To Benefit from Your Dreams, Go to Sleep
Dreaming offers a host of benefits, from the pure enjoyment of entering a nightly multi-plex that plays an endless array of comedies, dramas, and more … to improved emotional regulation, problem-solving, and the list goes on. To get even more out of your dreams, you can study them with a friend or therapist to discover the wisdom and guidance they offer up to each and everyone of us several times each night.
But in order to reap the benefits of our dreams, we must first go to sleep. So let’s look at a good routine to enter sleep mindfully, and begin to recall and honor our dreams.
1 – Plan your evening so you can get into bed before you are fully exhausted. Just as when we eat mindfully we stop before we are full, when we sleep and dream mindfully we go to bed before we are maxed out with exhaustion. This can be the most difficult step of all for many of us, when our schedules become so packed we can barely squeeze in time to eat well, let alone to get enough sleep. But this is also the most important step, so it is worth reviewing your day to see how you can make a commitment to moving into sleep at a reasonable hour.
2 – Meditate in the evening; sometime between dinner and bedtime is ideal. Even a short ten-twelve minute meditation will help you reconnect inwardly, and begin to calm your thoughts and nervous system to prepare for sleep.
3 – Prepare the body for sleep with a few stretches or yoga poses that are known to help sooth anxiety and still the mind such as a few rounds of Cat/Cow, Down Dog, Forward Fold, and Legs up the Wall Pose.
4 – Be a grateful dreamer: Studies have shown that people who go to bed grateful, sleep and dream better. So go to sleep counting your blessings, and you’ll find this is even better than counting sheep!
5 – Before you lie down in bed, practice pranayama, or breathing techniques, to help settle the mind and calm the body. Alternate nostril breathing is very helpful in balancing and settling the mind before bed, as is a simple breath retention practice like the 4-7-8 breath, in which you inhale for 4 breaths, retain for 7, and exhale for 8. Breath retention practices such as this one can also help you enter lucid dreams, especially if you use them when you wake in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, for example.
6 -Say you prayers. A bedtime prayer that asks for protection and in which you set intentions for sleep is very helpful. Remember, entering sleep is like stepping through a portal into a realm of unlimited possibilities. Therefore it is wise to move through this transition with respect and intention.
This simple routine is a helpful and healthful way to enter sleep and dreams. You may not be able to do all of these practices every evening, but integrating at least one or more per night can make a significant difference to your sleep and dreaming experience.
*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 “Path”.