Scientists claim that the world is experiencing a sleep deprivation epidemic. People aren’t sleeping as much as they should.
Between work-related stress, constant stimulation, and disruptive lifestyle habits it’s a miracle if we’re able to get by with 6-7 hours per night.
Even though most of us try to make up for it on the weekends, it’s just not the same! Some of the dangers of lack of sleep include:
- Increased stress
- Inverted cortisol slopes (the “night owl” phenomenon)
- Anxiety and depression
- Brain fog
But there’s another drawback we don’t hear very often: lack of dreams!
Yes, it’s true that modern humans simply don’t dream often enough. And they do, they rarely remember them clearly.
Dreams happen during the REM stage of sleep. So, if you’re a shallow sleeper and you’re waking up multiple times during the night, you simply aren’t spending enough time in that dream-like state.
By the time you wake up, most likely you’ve already forgotten the significant details.
In this post, we’re going to explore some ways to help you sleep and dream deeper, starting TONIGHT.
Why is it important to remember your dreams?
Dreams are the bridge between the conscious and subconscious self. When we were kids, we had a very intimate relationship with our subconscious, often experiencing very intense and vivid dreams.
We’ve lost that connection when we grew older. The reason is that we became shallow sleepers.
But you might think “Who cares if I don’t remember my dreams?”.
Well, most people believe that the time between lying down and waking up is just a “gap”. They just want to get it over with. In reality, during that period our brain reorganizes our memories, processes suppressed emotions and reveals deep psychological truths about ourselves.
(Ancient civilizations were very interested in their dreams, often using them as inspiration for their mythological stories. In fact, they often believed that Gods, divine deities, sent them these visions. For example, Morpheus, son of Hypnos (sleep), sends humans “morphai” or shapes!)
During your dreams, you’re able to witness primordial archetypes and how you relate to them. It’s an invaluable opportunity to work with our Shadow, in the Jungian context.
And the more dreams you remember and write down, the easier it’ll get to spot patterns. After all, it’s your psyche attempting to communicate with you.
But the first step to do all of this is to sleep and dream deeper.
“We have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions.”
– Carl Jung
1. Morning Routine
A good night of sleep begins in the morning.
Following your body’s natural circadian rhythm is imperative for deep sleep. And it has to do with light and food.
Instead of waking up and immediately grabbing your phone, go outside and shower under the natural sunlight.
Make sure that the sun hits the back of your neck as well!
This will signal your body that it’s daytime and shift your whole physiology towards the natural biorhythm.
Alternatively, simply staying in bed for a few extra minutes, without falling back to sleep, can help you remember the dreams you were having. Don’t forget to have your dream journal next to you, in case you need to pen down important details!
The next step in your morning routine is to have a proper, balanced breakfast. Even though there are many benefits in fasting, in the morning cortisol is at its highest. If you don’t eat, it’ll remain elevated for longer, stressing out your body.
Consequently, you’ll crush during midday and disrupt the natural decline of cortisol during the night.
2. Night Routine
Technology and modernity, in general, allow us to stay up late, even after the sun has set. With the help of artificial lighting, we can keep working well beyond what our natural circadian rhythm dictates.
Unfortunately, that can create issues with how deep we sleep and dream.
See, humans need the full spectrum of light to operate optimally. From blue light to red light and everything in-between.
The problem is that we’re exposed to blue light, which is emitted from most light bulbs, smartphones, and computers.
This will inadvertently suppress melatonin production and in turn, upregulate the stress hormones that make us shallow sleepers. In turn, we don’t enter the deepest stages of sleep where dreams occur.
- There are a few ways you can mitigate this.
- Expose yourself to red light. The same way you want to get a lot of sunlight during the day, it’s as important to go outside during the sunset.
- Avoid starting at screens in the night. If you do, use blue-blocker glasses or blue light filters for your devices.
- Candles or red light bulbs are great options as well.
Of course, an effective night routine isn’t limited to taking care of our body. It’s important to let go of the day mentally.
An intense workout might be counterproductive but stretching, yoga, and meditation can be very helpful — as long as they become a habit!
One of the most underrated aspects of your physiology is breathing. It’s something we’re doing constantly, yet we never really think about the way we breathe.
Ancient cultures understood the power of breath, so they developed systems that allowed them to control and manipulate it.
We’ll look at three ways you can use your breath to relax and calm your mind, making you ready to go to sleep.
The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
- Sit in a comfortable position or lie down.
- Inhale through your nose for 4s, making sure you’re engaging your diaphragm.
- Hold your breath for 7s. If you feel discomfort, try to relax your body and face.
- Release. Exhale slowly for 8s, letting everything go.
- Repeat 6 times or until you fall asleep
Bhramari Pranayama (Humming Bee)
- Start by taking a big inhalation, filling up your lungs completely.
- Begin a controlled exhale but make a humming sound.
- Once you exhale completely, take another big inhalation and repeat.
Humming will increase the nitric oxide concentration, opening up the airways, and improving tissue oxygenation.
At the same time, by extending the exhalation considerably, you’ll create what scientists call “resonant frequency”, improving your HRV. This translates to optimal recovery!
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
This is a very famous breathing exercise that will balance the right/left hemisphere of your brain and calm down your breathing pattern considerably.
(Preferably, you should perform these exercises while sitting up)
- With your right hand, place your middle finger and thumb on each nostril. Your index finger rests on your forehead.
- Block your left nostril with your middle finger. Breathe through your right nostril
- Block the right nostril and exhale out of your left nostril
- Inhale through the left nostril and exhale out of your right nostril
Do this for a few minutes, until your breathing is practically silent!
If you feel discomfort or air hunger at any point while performing these exercises, take a break and try again.
While it’s not necessary to use supplements to sleep and dream deep, they can often be helpful to kickstart the process.
But in this case, you’ll notice that most of them aren’t “supplements” but minerals and amino acids that are missing from our modern diets and depleted soil!
Magnesium is used in every metabolic process in our body. It’s very easy to deplete, especially if you aren’t meeting the daily requirements.
In the past, we were able to naturally get most of it from our water and food but modernity made this practically impossible nowadays.
Taking a supplement is often necessary. Keep in mind that the most popular magnesium supplements are also the least effective; magnesium citrate and oxide are the least bioavailable forms.
Instead, you can grab a couple of pounds of magnesium chloride or bicarbonate and dissolve it in water. That way, you’re avoiding all of the unnecessary filters and you’re getting all of the magnesium you need.
It’s recommended to slowly build up to 4-5mg of elemental magnesium per pound of bodyweight.
For reference, magnesium chloride is 25% of elemental magnesium.
Glycine is an amino acid that our modern diets lack as well. It has been well studied that it can improve sleep and provide optimal glymphatic system drainage.
Most studies experiment with >3g doses but you can experiment.
You can also use magnesium glycinate to get the best of both worlds.
Keep in mind that the more meat you consume, the more glycine you need.
The last supplement you should add to your sleep stack is L-Theanine.
If you’re drinking a lot of coffee, you’re probably depleted and you should begin with 200mg.
Best taken before sleep, alongside the rest of the compounds in this list.
Many people report that using this stack gives them very intense and vivid dreams. But most importantly, it provides them with deep, restorative sleep!
It’s also worth noting that the pure form of these supplements is very cheap. No need to spend 100s of dollars to get dozens of pills from fancy brands!
How many dreams do you have per week?
Scientists estimate that the average person has about 35 dreams per week but only remembers 2-3.
But when I was a kid, I always remembered my dreams. I believe that this has to do with how deep we were able to sleep back then.
The constant stress we experience as adults hinder our ability to spend enough time in the REM state. And even though the recommendations in this blog post will be very helpful, it’s necessary to make lifestyle changes that support deep dreaming and sleeping.
They might include a radical shift in your daily habits, visualization, psychological work, breathing exercises, and a whole different mindset.
Since you’re reading this, we invite you to take the next step and begin the Deep Dreaming Protocol.
A multi-week program that will teach you oneirology and guide you step by step towards vivid dreams.
It’s not easy. It’s time-consuming. It requires you to do hard things. Every day. But it’s worth it in the end.
Sign up here to be one of the first people to get it!
George K has been immersed into the world of myths and dreams for a very long time now, attempting to find the numerous symbolisms and meanings attached to them. He is a prolific writer along with being an independent researcher. Contributing his knowledge and learnings to several magazines and blogs, he has the unique ability to simplify and explain even the most intricate subjects.