For the average person, we sleep for approx. 25 years of our life. That's a lot of time spent sleeping & dreaming!
Have you ever woken from a dream feeling as if it was so vivid you thought it actually happened? The reason that your dreams can feel incredibly real is because they are created by our subconscious mind. However, have you ever considered that dreams are more than just stories your brain makes up while you sleep? In actual fact dreams mean so much more than that, dreams are a magical tool that your subconscious mind uses to tell you important messages. It could be how you are feeling at the time, things that are coming or things to look out for.
There are 4 stages of sleep which is called NREM Sleep (which involves non-rapid eye movement), each stage can last from 5-15 minutes and a completed cycle of sleep consists of a progression from stages 1-4 before REM sleep (which involves rapid eye movement) is attained, then the cycle starts over again. To understand how this all works, here's a basic break down of the sleep stages:
Stage 1: During Stage 1 you can be awakened without difficulty, however, if woken from this stage of sleep, you may feel as if you have not slept. It is common to wake suddenly from the feeling of falling during this stage of sleep (the sudden feeling of falling was a common occurrence for me until I began taking magnesium supplements - a suggestion from my naturopath).
Stage 2: This is still a light sleep where your heart rate slows, body temperature decreases and muscles relax. At this point, your body prepares to enter deep sleep.
Stage 3 & Stage 4: These are both deep sleep stages, with Stage 4 being more intense than Stage 3. During the deep stages of sleep, the body repairs and regenerates tissues, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system. Most dreaming occurs in Stage 4. Experts say as you get older, you sleep more lightly and get less deep sleep.
There are awesome dream books and websites that you can use to unlock the hidden messages in your dreams. Lately I've been dreaming about being pregnant and although my boyfriend think I'm just being clucky, I knew that wasn't entirely the case.! Whenever I have a vivid dream I always look up the meanings to decipher what my subconscious mind is trying to communicate with me. I discovered that to dream of being pregnant symbolizes an aspect of yourself or some aspect of your personal life that is growing and developing. Being pregnant in your dream may also represent the birth of a new idea, direction, project or goal. Interesting, I have been focusing on a couple of new avenues to expand Living Organic Co. so this makes perfect sense.
Sometimes the messages in our dreams can be much more blunt and to the point, which may not be what you want to hear in your waking life. This can be due to not you not being ready to acknowledge what is going on in a certain situation or acknowledge how you are emotionally feeling at this point in time. Last week I dreamed that I died, apparently this dream is less likely to be about actual death, and is actually symbolic of loss, change & transition. It is often a positive dream, signalising some form stress or burden is about to be lifted enabling you to move forward in your life. This dream also often forecasts important life transitions and signal the need to take on a different role or a new challenge.
I don't believe every dream that we have is meant to provide you with a message, it's only the vivid dreams which focus on a certain symbol or topic that you should be looking out for.
But what about the people who don't remember their dreams often, this could be you? It hasn't been entirely proven as to why some people remember more dreams than others, however one study showed that those who remember their dreams often have a higher level of activity in certain parts of their brains - areas which are involved in processing information.
The results also showed that people who often remember their dreams are more likely to wake up during the night, once woken their dreams are cemented into memory. The research explained that the sleeping brain is not capable of memorizing new information; it needs to awaken to be able to do that. As I am someone who remembers my dreams often, this does make sense to me as I am a light sleeper and can wake for a moment during the night.
Here are a few tips if you are wanting to remember the secret messages in your dreams:
- Clear your mind before falling asleep and mentally tell yourself you will remember your dream/s when you wake up.
- Have a regular sleep time aka when you go to sleep and wake up can assist in dream recollection.
- Avoid alcohol or taking medication before going to bed or eating fatty foods too close to bedtime as they can stop you from remembering your dreams.
- Place a small notebook and pen next to your bed for you to note down anything you remember from your dream, this could be if you wake in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning.
- Share what you can remember from your dreams with others, no matter if they seem insignificant. The more often you acknowledge your dreams and bring them into "reality", the easier it will be to remember them.
What have your dreams been telling you? I'd love to hear about your secret messages!