Sleep and dreaming are essential to good health, happiness and creativity, say some scientists. Sleep, they say, is the best thing for resting the brain and body, while dreaming provides essential emotional healing and insight into our lives, helping us to solve problems and make decisions.

However, we’re living in a sleep deprived society. Search the internet for ‘sleep deprived society’ and you find a ton of information and documented scientific research. The conclusion: Western society is sleep deprived. 

Sleep deprivation has a negative effect on health. Many scientists conclude that when we’re sleep deprived, we’re more likely to gain weight, suffer from heart disease, dementia, diabetes and some cancers. And if we’re sleep deprived there’s a good chance that we’re dream deprived and the combination could result in a doubly negative effect on our well-being. 

Dream deprivation creates greater risk of dis-ease

A 2017 review paper by Rubin Naiman of the Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona, claims that “we are at least as dream-deprived as we are sleep-deprived” and suggests that a “silent epidemic of REM sleep deprivation” is contributing to our growing healthcare problems.

The REM stage of sleep is most closely associated with dreaming, but we do dream at other times during our sleep, according to these researchers. In fact, some studiesshow we dream almost as much in non-REM states as we do during REM states. 

So, any sleep can result in dreaming!

Creating the best conditions for sleep

As a first step to working with our dreams and active dreaming, we must ensure we’re getting the best sleep possible and we can start by creating the right conditions. The list of tips below can get you started. 

Make sure your bedroom is as comfortable and comforting as possible. 
Keep the room as dark as you can at a temperature of about 18C/65F. 
Use essential oils, such as lavender. 
Relax properly before bed to induce sleep by having a chamomile tea or a milky drink.
Avoid bright lights, TVs, computer and phone screens for at least two hours before bed. 
Without looking at a screen, read something you’d like to dream about. 
Aim to develop a regular sleep pattern by going to bed and waking up around the same times every day.
If you can’t sleep, get up and read something pleasant, without looking at a screen. 
Avoid caffeine and alcohol before sleep.
Avoid vigorous exercise at least three hours before bed and aim to exercise for at least 30 mins/day.
Make love/have an orgasm.
Try a simple meditation in bed.
Listen to soothing music.
Try a relaxing bath or shower.