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BY LIZZY HUNT
I. Sounds and music
o your dreams let you drift
into a great escape, or do
they often feel real because
Your brain responds to sounds
in a variety of ways. There may
be a chance that if you hear
a sound in your aream, you
may actually be hearing it in
real life, and it's disrupting your
sleep. You can use sounds to your
advantage - calming music, or white
noise, can help to settle the mind,
helping you drift off to sleep and
encouraging less active dreams.
they are so vivid?
Around 20 to 25 percent of adult sleep
consists of REM (rapid eye movement)
sleep. This type of sleep happens in
intervals that can last from two to 30
minutes and it is during this time in
which your dreams take place.*
A number of external factors can affect
how your dreams evolve. If you want
to understand why you may be having
frequent, tiring dreams, here are five
things that may be having an impact
on your longed-after, relaxing eight
2. Smells and scents
Have you ever experienced
a scent that's reminded you
of a pleasant or unpleasant
: time? Scents and smells
: have a long-lasting impact
: in your mind. They can also
influence your dreams
Try scenting your pillow
for a relaxing sleep
3. Your sleeping position
Research has shown that the
sition in which you sleep
can also impact the nature of :
our dreams. For example, one
study has shown that people
who sleep facing downwards or
on the stomach may experience
more stimulating dreams.
Additionally, another study shows that if you
sleep on your left side, you're more likely to have
nightmares than those who sleep on their right!
4. Your mental health
Have you ever experienced a dream
in which you know you are dreaming,
and can partially control the events or outcome?
This is called a lucid dream, and a recent study has
suggested that these could be influenced by your
mental wellbeing. Look after your mental healt
- a calm mind can help encourage more positive dreams.
5. Avoid rich foods before bed
Food can impact your energy levels and your
mood, so it's reasonable to think that it can
also affect how you sleep at night.
Eating rich foods before bed could
enhance your body's temperature.'
and metabolism-two things that also
impact your brain's activity during the
REM stage of your sleep cycle, and
therefore encourage more dreams!
Lizzy Hunt is a natural
health and nutrition
researcher from the UK
with a particular interest in
See www.health2000.co.nz/blog/sleep/better-dreams for the references to this article