Want To Control Your Dreams? This DIY Project Can Make It Happen

Photo: Katherine Hanlon

In this fast-paced, glued-to-our-screens culture, it can feel like we are destined to spend every waking moment doing something—even if that something is scrolling excessively through the "explore" tab on Instagram.

Now that so many of us are accustomed (read: addicted) to this constant overstimulation, it’s no surprise that dream manipulation is gaining popularity. Forget catching some shut-eye and blacking out until morning. Lately, more and more people are jumping on the lucid dreaming train, changing their diets, sleep schedules, and even bedroom décor to make it happen.

To make sure we’re on the same page, lucid dreaming is when you (the dreamer) are aware of the fact that you are dreaming. When you're lucid dreaming, you can typically exert some kind of control over the situation that’s unfolding, such as altering your environment or making decisions. You might even be able to change the behavior of the characters at play, acting out different scenarios in your subconscious and shifting the direction of the storyline.

Why should I try it?

Apart from letting you satisfy your inner control freak, what makes lucid dreaming so special? Researchers believe that slipping into this semi-aware state can help improve memory IRL, make you a better problem-solver, and actually leave you feeling more rested in the morning. Not to mention, getting to feel the sensations of a dream—like flying over the ocean or finally talking to that cute guy from yoga class—can be pretty spectacular.

If having one of these vivid, adventurous slumbers sounds like your cup of tea, then you’re in luck. "Dream pillows" are little sachets filled with herbs and essential oils, designed to enhance dreaming and dream memory. While you're not going to find hard science backing them up, I think dream pillows are a lovely tool for relaxation that is definitely worth a shot.

When it comes to making one of your own, you can really personalize it in a way that satiates your unique wants and needs. Since every herb and essential oil has its own set of properties, it’s important to understand the individual impact of each in order to build a blend that's complementary and effective.

This step-by-step guide will tell you exactly how to become your own alchemists, mixing and matching different herbs to create the sachet of your dreams (literally).

Photo: Stocksy

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How to build your own dream pillow.

Before getting started, you’ll need either a small drawstring bag (we suggest one made of mesh or cloth) or a piece of fabric and twine/string/ribbon to tie it shut.

1. Identify your intention.

Take a moment to think about what you’d like this pillow to help you manifest. Do you want your dreams to be more colorful, more sensational, more romantic, more thought-provoking? Or do you simply want to strengthen your ability to be an active participant in them?

2. Choose your herbs.

After settling on a purpose for your pillow, pick three to five herbs that will help you reach your goal. Some of my favorite dream-inducing herbs include:

  • Anise: For dispelling anger, stress, or nervousness before bedtime
  • Catnip: For relaxation
  • Chamomile: For fending off bad dreams
  • Cloves: For wild, exotic dreams
  • Mugwort: For better dream memory
  • Peppermint: For vivid dreams
  • Rosemary: For falling into a deep, deep sleep
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3. Add essential oils.

After placing the herbs inside your pouch, add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to pull it all together. Some great scents to take your blend to the next level include:

  • Clary sage: For calming the body and mind—particularly great for people struggling with depression
  • Helichrysum: For treating insomnia
  • Patchouli: For colorful, psychedelic dreams
  • Rose: For romantic, juicy dreams
  • Sandalwood: For quieting a chaotic mind

4. Set the scene.

Creating a ritual around using your dream pillow is a surefire way to channel magic while you slumber. I like to smudge my pillows with sage or Palo Santo before sleeping on them for the first time, warding off any dark energy that could negatively affect my dreams.

Keeping a journal on your bedside table is an incredibly effective way to be an active participant in the dreaming process. Upon waking up, take a few minutes to jot down everything you can remember from your dreams—no matter how crazy they were. This allows you to both remember your dreams and pull insight from everything that went down.

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5. Set multiple, loud alarms…

The first time I ever used a dream pillow, I fell asleep doubting its effectiveness—only to wake up at 10:30 a.m. (on a workday), completely out of sorts. I had slept for over 12 hours and experienced an ongoing stream of lucid dreams that I can only explain as totally insane.

Creating a dream pillow is a powerful gesture, showing the universe that you are open (and ready) to accept lucid dreams in all of their wild forms.

Now that you've tackled your pillow, it's time to make the rest of your bedroom a stage for sweet dreams. Here are the sleep essentials that a yogi and Feng shui healer always keep around.

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