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boston16's avatar

How do you prevent nightmares?

Asked by boston16 (15points) November 21st, 2010

I’ve been having a lot of nightmares recently. I try to fall asleep watching a funny movie or cartoon, or listening to soothing music, or reading a book before I get tired, but no matter what I’ve been having really intense nightmares. It’s getting to the point where I’m afraid to fall asleep because I don’t want to have a nightmare. Is there any way I can prevent them?

For the record, my daily life is not very stress-inducing so I don’t see this as some sort of manifestation of stress and anxiety, but the idea of having nightmares every night is quite stressful when bedtime comes.

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22 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Are you taking any medication? How long has this been going on? Is there a recurring theme in these nightmares? What time are you eating dinner, and what time are you going to bed?

iScizoX2's avatar

this happened too me once.. i told my mother about this and she said there could be many reasons, an event that scared you, a scary movie, something most likely you don’t like. are you thinking about scary unhappy things when your about too sleep? if so, do the opposite think of good things that happened today or the other day, there are so many happy things in the world that happy and colourful =), my mom told me too do this, this is one of her methods.and eventually it worked..hope this helped you.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it does have to do with what is going on in your life, especially if they are reoccurring nightmares, meaning they are very similar in nature, or even the same dream again and again. Can you tell us a little about the nightmares, maybe we can help you figure it out.

I get nightmares when I have bad experiences at the doctors office. Violent, terrifying dreams. If they don’t let up after several weeks, the only thing that helps is going to therapy and talking it through. But, usually they do go away in a few weeks.

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Soubresaut's avatar

I do two things:
I have a dream catcher : ) but hey, I’m just superstitious about it. I still have one from when I was little, that I used to go to sleep imagining would take away the bad dreams; I think just thinking that helped my subconscience go easier on me.
– Also, .. and maybe more helpful ..—it’s especially true for when I’ve been having a dream/theme of dreams for a while—when I realize I’m dreaming, I take conscious control over the dream. I still remember a horrible dream I had, and it kept replaying over and over again everytime I went back to sleep. I finally decided to take control over it, made a happy ending, and it never came back. (I like my subconscious, it’s just sometimes too much to handle)

Maybe try to write them down? Since we do this with conscious thoughts to get them out of our head, maybe a dream diary would help? (As long as you don’t re-read the dreams too much or before you’re about to go to sleep…)

I agree with @JLeslie: they’ve probably got something to do with your daily life, especially since they keep reccuring, even if not super obvious.

If you wake up from one of your nightmares, don’t go right back to sleep even if it’s the middle of the night. Turn on a light, walk around, maybe drink some (decaf) tea or hot chocolate. Try to clear your mind. (If you want, see if you can figure out what you were thinking in the dream, what’s on your subconscious?) But try to get a fresh state of mind before you slip back into sleep.

Good luck!

wundayatta's avatar

I think that they can also be a sign of brain chemistry problems. It is good to be able to take control of them. There are other techniques that can be used with these kinds of dreams. Learning how to just let the thoughts go. Being interested, but not attached to them. Then you don’t get emotionally involved and don’t take things personally and they lose their power.

kfmarani's avatar

Try changing your diet and see if that affects your dreams…Maybe some Chamomile tea before bed and a multivitamin, just to make sure you are relaxed and in a good state, and your body and brain has all the nourishment it needs. Also try writing things down that are troubling you. I find I always get nightmares because my brain is trying to make me face the situation I do not want to think about. It is possible to interpret your dreams, and can be very helpful. You probably aren’t having these dreams for no reason. So vent whats troubling you on paper and check out a book about interpreting your dreams. It’s definitely worth your while.

YARNLADY's avatar

You might ask your doctor about hypnosis.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

When I was little I had this bad dream about Freddy Krugar over and over again and my grandma told me to put a pocket bible under my pillow and I did and I never had that dream again. I have no idea how that worked it might’ve been all in my mind but I was greatful.

Scarlett's avatar

If you have any negative or things bothering you in your life lately ?

For example when I was in an abusive relationship, I had nightmares constantly about him.

Sometimes nightmares can come and then just go, but if they keep on happening, try to find a link.

flutherother's avatar

I am sure the dreams result from something that is happening or has happened in your waking life. Are the nightmares the same night after night? The secret is to find the reason for the bad dreams. If you can do this I think the nightmares will lose their intensity and perhaps disappear completely.

Take a sheet of paper and write down everything that is happening just now in your life including how you feel about your life, what you want and what scares you. On another sheet of paper write down the details of your dream. Leave it for a day or two and then read over what you have written to see if there is any correspondence between the dream and your life.

Better still show what you have written to someone you know and trust. Sometimes other people have more insight into these things than we do ourselves. It is not uncommon for people to be troubled by nightmares.

LostInParadise's avatar

Not to get overly Freudian, but maybe these dreams are trying to tell you something. Perhaps there is something bothering you that you are suppressing. Do the dreams have a common theme? The more you try to resist them, the more persistent they will be. Try to accept them and think them through.

Summum's avatar

I went through this when I was a young man and it was a hard time in my life. I would think you have something in your subconscious that is trying to come out or trying to solve some dilemma that is still bothering you. As others have said try to write down the dream and anything you can think of even if it seems trivial. If it is too intense then maybe a councilor would be good to get you through whatever it is that is within you. Good Luck. My dreams quit when a few things in my life came to a conclusion.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

@boston16 what kind of nightmares do you have.

cheebdragon's avatar

Nightmares about random insignificant things? Or about a traumatic event in your past?

Your fear of having them is most likely the reason for having them so often, you need to deal with your fear first. Try to remember that no matter how horrible the dreams are, they can’t physically hurt you.

helkie's avatar

Ever since I’ve been using a dream catcher I haven’t had any nightmares.

Berserker's avatar

Here’s some tricks that work for me, and also helps to keep nocturnal paralysis at bay.

First off, don’t eat at least two hours before bed. You’ll be digesting as you sleep, and this will disturb the brain in its sleep phases, which can cause nightmares. The same can be said of significant noises around you as you sleep. A TV, a radio, loud neighbours. You brain registers these sounds as you sleep and this may hamper its progress. That usually leads to fatigue in the morning since the brain has not been well rested, but it’s known to cause nightmares, too. Lack of sleep and sleep deprivation also cause an increase in bad dreams.

As for the next, I have no idea why, but falling asleep on your back increases the chance of nightmares. (Or the triggering of certain sleep disorders one may be prone to.)
So, if possible, try to prevent yourself from falling asleep on your back.

Of course, if you’ve been seriously traumatized or stressed out lately, it’s a little different. :/

Lorenita's avatar

Do not heavily eat before going to bed, it causes terrible nightmares, also anti depressants cause nightmares, really vivid ones.

gm_pansa's avatar

don’t go to sleep

daytonamisticrip's avatar

@gm_pansa Then he/she would just have the nightmares during the day while he/she is awake. Then he/she will be in line at dunkin donuts and see a giant donut with mammoth teeth chasing him/her and he/she will start screaming and then be put in an mental institute! Then how helpful would that be!?

Sydneyjnoe's avatar

Hmm When I Have Nightmares I Like To Think of My Amazing Boyfriend. Watch A Funny Tv Show Or Go Wash My Face In The Bathroom To Clear My Head.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Confront your fears.
Also program your sleep by telling yourself everynight that you will have a peacefull restfull sleep experience.

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