When we lose out on sleep we lose out on dreaming, too. This is a situation worth remedying.
Science tells us that REM sleep, when most dreams take place, helps with problem solving, emotional regulation, and much more. In addition, the practice of doing dreamwork, including dream analysis and sharing dreams with a counselor or loved one, has been shown to improve relationships, heal post-traumatic stress disorder, reduce stress, and amp up creativity.
To encourage dream-filled sleep and to use your dreams as a resource for increased happiness and meaning in your life, consider these suggestions.
• Night notes: Keep your journal by your bedside, and before you turn out the lights write about the highlights of the day that just passed. This helps clear your mind so you can sleep and dream better. When you wake, reach for the journal again and jot down your dreams. Recording dreams helps to increase dream recall, and helps you pay attention to the messages and information contained within your dreams.
• Dream time: When you wake, before you move or speak, take a moment to reflect on any dreams you might have had. There’s no need to analyze or even understand them; simply review them as you would look back on an eventful day. Scan them for any information that might give you a new perspective — that might startle, amuse, entertain, or inform you.
• Dream sharing: Make it a practice to ask your bed partner or family members about their dreams. Again, there’s no need to analyze or even interpret the dreams. Simply by taking an interest in your dreams and those of your loved ones, you are inviting new opportunities to deepen your connections. As an added bonus, the process of talking out dreams sometimes sparks surprising insights.