I had to write a blog about this as almost every client I have seen has reported to me either that they are having trouble sleeping or they are experiencing dreams and also nightmares like they have never experienced before, since the start of coronavirus.
If you have been dreaming a lot more recently, the coronavirus and lockdown could be to blame as changes in sleep patterns may mean that we are dreaming more or remembering the dreams we do have. It is reasonable to assume that for those staying at home or working from home, means you have extra time to sleep as you are not commuting to and from work. When you sleep longer you have more REM (Rapid Eye Movement). This is the sleep stage from which most dreams are recalled. Modern life has shortened sleep up until now where a lack of work or a lack of commute time means we do not need to have an alarm to wake us as we are now naturally waking up allowing more time for that dream phase.
Anxiety which is another huge issue I have been working with recently, can disrupt your sleep, leading to more awakenings. When you awaken out of an REM sleep you are much more likely to remember the dream you were having. Our dreams are more likely to incorporate memories from recent waking life that are emotional.
Dreams are a way of the brain working out our emotional problems, and the more anxious we become, the more vivid the dream images become. Dreams also help to prepare us for adversity. “The threat stimulation theory predicts that when we are facing threats and feel fear and anxiety, our dream production mechanism starts simulating those fears and worries in our dreams”, Katja Valli a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Turku, Finland.
There is evidence out there to suggest that it is good to talk about your dreams for they are messages the subconscious mind is trying to relay to you. It is important not to worry about your dreams as it is your brain doing what it should be doing. Now we are no longer cutting our sleep short and allowing the REM sleep, we are better equipped to listen to our subconscious mind to determine what our dreams mean to us.
Keeping a sleep/dream journal can be useful.
If you are having trouble sleeping, it is worth looking at your bedtime routine first of all.
– Are you drinking a lot of caffeine throughout the day?
– The time of your last meal before bed?
– Are you taking medication that may be influencing your sleep?
– How much exercise do you get throughout the day?
– Are you drinking alcohol before bedtime?
– How much screen time do you have before bed?
– What is the room temperature like and what season is it?
If you are having problems sleeping hypnotherapy can really help with this. If you are experiencing dreams that you want to talk about or anxiety is having an effect on your sleep then counselling would be the best form of therapy.
Please feel free to get in touch for more information. I am still working online but looking to do face to face from the 10th August. Online is still preferable as it is the safest way of working but if you really want to see me in person then the doors will be open soon.