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Our dreams are amazing entities; from ancient times to present the images that appear in our sleeping mind have fascinated and puzzled us. From euphoric fantasy to sinister fears, our dreams can be a blessing or a menace. If nightmares terrorize you, don't feel helpless. Here are a few steps you can take towards dreaming lucidly, and peacefully.

The first thing you need to do is prepare a few tools. Soothing, relaxing music can help ease the mind if listened to before or during sleep. Consider purchasing a few cassettes or CDs with music that makes you feel relaxed. New Age, Celtic, and Classical genres are a good place to start. You will also need a blank journal-nothing fancy is required, though certainly pick one to your taste. With the journal, choose a pen or pencil with which you can write easily, with minimal effort. If you find that having some soft background noise whilst you sleep is calming to you, consider a sound effects machine. There are many on the market that produce gentle atmospheric sounds such as rolling waves and falling rain.

Before you get ready for bed, a warm bath will help relax your body and mind. Try scenting the water with lavender, for its calming effects. Reading before going to bed can aide in the unwinding process, as well. However, it is better to sit in a comfortable chair whilst doing so, than to sit up in bed. Your bed should not be used as a chair, as that can lead to back pain.

Make sure your blank journal and writing utensil are within arm's reach of your bed. You'll want them both easily accessible when you wake. When you climb into bed, try a simple breathing exercise to further relax you. Breathing deeply and evenly, imagining the air filling your body from toes to the top of your head, is a common exercise used in meditative practices.

As cliché as it may seem, counting objects-such as sheep-really does help lull you to sleep. Repetitive counting, such as counting up to one hundred (or higher if need be) can help you drift off without allowing stressful or worrying thoughts to clutter your mind. You will fall asleep more gracefully, and without tension.

If you wish to remember your dreams, the first thing you should do upon waking is reach for your journal, and write down everything you recall while it is fresh in your mind. If you do not remember the entire dream, write what you do remember. Don't worry if it's stream-of-consciousness, even if you just list important objects, people, places or feelings, it will help you understand what your unconscious experiences in the world of dreams.