We humans sleep a lot! It’s reported that six to eight hours per day of sleep in a whole life span amounts to about a third of a person’s life in slumber. And it’s good that we do because having adequate sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. It assists with concentration, memory formation and the repair of damage to your body’s cells during the day. It also improves mood. While chronic lack of sleep increases the risk for developing obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and infections. And finally, sleep gives us dreams.
Many people have had different interpretations of dreams throughout history. Some believed they were messages from the gods, others believed that they had the ability to heal and tell the future and some even thought they were evil (the inspiration for the Nightmare on Elm Street movies?). No matter what you believe, simply having them can be of benefit to you.
I found a website called Dream Moods (click here to visit) that really details the benefits as well as additional interesting facts about dreaming. There is also a Dream Dictionary that will help you interpret your dreams. Ever wanted to know what that falling dream meant?
Dreams have messages from the unconscious that may otherwise be lost if they weren’t written down. Psychologist, Carl Jung, theorized that dreams were a window into the unconscious. Thus, dreams can be used as tool to gain greater insight and self-awareness.
Utilizing a dream journal can be a great way to harness the tool of dreams and try to keep a little bit of those “messages” that are said to disappear from your memory within 10 minutes of waking. It is also a way to train yourself to recognize the trends and common threads that keep popping up in your unconscious. Knowing what is bothering you is half the battle in maintaining your mental health.
If you’re interested in trying out a dream journal, check out this great online journaling community: Dreamjournal.org. There is a cool interactive element to it, it’s free and it’s easy. Enjoy!