How to Influence Your Dreams

Three Methods:Mentally PreparingControlling Certain FactorsDreaming

If you're having troublesome nightmares or simply wish to dream about a particular topic, there are many ways to influence your dreams. From preparing mentally, controlling your environment, to dreaming itself you can take steps to influence the nature of your dreams.

Method 1
Mentally Preparing

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    Think about what you want to dream about ahead of time. You can have profound control over your dreams by mentally preparing before bed. If you want to dream about a certain person or topic, thinking about this before bed can influence your dreams.
    • A lot of people strive to problem solve in a dream. If you're unsure where to go with a project, you may want to use your dreams to seek out a solution. To do so, think of the problem before bed. Visualizing can be particularly helpful here, especially if the problem is not abstract. If it's a personal problem, imagine the person you're having issues with. If you're struggling with an artistic project, picture a blank canvas or blank page.[1]
    • If you want to dream about a certain subject or person, visualize. If you're striving to dream of a deceased relative, try looking at pictures of that person before bed. If you want to dream about a place, look up pictures of that place before bed. Daydream about the person, place, or subject you wish to dream about as you fall asleep. This can help steer your dream in the right direction.[2]
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    Remind yourself you want to influence your dream before bed. Verbally or mentally reminding yourself you want to control your dreams is a hue help when it comes to influencing dreams. Before getting to bed, think or say to yourself, "Tonight, I want to realize I'm dreaming. Tonight, I want to control my dreams."[3]
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    Get enough sleep. Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night is vital to controlling the direction of your dreams. The stage of sleep known as REM sleep is where you tend to have the most dreams. Sleep deprivation results in a lower portion of REM sleep. Strive for 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night. This increases your ability to influence your dreams.[4]
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    Consider a smart phone app. Apps available for smart phones can be used to help you influence your dreams. If you're struggling to control your dreams on your own, consider investing in a smart phone app.
    • The apps work by giving you a choice of a variety of soundscapes. Options include things like "Peaceful Garden," "Space Shuttle," and "A Trip to Tokyo." Sounds usually start playing early in the morning, when you're most likely to be experiencing REM sleep. Some apps even detect your movement at sleep and begin to play your chosen sounds when you stop moving around as your body becomes still during REM sleep.[5]
    • Some apps have voiceovers that remind you that you are sleeping. They encourage you to take control of your dream, which can lead to lucid dreaming.[6]
    • Remember, not all apps affect everyone the same. Even if you use the app correctly, you may not be able to influence your dreams effectively.[7]

Method 2
Controlling Certain Factors

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    Try to control sounds and smells when you're sleeping. The sound and smells of your sleep environment can affect your dreams. If you hear a movie in the background, for example, your dreams may take on certain themes of the film. Try to control your sleep environment as much as possible to influence your dreams as you choose.[8]
    • Avoid unwanted background noise. This might mean turning on a white machine. If you want peaceful dreams, consider playing soft, soothing music or other gentle sounds in the background while you sleep.[9]
    • Smells can also affect your sleep. If someone is cooking bacon early in the morning, you may dream of bacon. Try to fill your room with smells that remind you of what you want to dream about. For example, maybe you want to dream of childhood Christmases with your family and you associate the smell of pine with that time period. Try to get a pine-scented air freshener. Smell is very heavily linked to memory. If you're striving to dream of a certain person, dabbing some of the perfume or cologne they wore in life on your wrists before bed can help.[10]
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    Know that sleeping on your stomach can effect dreams. If you frequently sleep on your stomach, understand this can affect your dreams. As your breathing may become short, you're more likely to have sexually charged dreams. If you do not wish to have an erotic dream, avoid sleeping on your stomach.[11]
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    Use cheese. Certain cheeses can affect dreams. If you eat cheese, you can use cheese to your advantage when it comes to influencing dreams.
    • One study showed some correlation between cheese and dream types with a variety of participants. Blue cheese tended to result in bizarre dreams. Cheddar cheese resulted in people dreaming of celebrities. People eating Red Lancashire cheese had peaceful dreams about past memories and events.[12]
    • If you use cheese to alter your dreams, take precaution. Cheese can sometimes cause indigestion, resulting in sleeplessness. If you choose to eat cheese before bed, consume a small amount.[13]
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    Learn how moods can affect dreams. Your mood can have a profound effect on your dreams. If you are sad or depressed, the colors in your dreams may be muted or subtle. If you go to bed anxious, you might dream of disasters like tornadoes or floods.[14]

Method 3

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    Develop ways to check that you are dreaming. Dreams can sometimes be very close to real life. Therefore, it can be difficult to realize you are dreaming. Develop ways to recognize a dream from reality.
    • Time is one way to differentiate a dream from reality. Time is notoriously inconsistent in dreams. For example, a clock may say it's 8AM and then moments later claim it's 2PM. If you're unsure whether or not you're dreaming, try looking at a clock.[15]
    • Reading in dreams is often difficult. Many people cannot read in dreams. People who can read in dreams often report the text is gibberish, word salad, or hieroglyphics. Trying to read a book or magazine can help you recognize that you are dreaming.[16]
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    Stay in bed for a moment when you wake up. As many people want to influence dreams as a way to come to terms with a problem, it's important that you remember your dreams. Do not jump out of bed, as removing yourself from REM sleep can cause you to forget your dreams. Try to stay in bed for a moment and remember your dreams. Start out by trying to recall the emotions that accompanied your dreams. This can help trigger your remembering other details.[17]
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    Consider keeping a dream journal. A dream journal is another way to help remember your dreams. Record your dreams in as much detail as possible after you get out of bed. Having a dream journal can help you revisit your dreams later to interpret their possible meaning.[18]

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