A good night’s sleep is far more personal than what it sounds like. Some people would sleep for 8-10 hours and still feel lethargic and drowsy while some would sleep for 3-4 hours and feel refreshed. Good sleep means you feel at rest with your mental and physical state when you wake up. This also includes not having nightmares or bad dreams.
Clinically, a good night’s sleep refers to a time of 7-9 hours of quality, deep sleep. Obviously barring the little minutes when one wakes up to drink water, use the loo, or turn over.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine states that sleep unfolds in four phases, concluding in REM (Rapid eye movement) sleep. These stages repeat in order, on an average of every 90 to 110 minutes. The 1st and 2nd stage is when you lightly progress to a comfortable, good sleep. Stage 3 is when you drift out completely and find it very hard to wake up during that stage. Stage 4 is REM sleep. This is when your breath quickens, and eye movement occurs under eyelids. This is the stage when people dream, especially when it takes place during the latter half of the night. We can also dream in other stages of sleep, but these are not scientifically proven.
How do dreams affect our health?
According to Rubin Naiman, who is a sleep and dream expert, good dreaming contributes to psychological well-being by supporting healthy memories. It wards off depression and expands ordinary limited consciousness to a broader and spiritual realm. In the book ‘The Mind In Sleep,’ by Arthur M. Arkin concludes that there is a “close association between REM sleep and dream recall” and a “positive correlation between REM density and the subjects’ active involvement in dramatic dreams.” So we can say that the longer your REM cycle, the more intense your dreams.
John S. Antrobus, a psychology professor at City College of New York, states that if you do not have a good sleep, you may not dream at all. Certain factors hamper sleeping patterns and lead to poor sleep. Some of them are like alcohol or caffeinated drinks before sleeping or experiencing a stressful lifestyle, eating unhealthy or lack of exercising. One of the major reason is not using the correct pillow as per your requirements. Using a wrong pillow can not only lead to inconsistent sleep but also body pain.
What things can impact our dreams?
Various factors influence the ability to remember dreams. These could be age, gender, personality traits. However, no specific proof explains why some people remember their dreams better than other people.
However, recalling dreams also depends on timing. Dr. Shalini Paruthi, Director of Paediatric Sleep and Research Centre at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital states that most people only remember dreams if they are woken by an alarm in the night.
Another study supported this theory, concluding that “high dream recallers are more reactive to environmental stimuli [during sleep], awaken more during sleep, and thus better encode dreams in memory than low dream re-callers.”
Paruthi says, “Whatever people are exposed to during the daytime will have an impact on their dreaming at night.” she mentions that if negative thoughts and feelings surround you, your dreams will be impacted negatively. On the other hand, thinking about something positive while sleeping will allow positive dreaming.
Deirdre Barrett, author of The Committee of Sleep: How Artists, Scientists, and Athletes Use Dreams for Creative Problem-Solving –And How You Can, Too and an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, is a strong believer in our ability to influence our dreams. She states, “The details of how to do it are very different depending on whether you are trying to induce lucid dreams, whether you are trying to dream about particular content, or whether you are trying to dream a solution to a particular personal or objective problem.”
If you want to dream about a particular topic, or change the outcome of the dream or even remember the dream, she suggests that you think of that particular thing before going to bed. It will hold an image in your mind as you drift off into a good sleep. She also recommends that you should not jump out of bed as soon as you wake up. Some part of dream content is lost if you get distracted. So if you want to recall the dream, lie in bed for a few minutes and don’t do anything else. If you do not seem to recall the dream, check if you feel a particular emotion. That will help the whole dream come to you at a go.
How can you sleep well, so you dream well?
Now that it is clear that dreams affect our sleep let us see how you have a good sleep. Certain factors will help you sleep comfortably.
- Reduce the intake of alcohol and caffeine; avoid it especially before 3 to 4 hours of going to bed.
- Reduce heavy exercising or stressful work in the evening.
- Make sure you get sufficient magnesium and calcium in your diet.
- Try to do some relaxation and mindfulness exercises if you suffer from anxiety or stress.
- Make sure you are comfortable while sleeping. Invest in good bedding and mattress and a luxurious cooling pillow. It will lead to good sleep. Pillows are the essential factor to consider about sleeping. Invest in Waikite Luxury Pillows. These are made to suit every person’s requirements, no matter what their sleeping position is.
Waikite Luxury pillows are made of spiral synthetic fiber that is perfectly firm and soft. These are odorless, anti-bacterial and allergen free. These pillows promise you have good sleep at all times!