Skip to content

5 Ways To Set Yourself Up For Deeper Sleep & Happier Dreams

Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Woman sleeping happy
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.
In 2021, we're focusing on joy. After the year we've had, cultivating and celebrating small moments of happiness as they come has never felt more cathartic, life-affirming, and essential to lasting well-being. In the coming weeks, we're going to laugh, experience new things, and revamp stale aspects of daily life. Come back each day for a new "Resolution Joy" installment, where you'll find inspiration and expert-backed advice, free classes, and—dare we say?—fun activities.

Stress in our waking lives often carries into our sleep, so there's not always an easy fix for stressful dreams and nightmares. However, there are a few things you can do before bed to set yourself up for a restful, more joyfully dreamy snooze:

1. Manage stress with healthy tools.

According to therapist and dream expert Leslie Ellis, Ph.D., one thing that can help make your dreams more pleasant is reducing the stress in your everyday life. Whether that means taking up a mindfulness practice, journaling about what's bothering you, or seeing a licensed professional, whatever you can do to help mitigate stress will likely translate to better sleep all-around.

Advertisement

2. Have a relaxing bedtime routine.

Of course, when talking about achieving quality sleep, we can't leave out the ever-important bedtime routine. Using your wind-down time to do relaxing activities that "reduce embodied stress," Ellis notes, can encourage more pleasant dreams. "Ideally, go to sleep in a calm body. It helps to get some exercise during the day and practice good sleep hygiene prior to bedtime," she explains.

So, that means, no screen time for at least an hour, a hot bath or shower, and possibly a pre-sleep relaxation meditation, she suggests. It's also a good idea to avoid food and alcohol close to bedtime, as research shows both can negatively affect sleep.

3. Try a magnesium supplement.

sleep support+

sleep support+

The deep and restorative sleep you've always dreamt about*

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(182)
sleep support+

To help you relax and settle in, you may want to consider taking a sleep supplement as part of your bedtime routine, like mbg's sleep support+.* Its formula combines magnesium with pharmaGABA, a neurotransmitter shown in clinical trials to enhance natural sleep quality, and jujube, a fruit used in traditional Chinese medicine for its calming effects.*

Advertisement

4. Set your thermostat.

If bad dreams and frequent wake-ups are an issue for you, one reason may just be the temperature of your bedroom. As sleep researcher and co-author of Sleep for Success! Rebecca Robbins, Ph.D., previously told mbg, "We see experimentally that individuals sleeping in warmer rooms (70°F or higher) are more prone to worrisome dreams and fitful sleep." Your best bet is to keep it around 65°F, or at least under 70°F.

5. Set an intention for dreaming.

And lastly, Ellis recommends setting an intention for your dreaming. "For example," she says, "as you are drifting into sleep, you can bring to mind a really good dream or memory and imagine yourself right back there, and set an intention to continue this dream."

You can also specifically ask your dreaming mind to solve a problem, "or reflect on an aspect of your life that you would like some input on," she explains. Writing your query down, she adds, seems to increase the likelihood of dreaming about the topic. (Be sure to check out our full guide on lucid dreaming if you want to know more!)

Even if you're far from controlling your dreams, we can all do little things throughout the day and before bed to relax our minds and set ourselves up for a good night's sleep.

sleep support+
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(182)
sleep support+

sleep support+

The deep and restorative sleep you've always dreamt about*

sleep support+

sleep support+

The deep and restorative sleep you've always dreamt about*

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(182)
sleep support+

More On This Topic

More Mindfulness

Popular Stories

Advertisement

Latest Articles

Latest Articles
Advertisement

Your article and new folder have been saved!