“I’m unable to dream and need help”

Q:  “I have been unable to dream recently.  When I wake up, it feels like I haven’t slept.  What do I do?  I’m only 14 and I want to sleep properly.  I need help!”

A:  First, good job on taking the initiative to help yourself sleep better.  That bodes well for you.  I will try to help by explaining a little about the sleep process.  You’ll probably find that just understanding a bit more about sleep helps you feel more confident about making this better.

Sleep is a process of letting go.  You will help yourself sleep, and dream, by relaxing a bit and letting go the worry.

We all dream, even if we don’t remember our dreams upon awakening.  Dreaming is an inherent part of the sleep experience.  We can’t not dream, just as we can’t not sleep.

Sleep is much more than just an unconscious state of rest.  We are actually in a dynamic state, with regular cycles of lighter sleep stages and deeper sleep stages that occur each night.  These cycles are about 90 minutes each, and include REM (rapid eye movement) sleep stages and NREM (non rapid eye movement) sleep stages, also known as slow wave sleep.  Each night, we typically experience 5 or 6 of these complete 90-minute cycles of sleep.

Scientists have found some form of dreaming is a continuous process throughout all stages of sleep.  However, our most vivid dreams usually occur during REM sleep, and the REM stage almost always occurs at the end of each 90-minute cycle.

So if you are sleeping, rest assured you are in fact getting in your fair share of dreaming.  You can prove this to yourself by trying a little experiment.  Keep some paper and pen next to your bed for the next couple of weeks.  First thing upon awakening, write down anything you can remember about your dreams.

At first, you might not remember much.  But soon, very soon, you will discover you can start remembering more and more detail about your dreams.  By writing them down first thing, it will soon become easy to remember your dreams.

To help yourself sleep better, there’s a number of simple things you can do.  Having a consistent sleep-wake schedule as much as you can every day is one of the most important.  At your age, allowing 9 or even 10 hours for sleep is OK.  Most important for you is probably a consistent wake-up time.  You can then gradually adjust your bedtime until you get the best results.

Also try to get some good exercise every day, and after lunch try to avoid any food or drink with caffeine.

So be confident you do in fact dream, and be confident you can help yourself sleep better.

Explore posts in the same categories: Insomnia, sleep

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