This interesting column discusses some of the different facets of the dream state, including how to create, prevent and remember them.
For instance, controlling your environment by leaving the lights on, having a fan blow across your face and even having a loved one open a bottle of perfume under your nose while sleeping can induce dreams.
How much of a dream you remember, on the other hand, depends upon how soon you wake up afterward.
Nearly 80 percent of those awakened during REM sleep both remember that they are dreaming, and can recall much of the content of their dreams. Those who awaken as little as 15 minutes later, however, often cannot recall anything at all.
The methods for inducing dreams sound much like offshoots of the technique behind lucid dreaming discussed earlier this year, in which you can control your dreams by realizing you are in that state and being able to recall them.
Both dreaming sleep and non-dreaming sleep are crucial for health. Being deprived of dream sleep can result in anxiety, irritability, paranoia, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. Non-dream sleep, on the other hand, may be crucial for your brain function.
In general, getting a full night's sleep is essential. When you get less sleep than you were designed to, it can disrupt your body's finely balanced hormones and cause innumerable health problems.
While oversleeping can be a problem, the vast majority of Americans are more likely to be under-sleeping. I believe that six hours is an absolute minimum for most all of us, and most of us would benefit from closer to seven hours.
Sleep is very individual so you will want to listen carefully to your body's feedback to determine how much sleep you need, but there is some recent research that suggests sleeping over eight hours may actually be counter-productive and reduce your lifespan.
So before you start working on your dream life, ensure you're getting the right amount of sleep first.
Probably one of the best ways to know if you are getting enough sleep is to simply pay attention to the way you are feeling during the day. If you are constantly yawning and finding it difficult to keep your eyes open, you might want to consider this a major clue that you need to sleep more.
And if you want to improve the quality of the sleep you're already getting, be sure to review my Guide to a Good Night's Sleep.