Here are my top 10 tips on how to sleep better - so you can orchestrate some more shuteye in your life. This is important for a healthy mind and body, besides improving your chances for lucid dreaming.
Everyone needs a different amount of sleep to function normally - on average this is about 7.5 to 8.5 hours per night. If you have to press the snooze button in the morning, or drag yourself out of bed feeling exhausted, then you're probably not getting enough shuteye and are suffering from sleep deprivation. Give yourself a fair chance of getting sufficient sleep by going to bed earlier, preferably before midnight.
To sleep better, aim to go to bed at roughly the same time during weekdays and weekends so your bodily rhythms can get into a routine. To help this process, put up curtains that allow some sunlight through, so the sun naturally wakes you up at the same time each morning and keeps your Circadian Rhythms in time.
The main culprits are coffee, tea, chocolate and soda drinks - these all contain caffeine which will keep your body and mind alert for hours. This will also prevent you from getting deep non-REM sleep. Be conscious of your caffeine intake and how it causes any sleep deprivation and you will soon understand how to sleep better naturally.
It is totally unnatural for us to be immersed in bright light before attempting to go to sleep for the night. This tricks our brain into thinking it's daytime and interferes with our Circadian Rhythms. So if you must read before bed, use a low wattage bulb (15 watts should do the trick) or install a dimmer switch. Make it easy on the eyes.
A heavy meal forces your body to crank up the digestive system while you actually want to be getting your body nice and relaxed for better sleep. What's more, if you lie down on a full stomach, you're more likely to induce acid reflux which can disturb your sleep and even trigger Night Terrors and nightmares.
A regular routine tells your mind and body to start winding down for the night. Make it a relaxing one - don't sit up on the computer til your brain is frazzled and you want to pass out. Some people like to have a light snack about an hour before bed so as not to sleep on an empty stomach. Also try a cup of herbal tea to relax jittery nerves. Always empty your bladder before bed so it doesn't wake you up during the night and disturb you.
We all have an optimum room temperature for better sleep, so make sure yours isn't too hot or too cold. Wear enough layers to bed in the winter and switch your thick duvet to a light sheet in the summer. It's better to be slightly on the cooler side so you can wrap up warmer if you need to.
If you're tossing and turning in bed, unable to get to sleep for whatever reason, don't torture yourself for more than 30 minutes. Get up and go do something to occupy your mind. You'll eventually feel sleepy enough to fall back into bed.
Don't lay in bed worrying about the fact that you can't get any sleep. It's likely that your mind is already buzzing with thoughts, so stressing about how to sleep better will make things worse. Try listening to some isochronc tones to silence your mind chatter and create a relaxing meditation. After that, visualize a lucid dream intention.
Ask your partner if you ever snore, temporarily stop breathing, talk, shout, or move about a lot during sleep. It could be that you have a sleep disorder (ranging from sleep deprivation, to sleep apnea, to REM sleep disorder) that is preventing you from enjoying good quality sleep. See a doctor and you may discover how to sleep better for good.
Here's a good question. If a lucid dream is any dream in which you know you're dreaming, then why aren't we always lucid in dreams? Why doesn't it just become the default state of dreaming? Why do we accept our dreams of flying pigs and dinosaurs as an extension of waking life? What is the mechanism for defaulting to non-lucid dreams? Intriguingly, scientists have approached this question from three different angles./p>
What do blind people dream about? Can they "see" in their dreams? Take a look at scientific studies into the dreams of the blind, colorblind, and black-and-white dreamers. In 1999, dream researchers at the University of Hartford analyzed 372 dreams of 15 blind people. They found that both the congenitally blind and those who went blind before five years old did not have any visual dreams at all. That's because our dreams are made up of real world experiences and our innermost thoughts, anxieties and desires. So for someone who has never perceived images or light (or can't remember any) their dreams simply can't manifest visually.
Not long ago, scientists at Frankfurt University discovered how to produce lucid dreams with electronic stimulation. It was a world first. And - astonishingly - it worked in non-lucid dreamers 77% of the time. Now you can buy the same technology for yourself. The foc.us V2 - which delivers the proven optimum 40 Hz transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) - was originally developed to increase working memory in video gamers and improve sleep.
As technology continues to move us towards more immersive dreamlike experiences, one can only wonder what digital wonders lay just beyond the horizon of tomorrow. We may also question just how the future of virtual reality will impact the study and practice of lucid dreaming. Are we, perhaps, the last generation to whom lucid dreaming will maintain an appeal?
Jeremiah Morelli is a whimsical fantasy artist and visual storyteller. He places conceptual fairytale creatures in vivid dreamscapes to capture the imagination. He's also a school teacher, and amazingly finds the time and motivation to create this huge gallery of artwork. Such light and dark fairytale paintings make beautiful places to visit in your lucid dreams.
Experts agree that everyone is capable of having lucid dreams. Dreaming itself is a normal function of the mind. We all dream every night, even if we don't remember. And we all achieve conscious awareness while awake every single day. So what does it mean to combine these states? Why, the amazing ability to have conscious - or lucid - dreams. Sounds simple, doesn't it? So why do I keep hearing from people who say they can't achieve their first lucid dream?