We have invited Farrah Zaman from Somnium Cultura to tell us the importance of dreaming. Farrah Zaman is a Dream Facilitator & Ambassador, having studied under the renowned Dream Teacher Robert Moss, founder of Active Dreaming. Farrahis dedicated to creating a lasting culture of dreamers in today's society and is currently channelling this mission into her dream project Somnium Cultura, which will be launching later this summer.
Why is dreaming so important for better sleep and for our health?
Just like sleeping, dreaming plays a vital role to our wellbeing. Dreaming occurs during each of the four stages of sleep but is most dominant during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage, the dream sleep.
Interestingly enough, this dream sleep is the only phase of the sleep cycle where stress neurochemicals (noradrenaline)are shut down by the brain, yet at the same time the memory and emotional related areas of the brain are activated. The absence of stress neurochemicals provides cathartic opportunities for processing memories, emotions and experiences (including difficulties and traumas) in this protective brain setting. This, coupled with other known physiological and neurological benefits of REM sleep make for a persuasive argument why dreaming is critical to our health.
Recalling and sharing our dream experiences when awake can also benefit our emotional health. By allowing ourselves to engage and make sense of the dream experiences relating to our waking life situations, this can provide us with a sense of clarity, and even reduce apprehension and anxiety we might otherwise be feeling or carrying around with us in the day to day.
How can we improve the quality and clarity of our dreams?
Making time for your dreams each morning is crucial. Before considering getting out of bed, speaking to your partner or reaching for your phone, allow yourself to stay in bed and savour the dream; paying attention to the feelings you’re experiencing from the dream can be particularly helpful. You can start to replay or rehearse some of the dream imageries, holding them in your mind and body so you are as present with the experience as you can be. By offering a few moments to this first thing in the morning whilst still in bed, before any of the daily distractions commence, you are creating more space for the dream to be remembered.
Having a dream journal is an essential tool for recording and building your dreaming relationship. Keeping your journal close at hand will encourage the habit of writing down your dreams upon waking up. Write what you can remember, recording the dream as factually as it happened (you can save the personal analysis for later). Note down as much as you can, and if you are struggling to recount much, even writing down the sensations, impressions or feelings is still a good start. Giving your dream a title is a fun and creative exercise that adds energy and value behind the experience. It’s also a great way of summing up the essence of the dream.
The more this habit of writing your dreams down in your journal is practiced, in time it will greatly help improve the quality and clarity of your dreams.
Setting an intention before falling asleep can also be helpful. Your intention can be as specific as you choose to make it (maybe there is something in particular you would like to receive guidance on that is presently affecting your life), or it can also be something quite general “I want to have fun in my dreams and remember it.”. Commit to your intention by writing it down.
Farrah Zaman, originally from London, currently resides in the Canary Islands with her partner, their cat and wolfdog. She is available for workshops and consultations. Find out more here.