How to Sleep Peacefully with No Dreams
We all look forward to a night of deep restorative sleep to wake up rejuvenated the following day. But sometimes, we experience vivid dreams interrupting our sleep, waking up disturbed.
Unfortunately, sleep and dreams are still complex mysteries to scientists. But experts say that we usually dream for about 2 hours every night and don’t remember it once we wake up.
However, if you are getting vivid dreams that interrupt your sleep, it could be due to stressful events or happenings in your life. All the negative emotions and anxiety get transferred to dreams, which are believed to reflect our subconscious mind.
Here, we explore all causes of vivid dreams and how to sleep without dreaming. Stay tuned!
What Causes Excessive Dreaming?
You might get vivid dreams during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep due to various causes. Scientists aren’t sure, but a few of them are:
1. Stress or Anxiety
Stress and anxiety, particularly from distressing and traumatic experiences, are believed to trigger intense and vivid dreams. For instance, incidents like accidents, the death of a loved one, sexual abuse, etc., can trigger nightmares.
2. Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, etc., can also trigger vivid dreams. Jetlag, sleep deprivation, and changes in the regular sleep schedule are other causes that can trigger vivid dreams.
Several medicines cause vivid dreams as their side effects. A few of them are:
- Antidepressants like serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic oxidase inhibitors, etc.
- Medications for diseases like Parkinson’s Disease, drugs to stop smoking, blood pressure medications, etc.
- Centrally acting antihypertensives like beta-blockers, alpha-agonists, rauwolfia alkaloids, etc.
You might also find these side effects listed on the packaging.
4. Substance Abuse
Excessive consumption of alcohol, recreational drugs, or substances like marijuana, cocaine, etc., cause vivid dreams. You might also experience it when trying to leave these habits. Experts think it is triggered by the impact of these substances on the brain.
5. Early Pregnancy
The initial days of pregnancy imply a change in the body’s hormone level, emotions, sleep patterns, etc. While adjusting to it, a woman might experience vivid dreams during the initial phase of pregnancy.
6. Other Health Disorders
Several diseases can also trigger vivid dreams. A few examples include depression, schizophrenia, cancer, heart disease, etc.
How to Sleep Without Dreaming
While the dream phenomenon is still a mystery, experts suggest several ways on how to get better sleep without dreaming. Let’s check them out!
Stick to Your Sleep Schedule
Sticking to a regular sleep schedule and practising good sleep hygiene help you sleep better and reduce vivid dreams. It’s all about following your body’s circadian rhythm and triggering your body to sleep.
A disturbed mind and brain are major causes of having vivid dreams. Hence, calming exercises like meditation relax you and induce better sleep quality. It also helps ward off nightmares.
Do Not Consume Caffeine, Alcohol, or Nicotine Before Bed
We already know these substances trigger vivid dreams. Therefore, you must strictly avoid them before bed and keep their consumption to a minimum in striving on how not to dream.
It is advisable to seek medical help if you cannot cut down or are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Cut Out All Electronics Before Bed
The blue light emitted from electronics is known to alert your brain and keep you awake much longer. So staying away from them a couple of hours before bed helps you feel sleepy and get into a dreamless slumber.
Plan Physical Activity into Your Schedule
Getting enough physical activity fatigues your body and brain and induces better sleep quality. Hence, it should be an integral part of your weekly, if not daily, routine. But remember not to exercise too close to bedtime as it can cause trouble in helping you sleep.
Do Not Think About Dreams After Having Them
If you think about your dreams or try to decode them, they will likely leave a strong impression in your mind and reoccur. On the other hand, not paying attention to them or thinking about them will make them fade away faster and not reoccur.
Use an Alarm to Wake Yourself Up While Napping
If you nap in the afternoon, it should never exceed 30 minutes. The best way to wake up on time is by taking the help of an alarm. This wakes you before you enter REM sleep.
Feed Positive Images to Your Brain
You often dream about the last few images your brain captures before sleeping. Hence, it is believed that if you feed positive and happy images to your brain before sleeping, you are likely to sleep peacefully with better dreams or no dreams.
You might wonder, does dreaming mean good sleep? Dreams are an integral part of our REM sleep and give our brains a healthy boost. But you should not remember them when awake, or it should not disturb you. However, dreams do not necessarily mean good sleep.
Talk About Your Stress and Anxiety
Talking about your stress, anxiety, and worries with your loved one or medical therapist helps you address them and get them out of the way. It is a great cognitive behavioural therapy that calms your mind and induces better sleep.
How to Stop Distressing Dreams
We all dream, but it is a cause of concern when we have vivid dreams and nightmares that disturb us during the day. Apart from the above, you can try these steps to minimise distressing sleep.
Sleep on Your Right Side
Experts believe that your sleeping position influences your dream quality. You are likely to have distressing dreams when sleeping on your left side. Hence, sleeping on the right side is recommended.
Try to Understand the Significance of Your Dream
Most of your traumatic dreams are related to your stress and painful events and happenings in your life. For instance, you might have nightmares about your math exams.
Hence, it is advisable to understand the significance of your dream and take steps to resolve it. For instance, you can seek extra help and become more confident with your maths exam. It will prevent the dream from recurring.
Avoid Spicy, Carb-Heavy, or Sugary Foods Before Bed
These foods before bed not only trigger stomach and digestive problems but can also induce distressing dreams. It is always advisable to eat light and sleep-inducing food before bed. A few of them are:
- Fruits like kiwis, avocadoes, bananas
- Dry Fruits like almonds, walnuts
- Seeds like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds
- Herbal teas like chamomile tea, hibiscus tea
- Fatty fish
- Milk and other dairy products
Make Your Bedroom a Sleep Sanctuary
It is a part of good sleep hygiene in which you create a relaxing bedroom ambience for better sleep. It includes dim lights, soft, comfortable and clean bedding, no electronics, soothing music in the background, body-relaxing temperature, etc.
Rehearse Recurring Nightmares to Resolve Them
It is a way of giving a happy note to your nightmares and preventing them from recurring. For instance, you might have nightmares about failing your exams. To eliminate it, write it in a journal, take control of it, and tweak it to a happy ending.
Seek Medical Help
If nothing works for you, it’s best to seek help from a doctor and a psychiatrist to address the root cause of the problem and resolve it.
We all experience vivid dreams occasionally that fade away over time. It is concerning only when it is persistent and affects our sleep quality. Following the above guides and tips will help you address and resolve the problem to restful and restorative sleep.
What causes excessive dreaming at night?
Various factors like stress, anxiety, depression, traumatic incidents and happenings in your life, sleep deprivation, sleep disorders, mental and physical ailments, certain medications, etc., all contribute to excessive dreaming at night.
Is dreamless sleep possible?
Dreamless sleep refers to deep sleep in which you do not dream. But it is still ambiguous to us. Scientists believe that if you do not remember your dreams after waking up, you experience dreamless sleep. We can experience such sleep.
Does dreaming mean good sleep?
Most of our dreams occur during the REM sleep stage, which is considered the healthiest and most restful sleeping phase. But you also experience dreams in the other three stages of sleep as well. Hence, dreaming does not necessarily mean good sleep.
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