Please Note: This is a guest post from Chris Hammond over at World Of Lucid Dreaming
Oftentimes, as well as helping you to get deeper, more restful sleep – herbs can have the desirable side effect of increasing dream recall, vividness, surreality (is that a word?) and even lucidity.
I’m not saying you should abandon all the lucid dreaming basics in favour of trying to knock yourself out with some herbs. But if you’ve been practicing for a while – and are feeling a little jaded and simply fatigued – trying out some herbs that promote sleep might just refresh you.
So let’s take a look at the best 3 for achieving just that.
Mugwort is well known as a dream herb, but one of its lesser known characteristics is that it is also extremely good at promoting sleep itself.
If I’m making myself a cup of herbal tea to relax before bed, it’s always a toss up between mugwort and chamomile.
I personally find when taking mugwort I’m more inclined to have spontaneous lucid dreams in the middle of the night without needing to use a WBTB technique. This is great news if sleep is a priority for you, since waking for a 30 minute WBTB can sometimes be exhausting.
Valerian root was the so-called “Valium of the 19th Century” because it was so commonly prescribed by doctors for its sedative properties – mainly for ‘hysteria’ or ‘mania’. These days however it is more commonly known for its usefulness at night time.
It’s a dark brown root and the smell is rich and wonderful. If you can lay your hands on some high quality natural root, then it’s worth a shot since making the tea is a deeply rewarding experience. Having said that, valerian is also relatively abundant, so the extracts and capsules tend to be pretty high quality too.
I find valerian is great for helping me sleep and boosting my dream recall. The dreams are also inevitably surreal or bizarre in some way!
This is backed up by this study which was looking at valerian and stress related insomnia, but formally recorded vivid dreams as a side effect.
OK, while this technically isn’t an ‘herb’ in any way, I’m including it in today’s list because it’s extremely effective at inducing sleep and enhancing your dreams.
Melatonin is the hormone that your body releases in the evening as the sun goes down. It’s what gives you that sleepy feeling and prepares your body for rest.
It basically controls your circadian rhythm (the natural cycle of day and night, waking and sleeping) driven by the rising and falling of sunlight.
So when you supplement with melatonin you give your body the signal that it’s night-time and should go to sleep. But best of all, we actually have a bona fide study on melatonin and dreaming.
This study of 22 college students ran for two weeks and used a 17-point questionnaire each morning to rate specific aspects of dream bizarreness. They concluded that:
“The hypotheses were partially supported by significant results on several specific aspects of dream bizarreness, including “transformations of objects” and “overall transformations.””
Many have also reported degrees of success using melatonin to support lucid dreaming as well, since it is said to increase the overall amount of REM sleep.
So there you have it.
Curling up with a cup of mugwort tea in the evening, or laying your hands on some high quality valerian root extract might just give you refreshing break from the hard rigours of regular lucid dreaming practice, help you sleep better and have a positive flow on effect on your dream life into the bargain.