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How Your Dreams Can Help You Sleep

When you surface from a dream in the middle of the night, here are ways to re-enter that mysterious state.

Remembering your dreams
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

For a long while now I’ve kept a dream journal. First thing in the morning, when I can remember what a dream might have been—even just shards of it—I write it down. Half an hour later I would probably have forgotten all of it. Dreams are that fleeting.

What I like about this process is that it keeps me connected to my dreams and to my dreaming. For the more effort you make to remember dreams, the more likely you will find yourself dreaming exuberantly, healingly, restoratively.

My dreams help me in my faith. They confirm God’s goodness in my life. They reaffirm the validity of relationships. And they help me in my sleep.

Okay, you know that feeling of waking up, looking at the clock and saying, no, no, no, then staring into the dark (or the dawn) wishing you could fall back to sleep? Where does your head go in those periods? To darkness, depression, anger, despair?

Here’s something I’ve learned: I close my eyes and look to the dream I was having. A way of recovering and returning to sleep. The place of the dream, a person who was in it, the atmosphere of the dream, the feeling it gave me. A dive back into something out of this world.

In the Bible we see how God can speak through dreams. Just think of those trips Baby Jesus took with his mom and dad to Egypt—the flight into Egypt—and then the return to Judea and finally Nazareth.

How did Joseph know they had to go and when it would be safe to return? Dreams. Very specific messages in dreams. I could confidently say that I never get such dramatic divine directives.

But I find inspiration in Joseph. He paid attention. And was always ready to change his course or chart a new one. His familiarity with his dreams and awareness of them ended up changing the course of history of God’s own family.

It’s a little thing. But try it. Sleep interrupted? Can’t get back to sleep? See if your dream—even focusing on the merest fragment of a dream—can take you back to Dreamland. The waking world will be glad of your return. Especially after that necessary good night’s sleep.

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