Even frequent Disney visitors can have bad dreams sometimes, and if you’ve been having nightmares lately, there’s an unexpected resource for you! Tom Holland, the sprightly Englishman who plays Peter Parker and Spider-man (as well as Nathan Drake in the adventurous ‘Uncharted‘ movie) has plenty of advice to give on the matter! In a recent interview with GQ, the cheerful English actor shared that he’s actually “a terrible sleeper; a sleepwalker; a sleep undresser, even”. “Four out of 10 sleeps I wake up completely naked,” he said in the interview. His “trick for dealing with nightmares” or restless sleep? Cognitive dreaming!
Cognitive dreaming, or lucid dreaming, allows the dreamer to not only consciously recognize that they’re in a dream but also change what’s happening in said dream. This is typically a skill acquired over time, although it does come more naturally to some people than others, and Tom admitted that it took him lots of practice to develop the skill. Want the how-to from him? Read on!
“Okay, so I’ll tell you how you do it,” Tom explained to GQ. “Essentially, when you’re asleep, your brain is working way faster than it is when it’s awake. Jon Watts [the director on three Spider-Man movies] told me this, and it has worked. If you’re in a dream and you read something, say, a stop sign, and you turn around, when you look back at the stop sign it will have changed. So what you do is—and this is where it sounds stupid—you set an alarm for every hour of the day when you’re awake. When the alarm goes off, you read something…You turn away, you look back at it. [If it says the same thing,] Okay, I’m not dreaming. What happens is when you do it for a long time, you start to do that in your sleep. Sometimes, if I’m having a really bad dream, I’ll look at a sign and go, ‘Oh, I’m dreaming.’ And then you have free rein to do whatever you want.”
Now Tom is a lucid dreamer who can do whatever he wants in his dreams! “The last time it happened to me, I was flying around the Golden Gate Bridge,” he remembered. “It was awesome.”
Dreams can often be very revealing, with several layers of meaning, and one of Tom’s recent recurring dreams that many fans will be interested in is the following: he has a child with a woman. “After, I thought… I kind of miss my little girl now,” Holland reminisced. “I’d be very content with just being a stay-at-home dad, and producing a film here and there”. Fans of Tom’s longtime romance with his ‘Spider-man’ co-star Zendaya, an actress who has a long history with Disney, will find that news very interesting!
Unfortunately, Tom’s anxieties at night have no doubt been increased by the photos that the paparazzi took of him kissing Zendaya. The couple has avoided confirming their relationship for years, so the photos went viral.
“One of the downsides of our fame is that privacy isn’t really in our control anymore, and a moment that you think is between two people that love each other very much is now a moment that is shared with the entire world,” Holland said to GQ. “I’ve always been really adamant to keep my private life private, because I share so much of my life with the world anyway…We sort of felt robbed of our privacy. I don’t think it’s about not being ready [to talk about our relationship publicly]. It’s just that we didn’t want to. [And] it’s not a conversation that I can have without her. You know, I respect her too much to say… This isn’t my story. It’s our story. And we’ll talk about what it is when we’re ready to talk about it together.”
Zendaya also was upset by the illicit pictures taken of her with Tom. “It was quite strange and weird and confusing and invasive. The equal sentiment [we both share] is just that when you really love and care about somebody, some moments or things, you wish were your own.… I think loving someone is a sacred thing and a special thing and something that you want to deal with and go through and experience and enjoy amongst the two people that love each other.”
Although fans’ intense focus on the romance between Tom and Zendaya may serve as an emotional challenge for both of them, it sounds like Tom’s ability to control his dreams is very helpful when it comes to nipping nightmares in the bud–and now you can try it, too!