Has your nightly quest for pleasant dreams been hijacked by nightmares? Are you starting to dread the nighttime because of the horrors it might bring? There are steps you can take to encourage happy dreams and reclaim your peace of mind. It’s time to have good dreams again! Here are some suggestions to put into practice:
- Stress. Stress is one of the most common causes of sleeping disorders in America, whether we’re talking about nightmares or insomnia. In order to have fewer nightmares, your first step should be to meditate and relieve stress before bedtime.
- Making a list of things to remember. Do you feel like there are so many things to try to remember for the next day? Instead of juggling these looming considerations in your head all night, make a list of them and then rest, confident that you won’t forget anything. This is one of the best sleep tips to help empty your brain of all thoughts.
- Hot bath about an hour before bedtime. A nice, leisurely bath might be just the recipe for relaxation and the most soothing of all sleep remedies. Add some aromatherapy products whose gentle fragrances will linger even after you’re in bed. The body heat and relaxing smells will help you achieve happier dreams.
- Soothing music. Instead of listening to the soundtrack of a Stephen King film, maybe you should try some music that brings peace of mind before bedtime. Or you could even purchase a collection of soothing sounds from nature (like waves crashing on a beach or waterfalls in a forest) designed to accompany your sleep – you might have laughed at these recordings in the past, but they do help people avoid nightmares.
- Meditation. Learn meditation techniques by enrolling in classes or researching meditation online. Thousands of years of human practice of natural sleep remedies can’t be wrong.
- Think about what your dreams might mean. One way to view dreams is as attempts of your subconscious to communicate with your conscious brain. Take some time to reflect upon the symbolism and trajectory of your dreams. Don’t just stop at the negative feelings – explore them deeper. Possibly your nightmares will end if you get the message behind them. But other times, it’s extremely difficult to arrive at any semblance of meaning (see Therapy below).
- Eating habits. The trials of digestion can cause nightmares too. Eating earlier in the evening is not only a good habit to maintain good body weight and health, but it’s also good for your dreams. As an extra bit of advice on how to sleep well, reserve the spicy, greasy and gas-causing meals for breakfast and lunch rather than dinner (the accumulation of gas and acid can translate into nightmares when the lights are off).
- Exposure to horror before bedtime. If you’re watching people rip each other to shreds (whether in a movie, on the news or in a video game) right before bed, is it any wonder that some of the residue of these terrible visions could creep into your dreams?
- Drugs and alcohol. Nicotine, alcohol and illegal recreational drugs can potentially cause nightmares. But some prescription medications can do this as well. Talk to your doctor if you suspect that a prescribed drug is giving you nightmares. Additionally, even if you think that certain drugs actually prevent you from having nightmares, you shouldn’t rely on them because these substances actually lessen the quality of your sleep in general. You must find ways to achieve satisfying and happy sleep without the aid of drugs.
- Therapy. If your nightmares persist despite concerted efforts described above, see a therapist and learn more about this problem. Though this requires a monetary investment, therapy can help you confront the deeper psychological roots of your nightmares in ways that are often extremely difficult for a person to do alone.
Night after night of terrifying dreams can make you feel powerless, but don’t succumb to that illusion. By making these small adjustments to your nightly routine, you do have the power to get rid of your nightmares. Sleep well!