How to Navigate Nightmares
You probably still remember the worst nightmare you’ve had as a child. Nightmares are so disturbing that people remember them years after they’ve ended. Whether your nightmare was about monsters or people, it doesn’t change how terrifying they were. The mind can be deeply affected by nightmares in such a way that it can impact our sleep cycle.
Nightmares don’t just happen to little children. Adults can experience nightmares, too, and they are just as terrifying for adults as for small children. These distressing dreams often lead to waking at night and can create anxiety about returning to sleep. Nightmares also impact our moods the next morning, bringing fear and stressful emotions into the waking day. Because nightmares make us groggy and affect our emotions, our work and family life can suffer. Nightmares and the lack of sleep that come with them aggravate mental health concerns that are already present, like depression and anxiety.
Battling Your Nightmares
If nightmares are impacting the sleep of you or your child, these strategies may help:
Curb Your Alcohol and Sleep Medication Intake
Some people use alcohol as a way to calm their nerves, but it’s not the best method to fall asleep. Alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycle and keep you from entering the most restorative part of sleep. Then, the next time you fall asleep without alcohol, the nightmares may be even worse. Sleep medications may also cause nightmares. For this reason, ask your doctor if you should adjust your sleep medication if your nightmares become a problem.
Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule
If you’re having nightmares, you may try to avoid falling asleep to keep from experiencing them. Unfortunately, by avoiding sleep, you may be making your nightmares worse. When you don’t get enough REM sleep (the stage where dreaming occurs), you can experience a rebound effect the next time you sleep. As a result, your next full night’s sleep may be filled with more prolonged and intense nightmares.
Wake Up from Nightmares with a Plan
Don’t let your nightmare go on longer than it needs to. If you don’t wake up entirely from a nightmare, you might fall back right into it when you return to sleep. Instead, set up a routine to make sure you’re fully awake. Get up and drink some water or use the restroom, then you can fall back asleep.
Create an Alternate Ending
Establish power over your nightmare and create an alternate ending. Write down your nightmare, in as much detail as you can remember, and give it an alternate ending that doesn’t end traumatically. Replay this ending in your head over and over, training your brain to follow a different path.
It’s important not to go to bed with an anxious mind. Creating a soothing sleep routine can help keep nightmares away, and CalmiGo can help. CalmiGo incorporates all the senses, activating your nervous system, and creating mind-body relaxation, releasing anxious feelings. Make CalmiGo a part of your nighttime routine, and keep your sleep free from nightmares.