What Dreams are made of ...
“Sweet dreams,” “Living the dream, “Man of my dreams,” “In your dreams” … all imply that dreaming is a good thing.
But my dreams are mostly weird. Like the ones that find me in my childhood home in the kitchen with yellow linoleum, rooster-patterned wallpaper and a black-and-white television on the counter.
There’s no real significance to the stories that play out in those dreams. They’re mostly just obscure flashbacks to 6-year-old Lori with tousled pigtails and dirty fingernails.
Sometimes she’s with her sisters in the barn hayloft or on the banks of the muddy Champepedan Creek.
Sometimes she’s at the dinner table wondering what Grandpa likes about peaches and cottage cheese.
Not all my weird dreams are about young Lori.
Sometimes 50-year-old Lori finds herself caring for an infant. When did I have a baby? How could I not remember I had a baby? What kind of mother am I?
Sometimes my dreams are troubling and occasionally terrifying — like 12-year-old Lori fleeing a charging bull in the pasture and her legs are paralyzed.
Or, almost as troublesome is the dream where 20-year-old Lori shows up for class at the U of M where everyone is starting a final exam — and she hasn’t yet purchased the textbook, much less showed up for class.
Another recurring dream from that era finds me crisscrossing the urban campus in a never-ending search for a classroom in a building that forever remains around the next corner.
Dream experts have all sorts of explanations for stories that unfold behind our eyes while we sleep, and they say many of us share the same odd dreams in common.
Like the one where we find ourselves in public while wearing our pajamas — or worse, wearing nothing at all.
Many people share the common dream of flying — or floating peacefully — over our pedestrian friends.
I love the flying dreams … until I can’t figure out how to come down … and I startle awake after plummeting to the ground.
Dreams indicate we’ve fallen deeply asleep, but weird dreams aren’t very restful for my brain.
Why can’t I have satisfying dreams with happy endings? What if we could choose the topics of dreams?
Turns out we can, to a degree.
Relaxed (happy) sleepers have pleasant dreams, so a thoughtful bedtime routine can result in better dream outcomes, according to sleep experts (whoever they are).
Maybe it’s yoga and meditation, or pleasant fragrances or soothing music — or a glass (one) of red wine — before bedtime.
Whatever you do, don’t eat a midnight snack of leftover spicy nachos. Apparently our tummies can dictate the flavor of our dreams.
Sweet dreams (not weird ones), my fellow dreamers. May you achieve the happy sleep stories you dream of dreaming.