Back in May, I wrote about how Covid was having an impact on people's dreams or in most cases nightmares and unfortunately not a lot has changed, With the increase in mental health problems and a rise in suicide cases it's too early to say what number is a direct result of the Lockdown but I'm guessing it's going to be quite high? The majority of messages I'm receiving are from those who are experiencing anxiety, weird sleeping patterns, unable to sleep at all, or drifting in and out of sleep with nightmares in-between, so I thought I would write another article on the subject.
Firstly you are not alone, now I know that's not much comfort when your nights are spent either staring at the ceiling huffing or bouncing off the bed screaming as you wake from a midget chasing you down the street with an axe? BUT... you are not weird, you are not going mad and it's just your body's way of dealing with what's going on right now. Dreams and nightmares are often a way for your body to release stress, so as frightening as they may be, it's actually a good thing. If you hold on to stress it will eventually have a detrimental impact on your physical and mental health. So while you're sleeping your body tries to get rid of some of that stored stress in the form of dreams and nightmares. But you can still take responsibility and help yourself by the way you deal with it, easier said than done I know, but we'll address that in a minute.
Back to the dreams and nightmares though, and what do they mean? Everyone is different and each dream is unique to you, during these abnormal times, people are dreaming more, not only due to stress but the situation itself can be cause for reflection where we look at our Life? Relationships? Work? Where we fit in? Point and purpose? Achievements? Failures? It can also stir up things from the past and all those thoughts & feelings can become overwhelming and cause more anxiety, abnormal times equals abnormal dreaming. Whereas some people might have a dream/nightmare once in a blue moon, it's happening every night, which is not only exhausting it then goes on to impact the waking day. Most dreams right now will just be down to stress but some will still be trying to navigate you out of your present situation, guiding you with ideas, ways to cope, and positive stepping stones going forward. Others will be alerting you to the fact that there is past traumas that haven't been dealt with. Understanding your dreams/nightmares can be key to change.
As for the majority of stress dreams/nightmares right now you can help yourself with the usual things which i'm sure most of you will know? Try to chill and wind down before bed, switch off any digital gadgets and read a book, or listen to a relaxing audio, avoid eating before bedtime OR while in bed, anyone that's sat on biscuit crumbs will tell you it's not a good idea? 😲 But seriously try and avoid anything heavy on the tum before turning in for the night.
But something quite simple that may help you get some sleep is a little mantra meditation: It's known as C.P.R. meditation, so you can do this when you first get into bed, and just repeat it if you should wake up during the night: You take nice slow breaths Inhale/Exahle and just say what comes after to yourself :
Inhale: I am
Inhale: I am
Inhale: I am
Keep the breath at a slow and even pace and just repeat it again or as many times as needed to drop off. I have to admit I was sceptical when I first started playing around with this but was surprised at how relaxed it made me feel and how good it worked, it won't work for everyone of course but I hope it will at least help some of you. It can of course also be used during the day, at work, on the bus etc if you suffer with anxiety, as it can still be done with the eyes open, and nobody need know what you're doing.
The other tip is to check your heart rate with two fingers on the pulse at the side of your neck, now take a slow deep breath in through your nose and hold for the count of 4, then breathe out through your nose and again hold the breath for the count of 4 and then repeat a few times, as you check your pulse again you will see just how quickly this simple breathing exercise can slow your heart rate down which in turn helps with slowing down the mind and body too.
If after this you're still struggling and it's impacting on your waking day then feel free to get in touch.
Stay Blessed x
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