Using imagination or 'creative visualisation' to promote relaxation and sleep is not a new concept. However, using the imagination to self direct and transform dreams was introduced to me by my then 6 year old daughter. She invented dream puffs' and 'sleep time stories' whereby she imagined adventures with her dream puff to allow her mind to drift and relax off to sleep. Every morning she would recount her 'dreaming' adventures. Her younger sister quickly latched on to the concept and before long they were both regaling the family with their colourful and exciting dreams.
It was only recently as I was researching her idea that I discovered that it is a concept founded in science. Who knew? The research is fascinating and compelling with far reaching benefits.
'As children thoroughly relax and the line between asleep and awake fades, their visualizations may gradually transform into dreams.' Patti Teel
The benefits of imaginative dreaming are strong and meaningful;
- your child decides what to dream about = empowering
- increased creativity and ability to solve problems
- improved communication skills
- reduced stress and anxiety
- improved relaxation and quicker to enter sleep
- better more restful sleep and overall improvements in health
'I call the blurred time between awake and asleep, “twilight time,” a perfect time to use creative visualization. We give our sons and daughters a precious gift when we teach them to treasure this magical time. During “twilight time,” the conscious mind is relaxed enough to be carried away with a freedom not typically experienced in a totally awakened state. At this point children have actually entered a meditative state; their brain waves are operating at a slow enough rate (often called the theta state) to facilitate creative visualization and sleep. ' Patti Teel
My children use their dream puff as a sacred part of their bed time routine. Every evening they give us a brief overview of what they have planned for their nightly adventures. Having this purposeful 'tool' keeps the concept alive and can serve as a useful reminder to children to start creating their own dreams.