Dreams can feel shockingly vivid, depicting wonderful dreamlands or frightening nightmares, but there is a lot we still don’t know about our nighttime visions. Some psychologists argue that dreams are our way of processing and reflecting on events we experience in real life, while others argue that they are too random to hold considerable meaning. Regardless of whether you place emphasis on the meaning of your dreams, there are a few ways you can affect and alter your dreams. Today we share five of them from Well+Good dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg.
Research has shown that people who consume B6 before bed have clearer recollections of their dreams, so consuming fish, bananas, tofu, or avocados with dinner may help you remember your dreams when you wake.
Sleeping on your stomach is thought to contribute to errotic dreams as your pelvic area is pressed against the bed. Having unwanted sexual dreams? Try flipping onto your back or side.
Quitting smoking, both cigarettes and cannabis, has been shown to boost dream vividness and recollection. Cannabinoids suppress REM and dream sleep, while nicotine suppresses serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with dreaming, so quitting either will unleash more powerful nighttime visions.
Often associated with reproduction, progesterone is released after ovulation in the second half of someone’s menstrual cycle, but it can also intensify your dreams. One 2019 study found that those in the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle (where progesterone levels are higher), have better luck remembering their dreams. If you menstruate, this could be an interesting factor to consider. This is one of the reasons why pregnancy is thought to induce vivid dreams as well.
We’ve talked a lot lately about the links between gut health and the brain, and sleeping is no exception. Any food that is very spicy, rich, or sugary can cause a dramatic rise and fall in blood sugar levels, leading to upsetting dreams. They also contribute to nighttime heartburn. If you’ve been having nightmares, you may want to opt for a more mellow midnight snack.