It is no secret that quality sleep plays an important part in almost every area of our health and wellness, and the science of sleep has shown that the lack of quality sleep in our lives has powerful influence over the ways in which our mind and body deteriorate. But what about our dreams? For all scientists know about how sleep affects our quality of life, have there been any answers about how dreaming affects our quality of sleep?
Have you ever noticed that your dreams contain memories? It has been suggested that dreams may actually be using our brain’s memory replay button to create our dreams, and this plays an important role in memory consolidation. Scientists who study the power of dreams have theories suggesting that only some of the most important elements of a memory get replayed when we sleep, and those elements that seep into our consciousness manifest as dreams.
Evidence supporting the link between dreams and memories includes the observation that people tend to improve at new skills more if they dream about them. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that undergraduate students who had dreamt of a computer game maze they had earlier been challenged to learn, improved more than those who had slept but didn’t dream of the game. Coincidence? Researchers think not— they say that our in-sleep experiences and our memories are inextricably linked.
Not only can dreams improve memory, and cognitive functions while awake, but dreaming can also improve the quality of your sleep as well. How many times have you been lost in an amazing dream, only to be startled awake by your alarm clock? Wouldn’t be great to have dreams like that on a regular basis, and reap all the benefits of enhanced dreaming? Here are some ways to improve the quality of your dreams, and thereby also improve your quality of life.
Relaxing before bed can be a huge boost to your overall quality of sleep, but it has also been shown that peaceful meditation can influence your dreams. Being calm and relaxed helps your brain ease into the dream-state without having to do the work of overcoming stress and anxiety that many of us hit the hay with every night. Wearing comfy lounge clothing or pajamas helps your body relax on a physical level too. A mind at peace dreams with much more ease than a busy mind full of racing thoughts.
Exposure to light decreases the brains melatonin levels. If you’re lying in bed scrolling through Instagram on your smartphone, or binge-watching Netflix episodes of friends on your laptop, you’re telling your brain not to go to slumberland. One of the best ways to improve dreaming is by increasing your melatonin level, and cutting out activities that work in opposition of raising melatonin is a great step toward dreaming more frequently, and with more lucid and vivid quality.
Did I mention that melatonin levels play a key part in activating your brain’s dream center? Melatonin is mainly produced by the pineal gland, and although it appears not to be essential for human physiology, it is known to have a range of very important effects on human sleep patterns. Having a consistent sleep schedule will keep your body’s “internal clock” running at optimal levels, and help your brain pump out maximum levels of melatonin.
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for our health, and by following these tips for better dreaming you can enhance the life you’re living by enhancing the ZZZ’s you’re catching each night. When you start to sleep better, you’ll be amazed at how many areas of your health and wellbeing will be remarkably improved.