Know how to stop bad dreams from disrupting your sleep

Is a monster chasing you? Do you show up to exams unprepared? Are you lost in the wilderness? Do you see a loved one getting hurt? Everyone has nightmares and we always remember them! It’s amazing how our minds can repeat nightmares, leading to persistent discomfort and worry. Some nightmares are so disturbing that you may not want to close your eyes. You may wake up with your heart pounding and find it difficult to get back to sleep. And then you might be wondering how to stop bad dreams.

Why do we get bad dreams?

Well, it remains a mystery regarding dreams and nightmares. According to folklore, it’s a bridge that connects your subconscious to the world beyond. These can also indicate your state of mind.

Even if you can’t stop nightmares, there are a few steps you can take to reduce their occurrence. Here is how you can try to stop or reduce bad dreams

1. Mental health check:

Anxiety and stress are the biggest contributors to nightmares. The messier your mind, the messier your nightmare. Depression, bipolar disorder, and all the mental health issues that come with them sear your brain. Knowing your triggers will help you respond better to anxiety and stress.

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stress and nightmare
Stress can increase the risk of nightmares. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Traumatic experiences:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder causes nightmares. Unfortunately, many people have had traumatic experiences. Surviving violence, natural disasters, the death of a loved one, the breakup of a relationship, and more are hallmarks of PTSD.

If you have PTSD, it’s time to seek help because it won’t go away on its own. And even if you think you’re fine with it, it will continue to affect your quality of life.

3. Check your content consumption:

What is your content consumption before bed? Watching horror movies or reading scary content will cause nightmares. If you feel this is triggering you, filter the content you consume before bed.

4. Practice journaling

Your real worries will turn out to be nightmares. Writing it down will help you in two ways. It allows you to look at your concerns objectively in writing. And it’s a way for you to get it off your chest. The worries and tensions won’t go away, but they will help you.

5. Indulge in Stress-Reducing Activities:

Take a warm, relaxing bath or shower 90 minutes before bed. This is a natural remedy to avoid nightmares. It causes your core body temperature to drop, signaling your body that it’s time to sleep. Also do calming exercises like meditation, mindful breathing, or stillness of thought.

Also Read: Bad Dreams May Signal Onset of Parkinson’s Disease, Study Claims

Practice activities that calm the mind. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Check Your Medication:

Certain drugs trigger nightmares because they affect neurotransmitters. These include antidepressants and barbiturates, which affect sleep. If your nightmares started after this procedure, talk to your doctor.

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7. No drinking or eating before bed:

Eating or snacking boosts your metabolism and causes your brain to be more active rather than relaxed. An active mind can lead to nightmares. So watch what you eat before you go to bed.

Alcohol causes restlessness and insomnia. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not relax you. In the long run, it’s just the opposite.

8. Sleep Routine:

Establishing a healthy sleep routine is essential. Establishing ideal sleeping and waking times is the first step. Ensuring your room is quiet, dark and cool will help you sleep peacefully. And if it’s causing interference, check for noise.

9. Look for distractions:

Smartphone addiction is at an all-time high. We depend on 24/7 news and views without realizing how the ongoing noise fire is affecting our quality of life. Make a rule: no smartphone, no laptop and no TV before bed. By cutting down on those distractions before bed, you allow your body to relax.

screen time at night
Reduce your screen time. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The last word

Nightmares are normal, even though they are terrifying. However, keep an eye out for a constant theme in your nightmares. Analyzing these issues gives you insight into your subconscious; it is always influenced by reality. And while we cannot let our nightmares dictate us, being aware of them will lead us to take corrective action in our lives.

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