“…were it not that I have bad dreams.”

So I don’t know about you, but I have bad dreams like whoa. (Yes, that’s my super-adult introduction to this first post in I don’t know how long. It’s called dodging the issue. Move on.)

Anyway. Nightmares. I’ve always been a vivid-verging-on-lucid dreamer and, what d’you know, serious depression and psych meds just make that even more vivid. I don’t get true night terrors, but I get repetitive cycles of nightmares that last over days — or weeks — and I get recurring nightmares either within or between cycles.

This means that I’m always looking out for stuffs that might help. Over the past two or three months, I seem to have found a little cadre of helpful things so here they are in case they might help you, too.

  • Melatonin. Obviously, a bottle of pills is a bottle of pills is a bottle of pills and I’m not suggesting you order this bottle from this place, but I’ve had the best luck with this brand in 3 and 5 mg dosages. It takes about an hour to kick in with me, which is about enough time to read a little and get the cats nicely settled in their optimum positions on the bed.
  • Sleep and Noise app. I have this on an Android device, but I think you can probably get a Mac version if need be. It costs you $3 for an extra ‘expansion’ of sounds and it is totally, totally worth it. Ocean Waves and Rocky Beach send me off into sweet, nightmare-free sleep every time.
  • Rain Sounds app. Again, I’ve got it on an Android.. Again, an extra couple of bucks for ‘expanded sound set.’ Again, totally worth it. There’s one with frogs singing that — no fooling — reminds me of where I grew up in Maine; I put that one on even if I just want to read for awhile. Both these apps are also great meditation backgrounds; they just go on and on and on— ’til you shut ’em off.
  • Insight Timer Meditation Timer. I don’t use this as much as I’d like to, but even the free version (again, on Android) has some wonderful guided meditations, including body scans (along those lines, check out this savasana meditation from Cora Wen) and heart-opening practices that really help calm me down and soothe me towards sleep. There’s also just the basic timer-with-bell if you just want that function; I also like that it tracks your sessions from day to day — but no-one go look at my numbers.
  • Yogi honey-lavendar tea. This stuff is the bomb. No nasty licorice taste, no valerian to have to sweeten over — just yumminess.
  • YellowBrickCinema. Can’t remember how I found these guys, but they have some awesome, multiple hour music and sound loops on Youtube that are great for getting to sleep, naps, meditation backgrounds, work backgrounds, whatever.
  • Meditation Relax Music. Pretty much what it says on the tin; I love the tracks of singing bowl tones.
  • Calm.com. This one has a ton of functionality — including an app that’s only for Apple devices so I haven’t tried it — but I mostly use it at work as a wallpaper. That is, I select an image, kill the music, and F-11 that sucker to full screen. It’s way better than any of the Microsoft options and it’s nice to look around from re-foldering and rest my eyes on color for a few minutes.

So there you have it. If you try any of them, I hope they help. If you have other suggestions, please tell me!

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