Create a Deeper Dream Experience to Gain Clarity and Meaning
Dreams are important to our physiological and spiritual wellbeing. The dreamworld is an altered state of consciousness that can help you achieve greater meaning in your life.
Yet, dreams can sometimes be quite disturbing. They bring forth elements of your psyche that might frighten and alarm you.
Nightmares are just as important as our happy dreams though. Have you ever noticed that your pleasant, frivolous dreams sometimes fade away rather quickly, but a horrible nightmare is quite easy to remember?
You might not recall all the details, but you will certainly remember how it made you feel. That’s because nightmares trigger intense emotional responses.
The deeper the emotional involvement, the better chance of that experience becoming a long-term memory.
A Recent Study on the Importance of Dreams
The dream state occurs during REM sleep. REM means Rapid Eye Movement. Your eyes are closed and slightly fluttering during REM sleep.
Scientific studies have recently found new importance for REM sleep and dreams.
The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience researchers conducted an intriguing study published in July in the journal Current Biology. The study found that unpleasant experiences trigger the amygdala, that cluster of brain cells that’s located deep in the center of the brain.
Those unpleasant and stressful experiences let off a sort of siren in the brain, an emergency signal of sorts. When you have a normal night’s sleep with a restful dream state, that siren is silenced for the next day. When you have restless REM sleep, you carry that mental baggage into the next day.
The results seem to indicate that your dreams might not be just random images and stimuli. What you experience in dreams could be preparing you for the upcoming day similar to a weather forecast.
Your amygdala goes on red alert and then your dreams work out the problems, causing your mind to return to a peaceful state.
One of the authors of the study, Rick Wassing said “Memory traces are adjusted during sleep: some connections between brain cells are strengthened, others are weakened.
Restless REM sleep disturbs these nocturnal adjustments, which are essential for recovery and adaptation to distress”.
Using Plants and Herbs to Create a Restful and Memorable Dream Experience
Every person has dreams at night when they sleep, even though you might not remember your dreams. Typically, you go through four to six cycles of sleep. At least 25% of that time, you’ll move through the REM cycle. This is when your most vivid dreams occur.
Lots of things affect the dream cycle, from our sleep hygiene to the darkness of the room, from our medications and diet to the amount of exercise we take and the way we lie in bed. All these outside factors can influence our dreams.
Related: Dreams about rats biting you
Luckily, you can take a proactive approach to creating a restful and memorable dream experience by employing some well-known and lesser known plants and herbs. Humans have been using plants and herbs to influence their dreams for thousands of years.
The Aztec and Chontal Indians of Mexico were known to take Dream Herb (Calea zacatechichi) to intensify the visual imagery of dreams and boost dream recall.
They called it the leaf of god. Blue Lotus (Nymphaea caerulea) was used by the ancient Egyptian priesthood to bring about a state of lucid dreaming in which a person could actively control their dreams.
Here are some plants and herbs that you can legally and safely use to enhance your dreams. However, some of these substances can cause an allergic reaction so it’s important to consult your physician before ingesting any new substances.
You can find this herbal extract dried, in capsule form or even already packaged as a tea (Amazon). About 2 ounces is all you need to see results. Let it brew for 10 minutes and then drink a cup just before bedtime.
Dream Herb is especially bitter so you might want to add some honey, agave or any other sweetener to ease the taste. Dream Herb will create vivid imagery in the first stages of sleep and promote the practice of lucid dreaming during your REM sleep cycle.
Dried Blue Lotus flower petals can be found at an herbal shop or bought online. You’ll need to play around with the dosage a bit with Blue Lotus so it’s not recommended to buy it already in tea bags. See Amazon for choices.
It has been known to create tingling sensations in your body and even some mild psychoactive effects similar to cannabis or micro dosage MDMA.
So, start small. Brew a few pinches in a tea and drink it before bedtime. You’ll feel relaxed, sleepy, and may experience heightened imagery during your dreams.
Mugwort can settle your stomach and intensify your lucid dreaming. You can find it at any herbal shop or scoop it up from an online provider. 50 grams will help you relax and sleep peacefully. 100 to 200 grams will help you have a lucid dream and give you long-lasting dream recall the next day.
It’s important to start with a small dosage because mugwort contains thujone, a chemical that can be toxic when taken in large amounts.
Side Note: These plants and herbs are powerful tools in boosting your dream experience. However, you don’t have to try such potent herbs in order to promote better sleep practices.
You can also make a tea using chamomile, lavender, or valerian balm to put your body and mind at ease before bedtime. See Amazon.
What to Do After Your Dreams
Enhancing your dreams doesn’t just involve preparation. It’s also important to spend some time with the memories of your dreams. After you wake up, it’s time for reflection and interpretation.
Learning from your dreams can create a more positive outlook on your life, your time on this world, and the value of your own self-efficacy.
Related: The meaning of fish in dreams
You should start keeping a dream journal. Place it on your nightstand or next to your bed so that you can record your dream experiences when they are still fresh in your mind.
Be sure to write down the date and record the images, events and feelings.
Look closely at your feelings. Did the dream make you anxious, happy, or afraid? Now, go a step further and try to determine why that feeling occurred. Was there a person in your dream that made you feel angry? Was the sensation of falling or flying especially upsetting for you?
Attaching meaning and sources to your feelings is one of the greatest benefits of analyzing your dreams.
Dreams are loaded with symbols that only have meaning to you. Be sure to write down these powerful symbols. You might not find an immediate meaning in them, but upon further introspection you might learn that a certain dream symbol is significant.
Summing It Up
Exploring your dreams is a wonderful way to gain insight into your inner mind. They all have something to teach you and dreams serve a definite purpose in cleansing our brains of toxic data.
People who have poor sleep cycles and interrupted dreams develop a lack of clarity in their waking life that could lead to more serious problems.
You can use herbs and plants to enhance your dreams, the same herbs and plants that have been used for thousands of years.
These subtle yet powerful substances are tools for unlocking the mysteries of our deepest imaginings and fears. And just like with any other tool in the physical world, you should use them with respect and care.