Factors that Influence Your Dreams
Sounds: Real-life sounds can find their way into your dreams’ storylines. For a restful sleep, play white noise in the background: It drowns out the other sounds around you and should improve your sleep, allowing for organic dreaming.
Smells: In a small 2008 study, German researchers introduced either a positive smell (roses) or a negative smell (rotten eggs) when women entered rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep — a prime time for dreaming. When the women were woken up, they were asked about what they’d dreamt. Smelling roses yielded positive dreams, while smelling eggs yielded negative dreams.
Sleeping Position: A recent study out of Hong Kong found that sleeping on your stomach increases the chances you’ll have a sexual dream.
Your State of Mind: Not surprisingly, your mental state — not just what happens to you and around you — has a huge impact on your dreams.
Quitting: Ever wonder why you’re haunted by pizza and ice cream in your dreams when you’re trying to lose weight? Whenever you quit something — drinking or smoking or even just cookies — you’re going to dream about it. That is, if you diet or cut out sugar, your dreams are likely to feature a delectable buffet of treats. People who quit smoking tend to have dreams about smoking for the first couple of years afterward stopping the harmful habit — and some are visited infrequently by such dreams even 30 years later.
Drugs and Vitamins: Nicorette, for example, tends to give people intensely vivid dreams. Drugs can also affect dream recall: Since depression makes you less likely to remember your dreams, anti-depressants can counteract that effect. Vitamin B6 has also been shown to help people remember their dreams more vividly and easily.