February 17, 2020

Whether you remember them or not, everyone dreams. In fact, it’s estimated that the average person dreams for a total of about two hours every night. During the sleep cycle, you can have anywhere from four to six dreams a night. While they can occur at any moment throughout sleep, dreams are most vivid during the REM (rapid eye movement) phase, when the brain is most active. Dreams are a way for our subconscious to take shape and reflect our desires, thoughts, and motivations. They can be both positive and negative so one has to wonder, can dreams affect your sleep?

 

Dreams vs. Nightmares

Although nightmares are more prevalent in children versus adults, they can have an adverse effect on our sleep patterns. If you awake in fear, falling back asleep can be tough and those scary images can affect your mood and behavior, even leading into the next day. When your REM sleep is disturbed, it can cause feelings of confusion, depression, anxiety, etc. 

On the other hand, dreams of a happier nature and can cause someone to be more positive and joyful. Research suggest that those who have good dreams tend to be more relaxed and content. There is no concrete evidence to suggest that you sleep better if you have a dream over a nightmare.

 

Do dreams affect our sleep quality?

The bottom-line answer is no. Dreams do not affect our sleep quality, however what they can do is change our thought process and attitude. Generally, dreams reflect our reality and often represent what is happening in our lives. If you have low stress, chances are your dreams will reciprocate that. On the contrary, if you are having nightmares, odds are you are worried or anxious.

 

Can I fix my dreams?

While you cannot control your dreams directly, what you can do is improve your state of mind. In turn, the quality of your dreams may get better, which could perhaps help you sleep more peacefully. The best way to accomplish this is to create and start a calming bedtime routine. This will help you disconnect from the day and prepare your body for a peaceful night's rest. Here are some effective bedtime regimens:

  • Listen to calming and relaxing music
  • Lower the lights an hour before bed
  • Turn off phones and computers at least 30 minutes prior to going to sleep
  • Avoid going into bed until you are fully ready to sleep
  • Do some light yoga, stretching, or read a book if you can't fall asleep right away

 

Fun Facts

There’s no doubt that dreams are mesmerizing and are often a topic of interest among many. Below are some fun facts about dreams:

  • We forget 95% of our dreams
  • Not all dreams are in color
  • Men and women dream differently
  • Everyone dreams, even animals
  • Negative emotions are more common
  • We’re specially wired not to act out in dreams
  • Blind people may dream visually
  • We are paralyzed during our dreams
  • Many dreams are universal

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