Dreams - or nightmares?

Tuesday December 28, 2021

Since I retired I've had plenty of time to pursue all those things that one "never had time for". The freedom from the routine and demands of work has in its own way, as half expected, posed issues of motivation, "job satisfaction" and mood management issues.

What I wasn't expecting was detailed and exhausting dreams most nights. The absence of an alarm clock is a joy, as is the freedom to stay up later (although I'm still definitely a lark, and my partner is still very firmly an owl, so no changes there) and as I'm well into my 60's the lunchtime nap, previously a necessary safety snooze at work, is a luxury I still enjoy.

So maybe, as I can, without guilt, rack up the thick end of 9 hrs a day with eyes firmly shut, getting more relaxed sleep and not enough daytime stress (good or bad) could mean more REM sleep, and thus more opportunity for dreams. As far as quality of sleep goes, I barely drink alcohol, drink plenty, but not caffeinated coffee, have a good and balanced diet, am physically active outside for at least four hours a day, play board games and watch gentle telly (no horror or violent stuff for me thanks) and wind down with a shower last thing, and as soon as my head hits the pillow that's it, land of nod.

The dreaming is not itself a problem, I seem to "finish" a dream as I rouse gently to turn over to a more comfy spot three or four times a night, and then straight back to sleep - and another dream!The problem is, often I wake up feeling exhausted from very anxious, stressed and busy dreams relating back to my career and former lifestyle, and my mood on awaking is low, tired and drained, with seemingly the feelings felt in the dream carrying on. Other times when I seem to have had "control" over the dream there is no effect, and I can drift into consciousness aware, still remembering details of dreams but be content and equable in facing my day.

I have tried to tie in the morning moods, resulting from the dreams, with that morning's Moodscope score and equally, to see if the previous day's score predicates the night's dream styles - to no avail. So I'm questioning - are the dreams having a legacy effect in that the dream activity and people met and interacted with actually colour the next day? Or is my underlying mood driving the dreams? All the dreams seem to relate to the past and none - so far - relate to the latter few years of being "unwaged".

I'm now aware of something known as "lucid dreaming", and I'm investigating this with some interest. Do other Moodscopers have seemingly mood- and history-related dreams that affect their waking hours? Sweet dreams!

A Moodscope member.

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