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What are your dreams telling you about your sleep?

It's the middle of the night and you find yourself dancing with the person of your dreams... only to find yourself awake in bed moments later with the music coming from the apartment next door. Or, you hear people talking and it gets woven into your dreams. Has this ever happened to you? This is one of the mind's most intriguing defense mechanisms against sleep disruptions: your brain will weave reality into your dreams in an attempt to keep you getting the sleep you need. If you've ever dreamed you were paralyzed — guess what? You were! As strange as it may sound, the body goes into a natural sleep paralysis mode to aid in getting the full amount of deep sleep it needs.

What else can dreams tell us? Some people feel their dreams of the future are bound to come true. While images of winning the lottery can be tempting when you have an extra five dollars in your pocket, most likely it is a way for the brain to prepare itself, and the body, for new situations. Dreams are, in a sense, the brain's adaptability function.

You may have heard old wives' tales, like the vision of a baby being born means someone will get married; or you may be more interested in the Id, Ego and Superego of Jung and Freud. Either way (or regardless) if you are NOT dreaming it could be a sign that you aren't entering the deepest REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep that allows our brains to let loose and give us all kinds of wacky images to interpret. This could be a sign that you have a sleep disorder or that your environment is not allowing you the best sleep available. Are you waking up regularly? Are you waking up in the morning feeling tired? If so, there are many things that can be done to help tame the dream-busting monsters and get to a deep and satisfying sleep.

Check out ways to create the best sleep environment and talk to your doctor. Sleep apnea is gaining momentum in the media as a number one sleep disrupter... but you'll need to do a sleep study in order to get diagnosed. If you sleep with a snorer, products like SleepPhones can be a great way to ensure you get your precious Zzzs.

Once you've established the best ways for you to get the deep sleep you and your body needs, enjoy interpreting those dreams. Buy two books — one for recording dreams and another for interpreting them. And if you DO dream of the winning lottery number, think twice before spending your last five dollars!

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