We spend a third of our lives sleeping. This sleep is composed a few different stages, but the one in which we have the most vivid dreams is call REM sleep. REM is short for rapid eye movement and it is named this way because in this stage of sleep our bodies are paralyzed (so we don’t act out our dreams), but our eyes rapidly move.
During a night of sleep, we will cycle between different stages of sleep. There is stage 1 sleep which is a transition from wake to sleep. Next is stage 2 sleep which will last for 10-25 minutes. After that is deep sleep which will last for 20-40 minutes. Finally there is REM sleep which will last for 10-60 minutes. This is one cycle of sleep which will last between 90-120 minutes.
The sleep cycle will repeat through out the night with slight changes. At the beginning of the night, you will have more deep sleep. At the end of the night you will have more REM sleep. This is why you will have your most vivid dreams later in the night.
Overall, you will spend 20-25% of your night in REM sleep. If you sleep for 8 hours a night, that is 2 hour per night of REM sleep. That’s about 8% of your life. If you live to be 80, then you would have spent about 6-7 years of your like in REM sleep, dreaming.
Everyone has dreams. Everyone has REM sleep. Some people can remember several dreams per night. Some people will never remember their dreams.
It makes sense if you have trouble remember your dreams or don’t feel like you have any dreams. It is hard to remember things from when you are half asleep. It is easy just to start the day without paying attention to them. Often people will wake up and feel as if they didn’t have a dream, only later to be reminded by something that they did indeed dreams.
It also makes sense because there are at least 3 different steps to remembering a dream. First, you have to have a dream. Second, you have to be able to put that dream into your memory when you are having it. Third, you have to be able to recall that dream when you wake up.
But, the mind is really amazing when it comes to remembering dreams. If you start paying attention to dreams or just being interested in them, then you will likely begin to remember more dreams. Even reading this blog post may help you remember more dreams. This is probably because you are telling your brain that you are interested in dreams. When you have a dream, it will make more effort to encode or put that dream into your memory. When you wake up, you’ll likely be more interested to see if you had them.
In addition, keeping a dream journal or even a simple log book can help you remember dreams. A dream journal is simply a journal in which you write the story of your dream. A log book is just a simple rating if you remember your dream. Both help dream recall.
You can change your dreams
So often we can view dreams as something that just happens to us. We go to sleep, then we wake up with a dream. We are passively remembering it and it seems like it is just about random things.
But you can actually control the content of your dreams and what you dream about. Generally you can do this by doing a something called dream incubation. Of course, dreams have a mind of their own and operate according to their own principles, but often if you have a problem you want to solve or are seeking creative insight, you can do practices before you sleep to increase the probability that dreams will give you insight.
And of course, you can even be aware that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. This is called lucid dreaming. There are practices you can do to increase the probability of having a lucid dream. However, you should know that this can take time and work to achieve a lucid dream. In addition the ability to control your dreams is a separate skill, so you might be aware that you are dreaming, but unable to control it.
Dreams bring insight
There are so many benefits to REM sleep and dreaming. You can have insight after a dream. You process emotions in dreams. You can learn new skills while dreaming.
In addition, dreams are fascinating. You alone experience your dream world. It is something that is wholly yours. They are a way to explore your mind.
DreamWell’s dream practices
DreamWell offers a number of practices specifically for working with and exploring your dreams. These are here for you to explore and support you in your dream practice.
Dream Well Now
Unlock your own potential to dream well. This track will guide you through suggested exercises and relaxations specifically designed to encourage you to have the best, most vivid dreams. Explore your dreaming mind.
This track is intended to be used before bed, but it can be used at anytime throughout the day. Repeat this exercise whenever you want to dream well now.
Morning Dream Practice
Create the space and time to connect with your dreams, whether you remember them or not. Allow any insights to arise and set the foundation for your day.
The Morning Dream Practice is intended to be used after sleep as a way to gain insight from your dreams where you remember them or not.
Evening Dream Practice
Create the space to connect your waking mind with your dreaming mind. Consciously set the intention for your dreams. Relax and prepare to dream well.
The Evening Dream Practice is intended to be practiced before bed, any time you want to prepare to dream well.
Dreams have their own logic. Dreams have their own rules. The one thing we know is that dreams are creative and offer possibilities not seen in waking life.
This exercise is intended to give you practice at expanding the possibilities of dreams. Listen to this anytime you want want to experience the vast possibilities of dreaming.
Personal Well of Dreams
Dreams are mysterious. Night after night dreams arise. Night after night dreams surprise. Where do dream come from? What is the source of dreams?
This exercise is an exploration of the source of dreaming in your life. Listen to this anytime you want to connect in with the source of your dreams.
Drift Off to Dreamland
Imagine drifting off to dreamland, night after night. There are no difficulties that obstruct you. You place your head on your pillow.
Your mind recalls the day in a pleasant way. Images flash before your minds eye. Before you know it, you’re asleep and dreaming.
This exercise is intended to help you drift off to dreamland easily. It is particularly helpful when you’ve had trouble sleeping.
Great Library of Dreams
The great library of dreams is a place in your imagination that holds all of the dreams you have had and all of the dreams that you will have.
This exercise will guide your mind into this imaginal Great Library of Dreams so that you may have a deeper connection with your dreams.
Dream of Healing
This is an advanced dream practice that will invite you to work with your dreams as a source of healing, insight, and transformation.
Dream of Healing can be listened to at any time but is best suited for right before bed.
Cosmic Dream Hypnosis
Comsic Dreaming is a dreaming with the knoweldge you are part of the cosmos. This is an advanced dream practice that will invite you to practice conscious relaxation, setting intention, and guided imagery.
Cosmic Dream Hypnosis can be listened to at any time but is best suited for right before bed.