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Nightmares are not just common among children but adults too. In fact, between 2% and 8% of adults experience nightmares regularly. Nightmares are traumatizing dreams that rattle a person out of their deep sleep. Nightmare disorders cause disrupted sleep and distress, leading to poor sleep quality. Nightmares generally set a person to experience a pounding heart from fear. It occurs during the rapid-eye-movement (REM) phase when dreaming takes place. The REM phase tends to continue for prolonged periods, and the sleeper usually undergoes nightmares during the early morning hours. The answer to the question of how to stop nightmares has been illustrated in the following sections.
The first step in getting rid of nightmares is establishing a calming and comforting sleep routine. As we have already learned that nightmares majorly occur during the REM phase, one of the most effective solutions on how to stop having nightmares is fixing a nighttime routine that includes regular exercising, setting strict sleeping and waking times, ensuring that the room is dark and breezy, averting stimulating beverages post-mid-afternoon, and lastly indulging in comforting activities. Reading books, solving puzzles, and taking a warm bubble bath right before bed are some ways of nightmare treatment.
Are you a regular drinker post your working hours? If yes, then a mandatory requirement of how to stop nightmares is cutting back on alcohol. Alcohol is responsible for all those distressing nightmares you often experience, leading to restlessness and awakenings during midnight. Most people consume alcohol to dial down their distress, but it might not be the right solution. Instead, sipping on herbal teas and similar beverages might also be benign for your health and mind.
For people who are glued to drinking after work or right before dozing off, start chatting with your partner, reading a book, listening to your favorite music, or taking a walk.
How to deal with nightmares troubling your regular sleep cycle? Check if you have been taking new or if there has been a change in the medicines you’re taking, and reassure if the nightmares started or increased post that consumption. If you feel it has, it is time to stop nightmares by talking to your doctor. You can consider discussing with a sleep specialist about the melatonin intake that is directly related to our circadian rhythm, which further regulates our REM sleep.
For someone who likes snacking before bedtime and experiencing nightmares, it is time you cut out on it. One of the solutions to stop nightmares is to pause eating before bed. Snacking leads to a spike in metabolism, which is probably the last thing you want right when planning to have a good night’s sleep. Since your brain becomes active, it leads to nightmares.
In order to know how to prevent nightmares leading to sleepless nights, stop eating two to three hours before you doze off. In fact, try shifting towards lighter dinners and nighttime snacking altogether.
How to stop nightmares that are causing stress? It has been a comforting method to start practicing stress-management techniques like tensing muscles when you inhale and relaxing them as you exhale. If something is troubling you, talk about it to one of your family members, or friends. If not them, a therapist is always there to help you out. Alongside, start practicing simple deep-breathing exercises, yoga, or walking.
Journaling is one of the solutions to how to stop nightmares. You can journal down all the thoughts troubling your mind and let them out through writing. In addition, you can write down your problems to get a clear view of the situation and find better solutions.
Our nighttime content or observations appears in our sleep, and if you watch something scary or traumatizing just before sleep, it might be the reason behind nightmares. Therefore, one constructive way to stop nightmares is watching emotional and positive visuals or content before you sleep. This is quite a requirement, especially during times of pandemic when almost every day we watch depressing news on TV or social media. Therefore, reading the news and jumping on the bed to doze off might not be a great decision.
Imagery rehearsal therapy is quite an effective treatment and answer to how to stop nightmares, especially for people suffering from PTSD. This cognitive-behavioral treatment effectively limits the frequencies of nightmares causing distress to the person. This nightmare medication involves writing down the narrative with all the details and rewriting it with positive endings. Start by assuring yourself every day before sleep that whenever that dream reappears, you will make a happy ending.
White noise might be a beneficial choice for people looking for solutions to stop nightmares. A white noise machine might be a good investment for people who cannot stand absolute silence at night or are easily distracted by background noises like dog barks or horn noises. It offers minimal sounds and also blocks distracting sounds.
Your bedroom needs to be the place to relax and spend time with your loved one. Therefore, no stressful activities need to be associated with it. Accessorize it with tranquil lights, soft bedsheets and comforters, bedside lamps, scented candles, and more. This is one of the ways to answer how to stop nightmares.
How to stop nightmares when all the aforementioned ways are futile? It’s time you speak to your therapist or a sleep specialist. Often people suffering from bipolar disorder experience nightmares, and consulting a therapist becomes a necessity. Treating both nightmares and the underlying mental disorder troubling the person is generally recommended. Psychotherapy has been found to work for nightmares and there is no harm in giving it a try. It is short-term and quite accessible as well.
Now that you have gained quite a bit of knowledge about stopping nightmares, it is time to know a bit about getting better sleep.
Nightmares can be really painstaking if gone undiagnosed. If nightmares persist, and you’re concerned about how to stop nightmares, it is time to visit a doctor. You might need to take a physical test and rule out the factors contributing to nightmares, discuss your symptoms, and get your medical history checked as well. Medical treatment, stress management, image rehearsal therapy, and medications are some ways of stopping nightmares.