• A recent study says that people with more negative thoughts are more likely to become depressed the longer they sleep.
• In addition, a past psychological experiment carried out at Oxford University indicated that sleep immediately after a traumatic event could possibly help embed that event in the memory and cause more negative emotional effects than if immediate sleep had not happened.
• Sleep consolidates your thoughts and feelings and further embeds them into your subconscious. It can actually affect how we feel waking up the next morning and, think about it, in this way may reinforce or reprogram even, how we may be prone to think.
Is there a way in which we can help our subconscious in our sleep to process the right kind of thoughts?
What does Science say? Would implementing some pre-sleep rituals be beneficial in this regard?
Research does in fact offer insight and potential insight into how we can hack our sub-conscious mind in a positive way while we sleep.
Let’s see what we have – the first two are pre-requisites:
1. First make sure conditions are right for sleep
2. Go to bed early
A study found that those who went to sleep at late times were more likely to not get enough sleep and had more tendencies toward repetitive negative thinking. Set an alarm in order to remind you to go to bed earlier.
3. Focus on positive input only
Before falling asleep, as we get more and more relaxed, it becomes easier to bypass the conscious mind and to access the subconscious mind. In a pre-sleep state, our mind resembles a fertile ground in which we need to make sure we are only planting positive seeds. In this sense, it’s advisable to avoid watching anything negative and to avoid aimlessly scrolling through social media.
Deal with negative stressors by taking a bath, practicing yoga, taking a guided relaxation program or writing down your concerns (but well before bed-time.) Research shows that sleep enhances memories and emotions but particularly the negative kind. In your last few minutes of your day, focus on positive input only.
4. Read a quality book
Research indicates that memory functions at a high level when something is learned shortly before sleep. And so, a top success hack is to add a night-time reading habit to your routine.
Choose something inspirational, interesting, positive, uplifting. But this can be anything really that may serve to enhance your creativity. Put those 7-8 hours of sleep time to good use: read a good novel which inspires any type of learning before sleep can program your subconscious to look at life with more creativity, perspective and with an inventive/innovative approach.
In addition, it gives the brain a good workout. The more you read, the better your cognitive abilities will be as well as your preservation of memories.
5. Program your dreams to solve a problem
A study found that REM sleep is when the brain is best at performing enhanced creative processing. REM sleep has potential to help achieve solutions by stimulating associative networks, which leads the brain to make new and useful associations between unrelated concepts and ideas.
Auto-suggestion is the key. Ask yourself the question that you are trying to answer before sleep. The key is ask the right type of question, one that requires creative processing and not one that will make you so anxious that it will prevent the onset of sleep. Ask the question and hold image of it in your mind as you drift to sleep. Once you wake up, focus on the dream content in order to retain consciously.
Research suggests that another way of achieving this, is by aiming for a lucid dream. A lucid dream is where the person is aware that they are dreaming and can in some way influence the direction that the dream is taking. This can happen very infrequently. However it has been proven to be a learnable skill.
Lucid dreaming can allow you to untap further into your brain potential by exploring beyond your initial consciousness. Three ways of initiating this are
1 Get enough sleep. Getting the right amount of REM sleep is important for this to happen.
2 Consciously repetitively asking yourself throughout the day, whether you are awake or asleep will eventually cause your sub-conscious to do the same while you are sleeping.
3 If you have just woken from a dream, and are still in drowsy state, go back to sleep all the time thinking of that same dream. This time, you can allow yourself to have more control over that dream.
6. Keep a Gratitude Journal and envision future success
We have seen before that REM sleep is when the brain is best at enhanced creative processing. Before surrendering for 8 hours into the depths of your sub-conscious mind, why not use the few minutes before that to program your sub-conscious to absorb and re-inforce what you would like to accomplish in your life.
Wait until you are in that state between when you are awake and asleep and becoming drowsy. Use this time to focus on the feeling that you would have on accomplishing your dream.
Researchers found that gratitude before sleeping is linked to both good sleep quality and longer sleep length. The key is to deal with the negative thoughts at an earlier time in the day and to put big focus on the positive thoughts as you are drifting to sleep.