Tag Archives: Sleep

Q&A: My Dreams are Back … But Why?

Q: Hey, Tzivia! I’m wondering if this makes any sense to you. After years of barely being able to remember most of my dreams (either just nothing or too scrambled to recall), in the past week I’ve started having ‘normal’ memories – like I used to have – of one or two dreams a night. And as if that weren’t enough, while I usually rarely dream of people I know, these dreams are long stories about significant people in my life.


Perplexed (and Pleased) in Massachusetts

A: I once had a beautiful black cat named Nim. My vet warned me not to let her outside, and instead to make her a house cat, so she’d have a better chance at a long, safe life. If I let her outside, he cautioned, she could be hit by a car, scooped up by a bird of prey, or meet any number of unfortunate fates.

Now, at the risk of opening up a debate about the proper care of domesticated cats–when it’s dreams I want to talk about (I promise, I’ll get to those soon)–I will tell you that I decided to let her out.

She was a wild one, that cat. A stray when I found her, she never seemed completely at home–well–at home. She loved to be outdoors where she’d roam, stalk, chase, and run. Then she’d come back inside where she’d curl up in the best spot on the sofa, or of course, the bed.

I knew I was taking a chance each time I let her out. But most days, when I whistled for her to come back inside, she’d prance happily to the door. Still, a few times a year she would stay out for one, two, or even three nights at a time.

On those nights I’d worry that the vet had been right, and I’d unnecessarily subjected my cat to danger. But then she’d show up on the stoop wearing a smug expression on her face, as if she were savoring the memory of some tasty escapade.

I’d instantly forgive her the pain she’d caused me, and be filled with happiness at her return. But I’d also feel–perplexed.
What made her run off seemed simple enough: a mouse to chase, another neighborhood cat to visit, the itch to travel. But what brought her back? The memory of the soft sofa cushion? Her hunger for canned cat food? I’ll never know.
And so, my Perplexed Pal, we have the same issue with our wild and wonderful dreams.

It seems that if we want to keep dreams reliably by our side, all we can do is create the right conditions for them to come to us. Like a cat, they like their independence, they like to be handled in just the right way, and they are far too dignified to submit to being leashed.

To invite our dreams to stay we need to get to bed at a decent hour and wake up slowly  so we don’t scare them away with jangling alarms or sudden bright sunlight. But sometimes, even when we do the best we can to domesticate them, our dreams slink away, mysterious as a black cat in the night.

To solve the puzzle of your newly returned dreams, look for what might have changed in your life to have whistled them back. It could be anything from diet, to sleep habits, to methods of waking up, to shifts in daytime consciousness (feeling more relaxed…or more anxious), and even hormonal fluctuations.

That’s the scientist’s approach, based on reason and observation. But as with my feral feline friend, logic doesn’t always work–especially with something as bewildering as dreams.

Despite the conventional recommendations for recalling dreams, sometimes dreams operate under laws of their own. They run off sometimes, but then they return–when they’re good and ready.
 Nim at the window
In any case, I’m glad to see that you are not only perplexed … but also pleased about this turn of events!
I believe dreams are a great gift and offer us guidance, wisdom, and healing. Show yours that you’re happy they’ve returned. Write them down, tell them to a friend or dream therapist. And most of all, enjoy them.
In the meantime, may you dream & be well,
PS. Oh, and as for my cat Nim, she lived to a ripe old age, surviving not only the perils of the world outside our back door, but also various other pets that we took into our home over the years, including an overly territorial cat–as well as a baby girl who grew to be a curious toddler and a sometimes mischievous child–and then a doting friend and devoted animal lover–who sometimes remembers her dreams.
Be in touch if you’d like to work on any of those newly recovered dreams.
© 2016 Tzivia Gover

Tzivia Gover

MFA, Certified Dream Therapist

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Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science Confirm The Healing Power of Dreams

“An unremembered dream is like an unopened letter from God.”

The average person dreams from four to seven times every night. That means that by the age of 80, they will have had between 116,800 and 204,400 dreams. However, most people are confused and mystified by their dreams, and as a result they largely ignore them. When asked why they don’t pay attention to their dreams, many say dreams are too complicated to understand, or that most of their dreams are nonsensical at best and disturbing at worst.

But while dreams may have fallen out of favor in modern Western cultures, people around the world have long known that dreams can help them in down-to-earth, practical matters. In fact, an ancient quote posits that, “An unremembered dream is like an unopened letter from God.”

This traditional wisdom, is now backed by scientific research. Dreams have been shown to help with everything from emotional regulation to increased creativity. And studies show that working with dreams in a therapeutic environment can help people gain insight into problems and issues as well as heal from the loss of a loved one, or recurring nightmares caused by trauma.

In addition, dreamwork promotes concrete, positive changes based on deep understanding of the dream. People from all walks of life, from artists to scientists, have credited dreams with major inspirations and breakthroughs. And everyday people regularly receive guidance about physical health, interpersonal relationships, professional problems, and more through working with their dreams.

As a Certified Dream Therapist and as an individual who has benefited greatly from my dreams for years, I am passionate about helping others learn to listen to and understand their dreams. Toward that end, I am offering discounted dreamwork sessions (in person, by phone or Skype) all summer long, as well as a new ongoing “Listening to Dreams” workshop series that begins on Aug. 20th. For information on individual dreamwork consultations or workshops, please visit me at CLINIC Alternative Medicines or view my web site http://www.thirdhousemoon.com.


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Q&A: Drinking and Dreaming … Do They Mix? (CV*)

English: A glass of port wine. Français : Un v...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Q: I like to have a glass or two of red wine in the evenings, but I’ve heard that alcohol can affect your dreams. Is that true?

A: In a word, yes. Drinking wine before bed is likely to affect your dreams. But is this good or bad, and should you change  your drinking habits because of it? I’ll leave that decision up to you.

Common wisdom says that drinking wine at night may relax you and help you fall asleep, but it negatively impacts the quality of sleep overall by causing you to wake in the middle of the night and have trouble returning to sleep.

This is obviously problematic in terms of getting a full and deep night’s rest, but it can also negatively impact your dream life. Here’s why:

During the course of the night we move through various sleep cycles, one of which is the REM cycle during which most vivid dreams take place. The early sleep cycles, during which time the wine is most present in your body, are the ones with the shortest REM cycles.

The second part of the night, in which those dreamy REM cycles lengthen, can be interrupted by alcohol’s affect on your body. The bottom line is that you’ve slept well during the half of the night with briefer dream cycles, and are tossing and turning awake in bed during the second dream-rich half of the night when those luscious REM cycles would normally kick in.

Another reason people are often warned away from drinking before bed is that wine has a reputation for leading to nightmares and vivid dreams. For adventurous dreamers, those vivid dreams are a plus … and truly adventurous dreamers might be willing to risk a nightmare or two for the enhanced excitement of unusual and memorable dreams. Also, some dreamers report having more lucid dreams after enjoying a nightcap.

I haven’t read scientific studies that connect lucid dreaming and alcohol, but it makes sense to me. First of all, bizarre elements of unusual dreams or nightmares often tip the dreamer off to the fact that they’re dreaming, thus provoking lucidity. Also, I find I have lucid dreams on nights I wake and fall back asleep a couple of times. Maybe wine’s tendency to interrupt our sleep cycles also induces more lucidity during the snippets when we do doze off.

But that’s speculation. As usual, I encourage you to be your own sleep scientist. Take note of your own experience with drinking and dreaming – but always dream safe! Less is more when it comes to drinking. And anyway, isn’t dreaming itself is all the buzz you need?


Some helpful hints when it comes to drinking and dreaming:

  1. To avoid alcohol’s negative affects on sleep, enjoy your glass of wine at least three hours before bedtime. That will allow the wine to metabolize and work its way through your system before you snooze.
  2. Don’t overdo it! Drink a glass of water for every glass of wine you imbibe. That will slow down  your alcohol consumption and keep you hydrated.
  3. If you are drinking wine to unwind before bed, find other non-alcoholic ways to slow down and sooth your tensions. Try taking a warm bath, meditate, or read a good book before bed, instead.
Compaii to the dreamer who asked this week's question!

Compaii to the dreamer who asked this week’s question!


*Corner View is a weekly appointment each Wednesday, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. This week’s theme is WineStart here to visit more Corner View blogs.


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Good Evening—Good Dreams (CV)

A good night of dreaming starts with a good night’s sleep. And a good night’s sleep starts with a good evening routine.

"The Bedroom" Van Gogh

Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to wind down toward dreamtime that help promote a sound sleep:

Z After dinner, have a cup of calming tea. Some of my favorites are Celestial Seasoning’s “Sleepy Time Vanilla,” Chamomile, and my all time favorite: Tulsi Tea–I prefer the Rose flavor, which is billed as being relaxing and magical … what better for dreamtime! But you can also go the more traditional route and get Tulsi for Sleep.

Z I love a late evening snack. Sleep-friendly after-dinner snacks include bananas, low-sugar cereals, milk or kefir (I prefer kefir!), or a turkey sandwich (yup, it’s true, turkey makes you sleepy).

Z We all know we’re supposed to stick to a regular sleep and wake schedule to promote good sleep hygeiene. I don’t know about you, but I find this difficult to accomplish. But here’s a tip that helps me on the nights that I resist getting to bed on time: Don’t hit the snooze button the next morning. That’s just making a bad situation worse. Rather than sleep in, take a 20-30 minute nap in  the afternoon to make up for the sleep you missed. This will help you get caught up without compromising your sleep schedule too much.

Z You suspect it and studies prove it: Being on the computer, the smart phone, iPad, etc. in the evening hours are all compromising your sleep. Even watching TV is bad for sleep. But face it, even though we know the light from our e-readers and other screens is interfering with our sleep, we can’t give them up altogether. So, consider these modifications: If you use an e-reader, don’t use back light feature. For other screens, look into getting a blue light filter, as it’s the blue light that’s been linked to sleep interference. Here is a link to a site that offers other tips and apps to help make your screens more sleep friendly.

Z Meditate in the evening. You can even meditate in bed if you wake in the middle of the night. Not only does meditation relax you, it increases your chances of having lucid dreams.

Z Wind down with a few yoga stretches. Legs up the wall pose, plow pose, and easy forward bend are a few good choices. Here’s a link that gives more information on helpful yoga poses for enhancing sleep.


Do you have a favorite relaxing tea, ritual, or routine? Share, please! After all, we could all use a better night’s sleep!

Boston Moonlight


If you’d like to learn more about your dreams, schedule an appointment for dreamwork, purchase a dream journal, or buy a dreamwork gift certificate, visit me at Third House Moon.


Corner View is a weekly appointment each Wednesday, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. This week’s theme is evening. Start here to visit more Corner View blogs.


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Dreaming Home and Away (CV)

After returning from a long trip this summer, my sister asked me if I dream differently in my own bed than I do when I’m travelling.

Honestly, I’d never really thought about this before, but upon reflection I realized that I do experience an interesting pattern when I dream in new locations.

My first night or two sleeping in a new bed, my dreams tend to take place in my immediate environment. For example, I slept in a hotel room early this summer, and one of my first dreams in that bed took place in the hotel room itself.

While sleeping in the loft of a country cottage in upstate New York, I had a dream that took place in the loft.


Thinking back I remember sleeping at a new friend’s house in her son’s bedroom while he was off at a sleepover of his own. That night I dreamed of the boy, whom I had not yet met, tumbling like an acrobat with his friends in the bedroom where I lay dreaming. The next day when I did meet him, in the living room of his home, he started doing similar acrobatics.

If I am staying in the same bed for several nights, my dreams begin to roam farther afield. But on that first night or two, at least one significant dream tends to take place right around the spot where my head is resting on the pillow.

By contrast, sleeping at home in my own bed, my dreams take place in a wide variety of locations. Some take place in my bedroom, but those are the exception when I’m at home, and not the rule.

And now I’m wondering if this is true for others. Dreamers, I invite you to notice: Are your dreams different, in terms of quality, content, or quantity when you sleep away from home? If so, how?


If you’d like to learn more about your dreams, schedule an appointment for dreamwork, purchase a dream journal, or buy a dreamwork gift certificate, visit me at Third House Moon.


Corner View is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. Start here to visit more Corner View blogs. This week’s theme was “Away”.


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Counting Sheep is Just The Beginning

Tricks and Tips for Falling Asleep


Sheep (Photo credit: James Good)

When you have trouble falling asleep, do you count sheep?

It turns out, barnyard critters are only the beginning. People are quite creative when it comes to trying to entice their minds to turn away from daily concerns and toward dreams.

Here are some helpful tricks for lulling the mind to sleep that friends and clients have shared with me:

  1. Count backwards from 100.
  2. Mentally recite a poem they memorized.
  3. Name the members of their grade school classmates…pick a year and picture each child in order, row by row as if seeing them seated in the classroom.
  4. Name all the regular characters in their favorite TV show in alphabetical order, returning to A whenever they slip up. (“Downton Abbey” in this case … Yes, I admit it, this one is from my repertoire :))
  5. List all the members of a favorite baseball team and their outfield position.
  6. Mentally drive a familiar route (i.e. from home to work), going at a slow steady pace to see every detail.
  7. Starting with getting into bed, work backwards through your day listing each activity from brushing ones teeth before bed, to turning off the TV … etc.

What about you? What do you do when you are lying in bed, trying to fall asleep?


You can’t dream if you don’t get some sleep! For more information on dreams and sleep visit my website: www.thirdhousemoon.com

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For a Good Night’s Sleep … Be Good to Your Feet (CV)

To get a good harvest of dreams … you must first get some sleep.

Pampering your feet can help.



Try giving your feet, ankles, and calves a gentle massage just before bed.

IMG_2479Use moisturizer or massage oil to really soothe your soles (and your soul).

Then put on a pair of comfy socks, and cuddle up for a good night of zzz’s

And if you’re lucky, you’ll have a good night of dreams, too!


Why does a foot massage help you sleep better?

Grounding your energy in your feet at night helps to ensure that you’ll drop your attention downward and away from your mind, where busy, troublesome, or nagging thoughts can keep you awake.


For more information on sleep and dreaming, or for a dream consultation, contact me at www.thirdhousemoon.com.


Today’s blog entry is inspired by Corner View, a weekly appointment – each Wednesday – where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. For more Corner View blogs about feet, step right over here to get started.



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Waking: Simple Pleasures (CV)

The (Daily) Birth of Pleasure

IMG_2252IMG_2253 IMG_2257

To wake and stretch, and re-inhabit limbs;

To linger with the picture postcards from our dreams;

To reunite with morning light. To breathe the steamy breath

from a bowl of oats, a cup of tea; To page a book;

To pause. The pleasure,

before the business of the day begins.

The book I'm currently reading, "The Birth of Pleasure" by Carol Gilligan.

The book I’m currently reading, The Birth of Pleasure, by Carol Gilligan.


For more on Simple Pleasures, simply visit these Corner View blogs around the world:


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Grateful Dreamers Sleep Better

Saying thank you for a good night’s sleep

Purple-throated Carib hummingbird (Eulampis ju...
Image via Wikipedia

According to researchers in a 2009 study conducted at the School of Psychology in Manchester, England, daytime personality traits such as neuroticism, anxiety, anger, and stress, negatively impact one’s quality of sleep. Conversely, positive personality traits, like expression of gratitude, can improve the quality of sleep.

People who fall asleep focusing on gratitude, the study says, sleep better and longer, and have a more positive outlook in the morning.

What do you have to lose? Go to sleep thankful.

Ten Wonderful Things

In my book Joy in Every Moment I suggest a variety of a simple gratitude practices. This is my favorite bedtime gratitude practice:

  • As you fall asleep think of 10 Wonderful Things about the day that just passed.
  • Be sure to look for small wonderful details, in addition to the big ticket items. You can feel just as grateful for the sight of a hummingbird hovering above the bird feeder outside your window as you can about getting a promotion at work.
  • As you think of each Wonderful Thing, re-experience it in your imagination, calling to mind all of the sensory details of the experience (taste, smell, sounds, texture, visual details, etc.)
  • Hold each experience in your mind for the length of several gentle, relaxed breaths.
  • Feel your heart fill with gratitude as you recall each of these wonderful moments.

From now on, rather than counting sheep, use this practice to count your blessings as you drift into sleep.


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Learn to improve your sleep and learn from your dreams. Contact me for a dream consultation.

Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Wood AM, Joseph S, Lloyd J, Atkins S. School of Psychology, University of Manchester, Manchester, England, UK. 2009. alex.wood@manchester.ac.uk; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19073292


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Waking up is hard to do

“Am I awake or dreaming?”

This questions becomes something of a mantra for people who are attempting to increase their powers of lucid dreaming. In order to be awake—that is aware—in a dream, one needs to have enough consciousness to question whether they are in fact dreaming. By asking the question while awake, we prepare our minds to ask the question while we’re asleep.

But I’ve begun to take an interest in the flip side of this interrogation. Rather than focusing on whether I’m in a dream when I’m asleep, I like to ask myself whether I’m awake while I’m—well—awake!

In other words, when I finish my meal then realize I barely tasted my supper, then I know I dreamed away the entire repast. If I’ve just blurted out a bit of gossip I had no intention of passing along, then I know I just sleep-talked, even though my eyes were open and I was awake.

Awake, of course, means conscious. I’ve gotten pretty adept at the art of being conscious in my dreams. Just the other night, in fact, I was able to recognize that the alien spacecraft flying just above my head as I sauntered down a country road indicated that I was asleep and dreaming. As it turns out, the harder job is to be aware and conscious after the alarm rings and I’m going about my day. Lately I realize that I need to wake myself up countless times every day. It’s worth it, that way I don’t sleep away the precious days when the azaleas and daffodils are blooming, or even the alive gray energy of yesterday’s rainstorm.

How about you—are you awake or dreaming?


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