While scientists haven’t figured out exactly why we dream, they’ve unlocked some factors that influence them. Our bodies have a very fascinating way of incorporating outside stimuli such as smells, sounds and sensations into our dreams, instead of waking us up, with plenty of influences that can shape how your dreams play out.
According to certified dream analyst Lauri Loewenburg, your natural dreams often times help you process your thoughts and feelings about your day. Check out some the factors Loewenburg shared with YouBeauty that influence your trips to dream land:
- Sounds: Plenty of us have incorporated the sound of our alarm clock in our dreams, maybe morphing it into the sound of a fire alarm or telephone ringing. While it is possible to purposely influence your dreams with specific soundtracks or the sound of the ocean, it is not recommended, it interferes with the cognitive work of dreams.
- Smells: Smells work the same way they do when we are awake. The smell of chocolate, perfume or flowers evokes positive emotions when we are awake, so it is logical that dreams follow a similar pattern.
- Sleeping position: The best way to remember your dreams is to stay in the same position you were in when you woke up. A recent study also found that sleeping on your stomach increases the chances that you will have a dream about being persecuted or an intimate encounter.
- Your state of mind: Research has shown that depression can affect the color palette of your dreams, such as making them black in white, gray tones or muted colors. Loewenberg also explains that weather patterns in our dreams are also connected to our mind frame. Anxiety brings tornadoes, while clear minds bring sunny days and sadness can bring rain.
- Quitting habits: If you are trying to quit something, such as smoking or give up sugar, you are more likely to dream about it. If you are dieting, your dreams are likely to feature your favorite foods or a huge buffet. Amazingly, some people who have quit smoking report dreaming about smoking for the first couple of years after stopping, and those dreams can continue even 30 years later.
- Drugs and Vitamins: Many prescription medications affect REM sleep and can make your dreams really weird and insane. For example, Nicorette has been linked to intense vivid dreams. Since depression makes you less likely to remember your dreams, anti-depressants can counteract that effect. Vitamin B6 has also been shown to help people remember their dreams more vividly and easily.
If you find that dreams are affecting your sleep negatively, a great way to keep track is to use a sleep diary. You’ll be able to note all of the possible factors that could contribute to your sleep quality. Set yourself up for positive dreams that lead to a positive morning.