As we collectively endured and responded to the double whammy threat of pandemic and quarantine, people around the world were reporting some unusually strange and vivid dreams. Even if we avoided the COVID-19 virus itself, many of us were exhibiting symptoms of anxiety, sleeplessness and existential dread.
I’ve long been a fan of dream pillows, because I’m always fascinated by the messages that come to us in our sleep. But in addition to encouraging the subconscious activity of our REM cycles, dream pillows also contain a lot of herbs that promote sleep, induce relaxation and relieve anxiety.
So for better sleep, greater calm, and an all-around more interesting dream life, consider putting a combination of these beneficial herbs into a sachet and keeping it under your pillow or next to your bed. You might be amazed by how effective a dream pillow can be.
Balsam fir: The aromatic needles of this evergreen tree are commonly used to improve lung health, reduce muscle spasms, and treat minor pain.
Catnip: It’s not just for pussy cats anymore. Catnip contains nepetalactone, an effective herbal sedative, which can elevate mood while reducing anxiety and nervousness.
Chamomile: One of the best known plants for relaxation, we’re all familiar with sleepy tea made from chamomile. In addition to treating insomnia, chamomile can also be good for boosting immunity, treating colds and soothing stomach pain.
Hops: This of course is a key ingredient in one of our favorite soporific beverages, beer. Besides reducing stress and anxiety, the flavonoids in hops have powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties.
Lavender: Lavender is one of the most common herbal remedies for bringing calm and reducing stress. It’s also a potent antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, used to relieve headaches, help with digestion, and treat skin irritations.
Lemon verbena: This common and aromatic shrub is a popular treatment for insomnia, as well as a variety of digestive issues, fevers and colds.
Mint: Great tasting and easy to grow, mint is effective for improving digestion, easing headaches and reducing mucous.
Mugwort: Commonly taken to boost energy and treat digestive disorders, mugwort is also a mild hallucinogen, one of the most important ingredients for stimulating the dream-generating subconscious.
Rose: The wonderful smell of rose is effective in reducing anxiety and elevating the mood. It’s also a powerful remedy for skin irritations, soar throats and minor infections.
Thyme: This culinary herb has a very pleasant and calming fragrance. It’s also a popular remedy for a number of digestive issues.
Valerian: Another herb well known for its sedative properties, valerian is a common treatment for insomnia and a natural alternative to more powerful anti-depressants and benzodiazepines.
For even better results and more clarity with your dreams, it’s extremely helpful to keep a dream journal and record those nocturnal stories and experiences. Start by finding a journal with a nice cover. You’ll be far more likely to use something that you like to look at. Then keep it on your bedside table and make notes every morning.
Even if you don’t remember any dreams, make a note of that. Often, the simple act of writing is enough to jog the memory. Moreover, it sends a message to your subconscious mind, as if to let Psyche know you’re listening, encouraging her to speak to your more openly. In combination with an herbally activated dream pillow, the dream journal is sure to promote clearer, more interesting and substantive night time visions.
Never underestimate the power or wisdom of the subconscious mind. If you’re attentive, it can guide you in many ways. It can even help get you through the pandemic.
For more help improving your sleep and reducing your anxiety levels, try some of these tried and true herbal remedies.
PHOTO CREDIT: Colored wood carving by Camille Flammarion from 1888 (Wikipedia)