Can you really control the kind of dreams you have? Dr Carl Patrasso, dream expert and author of Dreaming for Success believes we can guide ourselves into the type of dreams we want - and it all starts with our nose...
1. Pleasant dreams
"The dreams we have relate to what's going on in our life," says Dr Patrasso. If you want to create pleasant dreams, he suggests surrounding yourself with good smells. One idea is to keep a vase of fresh flowers by your bedside. Catch a whiff while you're sleeping and your dreams will be that much sweeter. "It has to be during the period that we're having REM sleep, because that's when we are dreaming," he adds.
2. Choose a dream theme
Your dreams are like movies, right – so why not be the director? That starts with picking a soundtrack to set the mood you want. "If the TV is on when you fall asleep, you could end up riding alongside John Wayne when you hear guns firing and horses riding," says Dr Patrasso. On the other hand, listen to a soundtrack of ocean sounds and you could be whisked off to an island paradise.
Another thing that affects your dreams is indigestion. Tick off your tummy and your dream machine will be mad too. Avoid eating a heavy meal before bed and steer clear of cheese and spicy foods and you'll be less likely to have nightmares.
4. Racy dreams
New research suggests that sleep position could be linked to blush-worthy dream themes because it affects the way we breathe. The two positions Carl says affect us the most are lying on your stomach or on your side in the foetal position.
5. Vivid dreams
If you're having vivid dreams, it could be the result of the medication you're taking, or even vitamins. For example, vitamin B6 is known to get our neurotransmitters fired up, and that means you'll be seeing your dreams in HD.
More ways to understand and direct your dreams:
Dream Journal, £10.96
The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams, £6.94
Lucid Dreaming: A Beginner's Guide To Becoming Conscious In Your Dreams, E8.99