Tuesday, December 25, 2012

7 Surprising Things That Influence Your Dreams

One small study found that sniffing flowers at a particular point in the sleep cycle led to more positive dreams, while a sulfur odor was linked to negative ones. Though researchers say there's a possibility that a sudden aroma-bacon wafting up from the kitchen, for example-could infiltrate your dream. Dreams are sleep protective, so instead of waking up, you incorporate those stimuli into your dream.

There's a narrow window for sounds to get through to your brain during sleep. They need to be low enough that they don't wake you but high enough that you perceive them. So let a recording of ocean waves play softly throughout the night. You might recall a dream about a beach vacation or wake up feeling relaxed.

Big meals 
Anything that could cause indigestion-cheese, spicy foods or a big meal makes you stir more, meaning you have a better shot of remembering that nightmare. Eat dinner at least two hours before bedtime, and choose nighttime snacks wisely. Since caffeine can have the same disruptive effect, it's best to cut off your coffee intake post-2 p.m. too.

Sleeping on Your Stomach
Sleeping in the prone position (that is, on your stomach) makes you have a racy dream! A new study published in the Journal Dreaming found that lying on your belly in bed was linked to blush-worthy dream themes, like having sex with a celebrity or being tied up. Researchers hypothesize that it might have to do with your breathing patterns in this position!

Pills - Antidepressants
Yes, those pills that are supposed to calm you down, like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft can cause you nightmares as a side effect. They've been shown to make REM (rapid-eye movement sleep, the stage during which we dream) bursts more intense in the people who take them.

Quitting Smoking
In one study, 63% of smokers still dreamed about smoking a year later after they’d quit smoking. Also, nicotine withdrawal enhances brain activity in a way that can make you dream more!

Scary Movies Before Bed
You've been hearing it since you were a kid: Spooky movies cause spooky nightmares. But is there any truth to that mom-knows-best scare tactic? A case study shows that the last thing you do before bed matters, period. The music you're listening to, the book you're reading, the TV show you're watching, the conversation you're having with your spouse-all those things are likely to be influencing. So if you happen to catch a horror flick before bed, take a few minutes to reprogram your brain with happy thoughts

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