Have you ever screamed out of nowhere while asleep? Perhaps, your heart was racing, and you were sweating; a distressing dream visited you. Nightmares are something we all have experienced from time to time. But, some things can contribute to persistent bad dreams. So, what are these nightmares?
Nightmares are unsettling dreams led by feelings of fear and anxiety that awakens you from sleep and causes abnormal behaviors, movements, perceptions, and emotions. They come while you are asleep or about to fall asleep or wake up. Nightmares are common in kids, but adults are no exception. If these visit occasionally, one need not worry, but if it becomes a regular feature disrupting the regular day, it needs to be fixed.
Let's unveil "how to stop nightmares." Mentioned below are some of the fixes to stop nightmares:
Establish A Sleep Routine
Maintaining a sleep schedule regularly for seven days of the week is the key to getting the needed shuteye and staving off the nightmare disorder. Insomnia and sleep deprivation are known to be in direct relationship with an increased risk of nightmares. So, go to bed and wake up in time to catch the eight-hour sleep.
Cut Back On Alcohol
Alcoholic beverages are known for inducing awakenings and restlessness the entire night and lays the foundation for having a nightmare. People often use alcohol to wind down and get sleep after a long tiring day, but things are the other way round. Alcohol will disrupt sleep completely. It is recommended to use herbal tea for a conducive sleep. If drinking is just a part of a relaxing activity schedule, consider replacing it with spending time with family. And even if you need to drink alcoholic beverages, drink them at least 3 hours before bedtime.
Don't Eat Before Bed
Nightmares are known to be caused by a significant drop in the person's blood sugar level while sleeping. Also, snacking too close to bedtime can lead to indigestion, impacting metabolism and, in turn, scary dreams. Any kind of junk or spicy food before bed will lead to nightmares. Thus passing on the hot sauce and some delicious dessert at night can be an excellent nightmare treatment.
Review Your Medications
Anxiety and depression are said to be a trigger for nightmares, and so are some of the drugs that are often prescribed to treat such conditions. For instance, SSRIs (selective serotonin response inhibitors) are known for intensifying dreams. Also, the medication for treating blood pressure is often tagged for leading to nighttime distress for the patients. It is best to consult your doctor for alternative medicines or dose adjustments to sleep peacefully to stop nightmares.
Practice Stress-Relieving Activities
A calm mind and body have an easier time falling and staying asleep. This condition can be attained by practicing some stress-relieving activities. One such technique is circular breathing, where you imagine the breath traveling through the right nostril and released out of the left and vice-versa. This needs to be performed back and forth as in a circle. If you are concerned about how to stop having nightmares, particularly for kids, having a new stuffed toy, particularly an animal, can make the child feel safe, thus relieving the stress and preventing the nightmares.
Journal Your Worries
As mentioned above, stress, depression, and anxiety are known to be the causing agents of nightmares. If you are considering ways and means for "how to get rid of nightmares," one trick would be to carve out the time to experience the negative thoughts, instances, and emotions. It is best to journal and problem-solve those thoughts and emotions.
Don't Watch or Read Scary Content Before Bed
It seems obvious that a scary movie or ghost storybook just before bed can lead to nightmares. The best nightmare medication in such a case is to take a break or simply pause the scary movie or book for at least one hour before going to bed and continue with the content the next day. This way, you can enjoy the thrill of the scary content and also prevent yourself from having a bad sleep full of nightmares.
Rewrite the Ending
It is difficult to remember the nightmares even when an individual reacts physically or emotionally to them. But, if you can recall the bad dream, try rewriting the nightmares. Image rehearsal therapy is often the best answer to how to deal with nightmares. In this therapy, the bad dreams are recast into a happier and merrier instance. This peaceful script gives solace to the individual.
Use a White Noise Machine
A good sleep routine is all about having silence while you sleep. The background noise strategy works well for individuals who either don't appreciate the complete silence or are even awakened by the slightest noise, which they can't control during the nighttime. A white noise machine or a fan may be used to help the brain adapt.
Check Up On Your Mental Health
If none of the above-mentioned strategies works favorably after weeks of implementation and the nightmares continue to rob the quality sleep time and interfere with the normal routine, then cognitive behavioral therapy may be recommended by caregivers. In a few sessions, one can learn techniques that help turn things dramatically, and the individual feels strong. The anxiety gets resolved, and one can sleep peacefully. This way, the anxiety issues get settled, and checking on mental health thus seems to be a positive decision rather than a social stigma.
Nightmares not only disturb the sleep cycle but also rattle the individual completely. Things turn worse when the individual is frequently woken up by a bad dream causing major stress. The cause of a nightmare can be anything ranging from medicines, anxiety, alcohol, and fever to a lack of sleep or some stress. The above-mentioned are some of the actual ways to turn off the bad dreams and gain that relaxing sleep.