What do your dreams mean?

What do your dreams mean?
What do your dreams mean

Do you have anxiety dreams? Are you dreaming the same scenario over and over again? What does it mean, and what can you do to help?

We all know the benefits of getting enough sleep. Six to eight hours of good quality sleep restores energy and refreshes the mind, so you wake up bright and breezy, ready to cope with whatever your day brings. Sleep helps us to cope better with stress and anxiety. But when you're experiencing anxiety dreams, sleep is no longer the peaceful haven you need.

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What is an anxiety dream?

An anxiety dream is any dream that makes you feel anxious or distressed. Anxiety dreams can be pretty disturbing; you wake up feeling upset, so your sleep is disrupted, and you might worry that they mean that something bad's going to happen. Nightmares are similar to anxiety dreams, although they trigger feelings of fear and terror rather than anxiety. But if you're stressed and anxious in the daytime, you're more likely to have nightmares.

Causes of anxiety dreams and nightmares include fear, stress, traumatic events, significant life changes such as a new job, bereavement or moving house, and use of substances such as alcohol, caffeine and non-prescription drugs. Insomnia can also lead to weird dreams and nightmares. Bach Flower Mix 87 can help you to worry less and therefore get a better night's sleep.

You may notice that you have more anxiety dreams before a stressful event such as an exam or job interview. This may be because your sleep is disturbed, so you're more likely to remember your dreams on waking.

So if you take action to reduce the stress in your life, you'll likely find that you have better sleep and fewer anxiety dreams. Bach Flower Mix 85 supports you in overcoming fears and worries, whether it's about losing your job or something terrible happening to your child or partner.

Here are some other tried-and-tested ways to relax your mind and body before bedtime.

• Start winding down an hour or two before you go to bed

Create a relaxing evening routine that becomes a buffer zone between the day's activities and bedtime. Read or listen to your favourite music: you'll feel calmer, and your sleep hormones will take over.

• Schedule time for worrying

If you find it challenging to stop worrying during the evening, try to schedule a specific period for worrying. Many people find that writing down the things they're anxious about is helpful. Set a timer, and when the time's up, throw the list away or put it in a drawer and focus your mind on a pleasant, relaxing activity.

• Learn relaxation techniques

Breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga are effective ways of relaxing your body and mind. There's a wide range of apps and online tutorials to guide you. While these techniques are helpful at bedtime, you can also use theme throughout the day whenever you feel stressed or anxious.

• Don't take work to bed

Your bedroom should be a haven from the stresses of the day, so don't start checking your emails just before it's time to sleep. Don't spend time in your bedroom fretting and worrying - go into another room until you start to feel drowsy.

How to get back to sleep after you wake up from a bad dream

It happens to everyone at times: an anxiety dream or nightmare wakes you up in the small hours. You're wide awake and alert, and worries start crowding into your mind. So what will help you to drop off to sleep again?

  • Don't clock watch! And don't look at your phone. Watching the minutes tick by will add to your anxiety.
  • Practice a relaxation technique such as visualisation to relax your mind and body.
  • Get up and do something else. If you don't feel sleepy, don't stay in bed struggling to get back to sleep or thinking about your bad dream. If you do this, you may come to associate your bedroom with being stressed and anxious. So get up and go into another room. Try and find something simple to do that won't stimulate your mind further, such as catching up with the ironing or reading a dull book. Only go back to bed when you start to feel tired.

A final thought

While we don't really know what our dreams mean and we don't have control over them, we can control much of the stress that can trigger nightmares and anxiety dreams. So if you can learn how to relax and switch off from the stress of the day, you'll enjoy a more peaceful night - sweet dreams!


Sources:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/insomnia/

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/oct/03/night-terrors-what-do-anxiety-dreams-mean

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Marie Pure

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