Ask The Guides: Every Night I Have Vivid Dreams...
Our Ask The Guides series is a weekly dose of support. We put your questions to them, whereby they can offer up their own insights to help you with whatever challenges you are facing.
Our Ask The Guides series is a weekly dose of support. We put your questions to our incredible guides, whereby they can offer up their own insights to help you with whatever challenges you are facing.
This week, Spiritual Practitioner Robert Grey offers their wisdom.
Every night I have vivid and often stressful dreams, sometimes I sleep walk, talk and I wake up feeling exhausted, what does this mean and how can I make it stop?
Okay, I’m really hearing you.
I dream vividly often, I experienced regular night terrors in my younger years, and have had bouts of insomnia across different points in my life also. When I say I understand the implications of disrupted sleep, you can trust it is from a base of deep experience.
So, why the intense dreams? Well, often our REM cycles can become a cosmic rinse cycle.
A time for our unconscious mind to work through experiences, concepts and complex problems that we often don’t have the time – or perhaps the tools and support – to work through in our waking hours. This last period has been one of immense disruption and uncertainty, so doing overtime in dreamland to help process this feels right on track. It can also be an indication that you in a period of great spiritual growth.
Here are some of the practices that have helped me over the years:
1. Turnoff all screens 30 mins before you want to sleep.
Yes, this means your phone too. The receptors in our eyes do not thank us for having screen-light late at night. No amount of scrolling is going to aide your sleep. It’s a practice, but it is one that helps.
2. Minimise light pollution.
Many of us live in areas where it is rarely properly dark. The quickest way I’ve found to edit this is a simple eye-mask.Make sure it’s loose enough that your head isn’t being squeezed. Silk is always pleasing for the delicate skin of the eyelids.
3. Clean your room during the day.
Yep, put away the clothes, change the sheets, tidy up the dresser, dust the surfaces, put away anything that doesn’t need to be there. A clean space helps our mind relax. Do this regularly and consider it a devotion to good rest.
4. Herbal tea and sitting quietly in the evening.
Chamomile, mint or lavender are my regulars. Just sit with the tea somewhere comfortable and notice what comes up. Nothing to do, only notice. It’s a space you create for your mind to process the day before allowing it to switch off.
5. Centering and grounding with breath.
Simply bringing our awareness to the breath for a few minutes will help slow the body and mind down in preparation for sleep. Try square breathing (also called box breathing) or uneven breath (inhale for 4, exhale for 6).
6. Salt bathing before bed.
Salt is incredibly cleansing and grounding (it is a crystal, remember). If you have a tub, throw a generous handful of salt into the water along with your usual lotions and potions. If you don’t have a tub then make a mechanical exfoliant with olive oil and cooking salt. Rub this generously and gently all over the body, then jump in the shower and rinse off. Head to bed.
7. Stretching in bed.
Gentle movements to help release the tension of the day from our bodies. Forward folds, side-body stretches, flexing the feet and hands, gentle rotations of the head and neck. Anything that feels accessible and relaxing while you’re on the mattress.
8. Facial self-massage.
We hold a LOT of tension in the face. Try slow circular rotations with the fingers on both temples, the same into either side of the jaw. I also like to press firmly for a minute or so near the occipital joint at the back of the skull where the spine connects. Play around, find what feels good. Be firm and gentle.
9. An intention or prayer before you hit the pillow.
A simple affirmation of gratitude can ease the restlessness and stress of heading to bed in these times. Try something like ‘thank you for sleep tonight. Thank you for restorative rest. Thank you that I will have all the energy I require for tomorrow.’
10. Dream journaling.
It can be helpful when we are woken by dreams to note down themes or visions from them. It must be done almost immediately upon waking (else dreams indeed fade), so keep a small notebook and pen on your night stand. Messages for your waking life get a chance to be delivered with this practice. Try scribing three keywords that anchor the dream in that waking moment.
11. Take it easy on the coffee and the booze.
I know. It’s the one we are all aware of and yet it can be the most challenging to apply. If you can’t cut it out, cut it down. Less of both will help your body and your mind when it comes to sleep.
12. Seek support.
If the dreams do not abate, or the restlessness begins to deeply impact your daily undertakings – seek out some support. Speak to your preferred health professional, therapist or healer. They are literally here for you.
I hope these practices help you as they have me. It’s not an exhaustive list, but they are all tried and true.
I’m offering a prayer for easy rest on your behalf today.
Sweet dreams tonight,
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