Did you know, what you do while you're awake actually can influence your dreams and how you sleep?
Dreams often seem out of our control like a movie we watch at night rather than something we direct. However, new research shows that some behaviours can actually affect your dreams in both good and bad ways. Learn what habits and daytime activities might be influencing your rest, and see how to hack your dreams.
Change your sleep position
The position you favour before falling asleep can have a significant impact on your dreams. Sleeping on your left side is most likely to result in nightmares, while sleeping on your right side is associated with more peaceful dreams. Stomach sleeping, on the other hand, has been linked with feeling smothered as well as more erotic dreams.
Take music lessons
Do you often hear music in your dreams? The Sleep Lab at the University of Florence discovered that the younger a person was when he/she began taking music lessons, the more likely the person was to have dreams that included music. Additionally, musicians' dreams included twice as much music as non-musicians' dreams.
Dairy may inadvertently hack your dreams with links not only to whether you may suffer from lactose intolerance, but also to the very type of cheese you enjoy. Hard cheeses like cheddar are recommended for a pleasant sleep, while blue cheese might result in odd or more vivid dreams.
Don't scare yourself
Just like your mom said, watching scary movies or reading horror novels before bed can induce your brain to manufacture its own terrifying stories. Any activity immediately preceding sleep can influence dreams, so take a few minutes to relax and think positive before dozing off if you want your dreams to be pleasant.
Watch black & white TV Shows
Chances are, if you are under 55, you dream exclusively in colour. However, people who watched primarily black and white television between the time they were 3-10 years old, are more likely to experience their dreams in shades of gray than those who grew up with coloured television. The fact that TV colour can affect dreams is odd, since everything in the real world was still in colour.
Sleep with soothing smells and sounds
When you're snoozing, strong smells like brewing coffee or breakfast may subconsciously creep into your dreams. One study found that rose smells can induce positive dreams while sulphur smells induce negativity. Though you may not dream directly of flowers when smelling roses, your memory's association with a scent can have an influence. Sounds that are loud enough to hear but not too loud to wake you, can also become part of your dreams. Hack your dreams by surrounding yourself with pleasant aromas like lavender or lilac, and with sounds like ocean waves.
Don't go to bed hungry
Feeling hungry while you are asleep can decrease sleep quality and wake you up due to a drop in blood sugar. You might even find yourself dreaming of a juicy burger or cupcake! Try enjoying a light snack before bed like a banana, nuts or peanut butter and crackers to counter this effect. Skip fatty and spicy foods which may lead to indigestion.
Take dream-enhancing supplements
Taking vitamins is a good thing for most people. However, vitamin B6 supplements have been linked to an increase in lucid dreams. Cutting back or stopping them altogether can reduce the effects if it bothers you. Always talk to your doctor before taking new supplements.
Have caffeine and spicy foods
... if you want to remember your dreams. Caffeine can overstimulate you and spicy foods can contribute to indigestion, both reducing how deeply you sleep and increasing the number of times you wake during the night. A side-effect of this is that they may also make you more likely to remember your dreams. Whether experiencing a nightmare or other dream state, if you wake up within a five-minute window following it, you are more likely to remember the dream.
Deal with daytime stress
Trying to avoid something or someone during the day, or to suppress a thought? This can lead to dreams that focus on that problem during the night. Whether it is a job deadline, concerns over physical appearance or relationship issues, attempts at suppressing the problem often make it front and centre during sleep. Tackle your issues during the day or consider journaling at night to clear your mind.