In this blog I want to talk to you about what your brain is busy doing while you’re sleeping, and the 3 signs that you need to look after your mental health.
Today my dog, Sky, went in for an operation. I’ve been worrying about it for a couple of days and last night I had a really weird dream. Long story short I dreamt I’d left Sky with strangers and they juggled with her! She loved it but I was fuming! How strange is that?
Well actually, it makes perfect sense. During the night, your mind processes your worries and concerns from the day, often by dreaming about them. During REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, your mind is really busy processing everything that’s happened to you during the day; so that you can make sense of it and wake up refreshed and raring to go. The bigger your worries, the weirder your dreams can get! That’s why I know that when I’m getting strange dreams, or nightmares, I need to pay a bit more attention to my mental health. In this situation of course I’m worried about a one-off event, and tonight Sky will be home, being spoilt rotten and I’ll probably sleep very well! But sometimes there is no specific ‘thing’ I’m worried about. I just notice my dreams have got very disturbed and I know I need to stop and take a look at what’s going on in my life – get to the bottom of what’s worrying me so I can do something about it.
Waking up in the Night
Another sign of poor mental health is waking up in the early hours. Not like when you wake up to go to the toilet and fall back asleep easily; but when you’re wide awake at 2am and know you’re going to find it hard to get back to sleep. That’s because if we have too much to process during our REM sleep, our brains will snap us wide awake, almost as self protection so that we don’t short circuit! And it just so happens that most of our REM happens after midnight, so that’s when we wake up. So, waking up in the early hours is a sign we’re getting overloaded and need to do something to deal with the stress we’re experiencing.
Sleeping too Much
The third sign is sleeping too much! REM sleep is exhausting; the more we have to process the harder our brains have to work during the night, and it tires us out! So, feeling like you’ve slept but still feeling exhausted and not wanting to get out of bed is another symptom of poor mental health.
So, if you’re having bad dreams, waking in the early hours or sleeping too much, see that as a sign that you need to pay more attention to your mental health. Obviously, the best remedy is to change the situation that’s causing you stress or anxiety but sometimes that’s not possible. So, what else can you do? Hypnotherapy works because it gives you an extra dose of REM sleep, so helps you process whatever is going on for you. Other things that can help are meditation, mindfulness, exercise, talking it over with a friend or getting out in nature. Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to pay attention to what your sleep is trying to tell you and look after yourself. Sweet dreams!