6 Things You Can Do Before Bed to Control Your Dreams
A few edits to your sleep routine could change your dreams forever.
Find a physical reminder
In order to make a particular person, experience, or solution to a problem appear in your dream, you’ll want to focus your mind on that topic in the moments before you fall asleep. If the theme lends itself toward a physical memento you can place on your nightstand, all the better. “If it’s a personal problem, it might be [a photo of] the person you have the conflict with,” Deirdre Barrett, author of The Committee of Sleep and assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, told Scientific American. “If you’re an artist, it might be a blank canvas. If you’re a scientist, the device you’re working on that’s half assembled or a mathematical proof you’ve been writing through versions of.” Don’t miss these fascinating facts about dreams.
You’ve likely noticed that the themes that appear most often in your dreams are the ones that appear most often in your life. For example, one study found that video game players often incorporate supernatural plot lines into their dreams, while Tetris players tend to incorporate falling bricks. If there’s a specific person, problem, or idea you’d like to explore more often in your dreams, make an effort to spend more time with it during your waking hours. These are the surprising things your dreams reveal about your personality.
Focus hard on what you’d like to dream about
Now that you’ve got a physical reminder and have tried to spend more time with the object of your ideal dreams during your waking hours, it’s time to settle into bed. Make sure you hit the sack early enough as to be able to get ample time to sleep (Barett told Scientific American that getting enough sleep is key in dream recall) and focus your mind on whatever it is you’d like to dream about. Did you know these crazy things could happen to your body while you sleep?
Make a statement
To focus your thinking even more, create a one line mantra. “By reminding yourself you want to just as you’re falling asleep, either as a verbal statement or idea: ‘Tonight when I dream, I want to realize I’m dreaming,’” says Barett. “That’s the single most important thing.”
Check in with yourself during the day
This is important when if comes to controlling your dream while you’re having it—and being in a state of lucid dreaming. “By asking yourself the question, ‘Am I dreaming?’ throughout your day, you will begin to ask the same question while in a dream,” Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel and Thomas Peisel, authors of A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming, told O, the Oprah Magazine. “Your suspicion of reality will echo into your sleep, bouncing around your mind until—voilà!—you find yourself within the mecca of your own psyche.”
Congrats, you’re dreaming and you know it! Go ahead and create whatever type of dream world you please. “Nothing is off-limits—no object, creature or contraption is out of reach,” write the authors of A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming. “Your creation can be as large as a mountain or as complicated as a living organism. If you could create the impossible, what would you make?”