The Things You Should Know About Dreaming

The Powerful Effect Dreams Have blog post

I have always been intrigued by the subject of dreaming; since I was young I always felt as if I was particularly sensitive to the world of night-time wanderings. I remember my dreams more often than not (as opposed to the opposite which is more common), I experience lucid dreams regularly and I've suffered sleep paralysis more often than I would've liked. Archie has started to experience night terrors recently and I've been curious as to whether he will become as sensitive to dreaming as I am.

Lucid Dreams

A lucid dream is any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. I've been having naturally-occuring lucid dreams for as long as I can remember and I wasn't aware it was an unusual thing until I started to ask others if they'd experienced it before; more often than not, the answer would be no. If you're interested in becoming a lucid dreamer, there's actually a guide on how to do it (I've no idea what the success rate is); have a look.

One of my earliest memories of lucid dreaming;

I was on a really boring, tedious school trip and suddenly thought 'Is this a dream?' I can't recall how, but something tipped me off that it was, and off I went to explore my dream world. Interestingly, I find I can remember the details of lucid dreams much clearer than I can normal dreams.

Did you know babies don't feature in their own dreams until the age of 3?

I've been lucky to have only had positive experiences; closing your eyes during a lucid dream can cause you to wake and leave you beating yourself up that it's over so early. I've flown over buildings in my dreams, I've jumped through mirrors, I've done things I'd never normally do because I'm aware and know that nothing can hurt me. It's a pretty overwhelming and hugely enjoyable experience.

Unfortunately, I haven't had a lucid dream in quite a while now and my most recent dream phenomena have been due to a little something called..

Sleep Paralysis

You feel a weight on your chest, pressing you down and preventing you from sitting up. But it’s worse than that – you can’t move your arms or legs. You can’t even move your lips to call out for help. You’re not sure who or what is pushing on your chest. It’s too dark to see. But you just know there’s a presence there. Something strange. Something uninvited. Something frightening…

Excerpt from No Sleepless Nights.

Whereas lucid dreams are a positive experience, sleep paralysis is the complete opposite; it'll fill you with complete hopelessness and dread (sort of how I imagine a dementor would make you feel).

'The Nightmare' painting of the demon sleep paralysis by Henry Fuseli

It was believed that this painting - 'The Nightmare' by Henry Fuseli - was one of the first to illustrate sleep paralysis

Sadly, I've met more people who've experienced sleep paralysis than lucid dreams, though I hear that it's much more common to have a negative dream than a positive one. When my brother passed away, I experienced alot of sleep paralysis (it's quite common to be brought on by stress), and I'll never forget waking up on the morning he died (before we knew) in a sweat after a particularly awful nightmare, I've always believed it was some horrible forewarning.

Did you know 90% of our dreams are lost within the first minute we wake up?

I've even experienced sleep paralysis whilst in bed next to Mr J; I could hear someone breaking into our house but no matter how much I tried to scream, I couldn't move an inch, even though I could see him lying right next to me - it was terrifying.

14 month old toddler sleeping and dreaming in cot asleep

A peaceful night for A

More recently, and the experience that prompted me to write this post was actually a perfectly normal night of dreaming. I dreamt about an old friend whom I haven't spoken to in years and I woke feeling heavy, upset and strange. It had a hugely negative impact on me and I've found that I'm regularly waking up feeling that my dreams have made a huge impression on my mood - I'm not sure whether it's due to the broken/lack of sleep since A arrived or the deep sleep I get into when we do have a good night. In fact, I've found that the happier and more content I am, the more negative my dreams are and the stranger I feel in the mornings. Weird, huh?

Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis or lucid dreaming or any other strange dream phenomena? Feel free to comment with your own stories as I love reading about it.

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