sleeping and waking times. While the mind loves stimulation, the body loves routine.
The biological body clock is a powerful thing, and if you vary your bedtime it will trigger nightmares. This is because you will, effectively, be jet lagged all the time, as if you’ve crossed different time zones. Having a lie in is the worst thing you can do.
If you need to catch up on your sleep then go to bed earlier but get up at the same time each day as your bodyclock needs to stay the same. In the morning, get some daylight before lunchtime as this really helps to set the bodyclock.
Avoid stimulants like scary movies, caffeine, alcohol…and cheese A 2015 study found that cheese triggers the same part of the brain as hard drugs and will literally feed your nightmares.
Tension increases the chances of a bad dreams, so a few hours before bed, relax in a healthy way, such as going for a walk, a run, talking through problems or watching something calming.
SOAK IN THE TUB FOR MORE DREAM TIME
You don’t have to spend hours in the tub for it to have a positive effect on your dreams.
Taking a warm bath for as little as 10 minutes in the evening can improve sleep efficiency. That means it can lead to more time properly sleeping, which in turn means more time actually dreaming.
The optimum time for a warm bath is around one or two hours before bed time. The reason a warm bath can help is that your body temperature needs to drop to trigger sleep; taking a warm bath an hour or two before sleep can help this natural process.
Wind down afterwards by listening to some calm, relaxing music before you nod off for the night.
TALK TO YOURSELF
Positive affirmations can work wonders for us, as long as you truly believe in them. They can give us the best kind of dreams, the ones which you never want to wake up from.
Focus on something like your bed or pillow and say out loud three times: ‘I will have incredible dreams and I will recall them on waking.’
This sets your intention to dream. Your mind does listen to what you tell it to do and our words can carry real power.
STRETCH FOR SWEET DREAMS
Slowly stretching our muscles at the end of a long day — not the type you’d do before going for a run — helps the body unwind and de-stress.
Remember, the calmer and more relaxed you are before sleep, the better your chances of sound sleep and sweet dreams.
Slow, focused stretching movements accompanied by deep breathing is like a moving meditation, but there are other ways to relax before sleep, such as reading a good book or writing in a journal.
Don’t be tempted to have one last scroll through your phone as the blue light keeps us awake and will undo all the effects of meditation.
LIGHT A CANDLE FOR INSIGHTFUL DREAMS
Candles have a spiritual significance as when lit they represent illumination, or shining a light into the darkness, which is what you what your dreams to do for you.
Be sure to use a white candle. White is the colour of the moon and reflects lunar energy, and the flame of a white candle is a potent symbol of your inner light or your inner self talking to you in your dreams, which could help you make meaningful decisions in your life.
EMBRACING VIVID DREAMS
Some dreams are so vivid it can be difficult to get back to sleep. You can try to re-enter dreams by visualising what happened in your mind, but if you don’t want a repeat performance, try going to a different room to sleep or get out of bed and do something calming, such as listening to gentle music, to distract your mind so that it is easier to fall asleep on your return.
You could also try reading something very boring or doing something repetitive like ironing, to make you feel sleepy.
I suggest the four, seven, eight breathing technique. Inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and then exhale for eight — counting as you go — and repeat until you fall gently asleep.
Lucid dreaming is knowing you are dreaming when you are dreaming. If you watched the movie Inception staring Leonardo DiCaprio, you’ll know how potentially exciting that ability can be.
Lucid dreaming is an art. Most of us will experience it on very rare occasions but if you want to experience it more often it takes dedicated practice.
Those who master the art of becoming lucid in their dreams believe it can help reduce anxiety, ignite their creativity and help them solve problems.
To increase your chances of lucid dreaming practice all the dream recall steps here – and during the day, start asking yourself if you are dreaming or awake.
The more you do this the more likely you will do it in your sleep. And when you talk to the pillow before sleeping, add this extra phrase ‘And when I dream I will know I am dreaming’.
You might also want to take up video gaming, as one 2017 study showed that video gamers reported more vivid and lucid dreams. Be sure to avoid gaming in the hour before you go to bed though, as electronics and screens and the adrenaline rush of gaming can keep you wide awake.
Theresa’s new book, The Truth About Angels, is out on March 4. For more information visit www.theresacheung.com.