Just hear me out.
I know the idea of these very vivid, long and often frightening dreams being a good thing seems ridiculous… but trust me. They ARE a good thing. Heck, this is a movement and I am VERY excited about it!!
You see, I have been a professional Dream Analyst for a very long time, Twenty four years in fact. And one of the things I am CONSTANTLY asked is, “How do I remember my dreams? I don’t think I ever dream.” My go-to response is, “But you do dream. Every single night. Every 90 minutes throughout the night. It’s a natural and necessary function of the brain. If you sleep, you dream. You probably had four or five dreams just last night. You simply aren’t remembering them.”
Why are we remembering our dreams NOW? WIthout getting into all the boring scientific, biochemical this and norepinephrine that… the fact is that dreams are slippery and if you don’t capture the memory of your dream within 30 seconds of waking up, it’s gone! So now that we are all forced to stay at home during this pandemic and not go to work, we no longer have to wake up at ungodly hours to an alarm clock, jump out of bed and get ready. No. Instead, we sleep until we wake up naturally, the way our bodies were designed to wake up: slowly, gently and with a head full of dreams just waiting to be remembered.
In addition, without having to wake up to an alarm, we are able to reach that last, final cycle of REM that happens to be the longest of them all. Each cycle of REM/dream sleep that we have throughout the night increases in duration, so the last cyle of dreaming, before we wake up in the morning, can be 45 minutes long! Thanks to the alarm clock, we usually don’t get that last, super long dream. But now… we are! That other magical, adventurous and bizarre life we’ve been living, every single night of our lives, is finally being acknowledged!!
Do you have any idea how happy this makes me?!
Okay. I realize you may not find this as celebratory as I do because, if you are like the entire world right now, the dreams you are remembering are, well… terrible. They are probably full of stress, aggravation and scary scenarios like tornados, death or bug infestations. I get it. These sort of dreams suck! But, believe it or not, they are good for you!
Our dreams are built in therapists. You know how, when we have a problem or big decision to make, we tend to say, “I need to sleep on this?” And we often wake up with a clearer head or a great idea? That’s because we sorted it all out in the dream state. Don’t just take my twenty four years of research and expertise for it. Scientific studies are also finding that we are able to solve difficult problems while we dream. And I have found that the more disturbing the dream, the more important the message. The disturbing dreams we get, during stressful times, serve as a mirror reflecting back to us how well or how poorly we are handling our stress. I have found that they can also offer guidance and answers when you look closely at the details within the dream.
At the beginning of this pandemic, before I knew there would be such a global trend in dream recall, I made this infographic on stress dreams. Within days of posting this, clients began telling me their dreams were becoming longer, more vivid, and upsetting. They were dreaming of their hands falling off, snakes attacking at parties, ants coming out of their bodies, fires consuming buildings, children going missing… GAH!! Media outlet after media outlet, from Spain to the UK to here in the U.S., began reaching out to me, asking me to comment on the quarantine dreams trending on social media.
Then, TMZ came along and asked me a VERY interesting question. “Have you noticed an uptick in traffic to your site? What are the most common symbols people are searching for?” So I looked. And what I found was fascinating.
A significant uptick on both of my sites began on March 15th. This site, LauriLoewenberg.com has seen a 60% uptick in traffic. And my instant dream decoding site has seen a 40% uptick in traffic.
Since March 15, the most searched symbols were:
#1. Grandparents dying
– I think this is because the elderly are the most vulnerable to this virus and the fear of losing our grandparents to it is being expressed in the dream state.
– Weather in dreams will reflect our emotional state at the time of the dream because our emotions are the weather of the mind. Rain tends to represent sadness and tears. Tornadoes represent worry and anxiety that is spinning out of control.
#3. Child missing/child being taken
– Again, most likely fear of losing a family member to the virus, BUT we can also dream of our child missing or being taken when the child changes or reaches a milestone because we “miss” the younger child. I would imagine this dream is so frequent now because we miss the child that went to school everyday and didn’t drive us crazy!
#4. Being bitten by a bug or snake
– We tend to refer to illness as “a bug.” There is infact a bug going around right now that is scary as hell and no one wants to catch it or be “bitten” by it. I think snakes are also common in dreams right now because they tend to represent a toxic person or a toxic situation in your life. This virus is literally toxic. We also will dream of bugs when someone or something is really annoying or “bugging” us. Being quarantined with your partner and/or family 24/7 for weeks now, even their blinking can bug you!
– Falling most often represents the feeling of being let down, plans falling through, etc. But it can also happen when something is going in the wrong direction and we feel we have no support. It is also a common dream for people who suffer from depression. In these current circumstances, people’s bank accounts are falling, plans for the future are falling and emotional states are falling.
So how are all these depressing, stress dreams the best thing to happen to us, you are probably asking? Look at your upsetting dreams and nightmares as helpers. They are not only allowing you to express your fears and concerns safely in your head, but they also are a means by which you can “check in” with your mental health. If your bad dreams and nightmares continue to be frequent or get progressively worse then that is a good indication you need to retrain your brain, so to speak. Do this by redirecting your thoughts whenever they start to go negative. Think about and start planning something fun to do once we are all on the other side of this. Do fun and constructive things with your kids, like a new recipe every day. Call that friend that always makes you laugh. Watch a Will Ferrell movie on Netflicks.
Additionally, at night, right before you turn out the light to go to sleep JOURNAL! Write out all your concerns. Get them out of your head and onto paper… or onto your laptop. In addition, write about the positive outcome you would like to see. Write about what you can actively do to make things better between you and your partner, your finances, whatever it is that troubles you. What can you actually do about it?
Then, once you have sorted out your thoughts and got them out of your head, turn out your light and as you drift off, think about what you love, who you love, the possibilities in your future, etc. These positive thoughts will transform into better dreams. Guaranteed! But you have to be consistent. Journal each night, Think positively each night. This is how you reprogram your brain. It’s easier than you think!
ONE LAST THING!
Take this time as an opportunity to start paying attention to your powerful, dreaming mind. Start journaling your dreams as well. If you keep a dream jouirnal in tandem with a day journal, you will start to see how your dreams correlate with your thoughts and events of the previous day, how connected they are and how insightful your dreams can be. It’s a fun new habit to start. I also recommend sharing your dreams at the breakfast table every single morning. It’s not only a great way to start the day because, they can be freaky and the laughs you will share are priceless! But sharing your dreams with each other is a wonderful way for the family to stay plugged in to each other.
Happy dreaming and stay healthy!
Want to be able to understand your recurring dreams? Your nightmares? Your sex dreams and more? Then grab yourself a copy of my latest book Dream On It, Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life and you’ll be understanding your dreams in no time!
“This is an AMAZING book! It was given to me as a gift and I love it! I could hardly put it down. I refer back to it often to interpret my dreams now. I loved it so much I recommend it to everyone I know.” – Mel Martin, Amazon reviewer