By Damilola Faustino
There is nothing wrong with saying a movie will give you nightmares. But until you’ve actually been woken up at night in a cold sweat more than a handful of times, you won’t know how stressful the threat of bad dreams actually is. Figuring out how to stop nightmares can seem pointless, but luckily there are a few tips and tricks you can use to keep them at bay:
Make sure they aren’t being caused by an underlying problem
If you are being treated for a mental health condition, it’s important to tell your doctor or therapist if you’re having troublesome nightmares, too. Mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), general anxiety disorder, and substance abuse can all contribute to the frequency and intensity of nightmares.
This is another example of why you should talk to your healthcare provider about all symptoms, not just the obvious ones. It’s possible that your nightmares could be a treatable side effect associated with a prescription medicine you’re on. Certain prescriptions, such as anti-depressants and heart medications, can sometimes cause nightmares as a side effect.
Try not to eat before bed
This is annoying since night snacks taste so great, but cutting down on eating too close to bedtime might actually really help with your nightmares. If you go to bed with a full stomach, it can lead to nightmares. This is because the extra food boosts the metabolism and body temperature as the body begins digesting it.
Reduce alcohol intake
Basically, if you want a break from some of your most stressful nights, a break from alcohol is probably a good idea. Most dreaming occurs during REM (A period of sleep during which dreaming takes place) sleep. Alcohol can suppress REM throughout most of the night,. Towards the end of the night when the alcohol has been processed in your body, your brain will naturally try to catch up on REM. This causes your brain to engage in almost a REM marathon, which can result in some wild, scary alcohol-induced dreams.
Get enough sleep
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a number of ill mental and physical health effects. It can also cause nightmares. Like most issues with sleep, the relationship is troublesome. Sleep deprivation can cause nightmares, which can then lead to less sleep.
Keep regular bedtime and wake-up times
Steady bedtimes and wake up times are good for you. It might mess with your weekend plans, but it might make let the dreams go away. Anything that disrupts the normal rhythm of sleep has the ability to cause everything from insomnia to sleepwalking to nightmares.
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