When we sleep, our dreaming mind is very active. This can give us great inspiration and entertainment, but it can also be draining. You wake up tired and just don’t want to face another night. Online we see a lot of tips on how to remember more dreams, but what if you just want to dream less?

To get you back to restful sleep, let’s look at some possible causes for extensive dreaming.

1- Is your bedroom boring enough?

Disturbed sleep gives more chance of dreaming, so avoid disrupters if you already dream too much. Noise, light, clutter in the bedroom, coffee, allergies, too hot.. small annoyances can have big effects.

A client kept having nightmares about war and fire, until she turned her alarm clock the other way. The red display had kickstarted her brain into mind jumps filled with danger. So get some curtains, earplugs, sleep mask or whatever you need to fiercely defend your peace and quiet.

2 – Are you getting your deep sleep?

Not all sleep is created equal. We get the most deep sleep in the first hours of the night, while towards the morning the sleep gets lighter, and brain prefers to dream longer.

This isn’t based on total hours of sleep, but time of night: daylight and hormones dictate our circadian rythms. It matters where you put your extra hour of sleep. Sleeping longer in the morning gives more dream time. Going to bed early gives rest a chance.

3- Are you too caring?

Some of us helpful souls kindly take on extra work by dreaming about other people’s issues. This can be,  exhausting.

If your nightly attention is taken up by factors that have nothing to do with you, it might be time for a little emotional dream hygiene before you wear yourself out. My mother used to tell me, ‘Sometimes, before falling asleep, remind yourself: tonight is all mine’.

4- Is your body ok?

When the body is in stress, it’s hard to get quality sleep. Nightmares can be caused by a number of things happening in the body, like illness, the flu or allergies, indigestion, als well as some medication (ask your doctor).

Don’t be too fast to dismiss a disturbing dream though: these days more and more dream researchers are looking into them as a first indicator of an underlying medical condition. For example, sleep apnea may go undetected but can cause stressful dreams, because the body literally stops breathing for a while. And a client dreamt her front teeth fell apart, until her dentist discovered she was grinding them in her sleep.

5- Is your life ok?

While dreaming, our emotional centers work at full speed. Feelings that we can brush aside in the day, will ruthlessly pop up. Dreaming is essential in processing the stressors of life, like exams, grief or a pandemic.

Some dreams point to problems that we can actively work on. Most of my clients discover in a dream anlysis new solutions for a life situation, so they can sleep peacefully at night.

6- yet another cause

Dream reseach is still in it’s beginning stages:  neurology brings new insights every year. So I would expect that this list is probably incomplete.

Do you have an insight that could be added or that I can look into? Please let me know!