35 percent of Americans don’t get quality sleep. One way to tell if your sleep is poor is if you wake up tired. Another is if you wake up sore, and a third way is to monitor your dreams. Determining what you dream, how you dream, and how much you are dreaming can give you a better understanding of how well you sleep. Once your sleep is changed for the better, your dreams will reflect this change.
Content of Dreams
Everyone experiences really weird or really vivid dreams once in awhile. But if these recur, you’re probably not getting satisfactory sleep. Have you ever felt unrested after you’ve woken up from such dreams? This is no coincidence. When you have vivid dreams, your brain is operating at a higher gear than usual. Sleep is supposed to recharge your body and mind; having to live what feels like a full day, or week, or month in dreamland defeats this purpose. Vivid and unusual dreams can be caused by a restless mind, which is in turn caused by stress, anxiety, or more serious physical and mental illnesses. The same can be said about nightmares. Be sure that these types of dreams are not indicative of an underlying condition.
Type of Dreaming
Lucid dreaming is another sign that your sleep may be sub-par. While lucid dreaming is seen by many as a positive development, if controlling your dreams negatively affects your real life it may not be worth it. This dream state, which is categorized by an elevated sense of awareness, occurs in people who are dealing with stress and anxiety. It is also seen in people with narcolepsy. Since lucid dreaming is a goal for people who would like to control their dreams, it’s not bad in moderation. However, lucid dreaming is similar to vivid dreaming in that too much of it means that something could be wrong.
Amount of Dreams
There are people who dream every night and others who dream once a week. There are people that have multiple dreams a night and some that have them very sporadically. Since many dreams aren’t remembered, the people who think they don’t dream usually dream as much as anyone – they’re just not aware of it. There are people, however, who truly don’t have many dreams. This may be caused by sleep apnea. Most dreams occur during REM sleep, but sleep apnea disrupts this extremely important nocturnal stage and stifles dreams in the process. Again, just because you don’t often dream doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea, but you might if not dreaming is paired with loud snoring and excessive awakening.
Dreaming is a constant in most people’s sleep cycles. If dreams become weird, terrifying, protracted, multiplied, lucid, or nonexistent, this could be a signal that your nocturnal life, or waking life, needs some fixing. See, dreams aren’t just for fun; they provide a valuable service.