Going to sleep is a struggle for me. Not only does my mind have difficulty settling down, I also deal with nightmares. Recently I have begun a medicine to help with these terrifying dreams. Since then, my nights have been better. Still, overwhelming darkness creeps into many of my dreams.
However, there is hope if you struggle with this as well. Although it might seem point less, relief from nightmares is possible. Will they still occur? Yes, but there are practical way to combat these frightening images. I am going to share ten tips that I have used of the years to help me. Hopefully you will find several that might work for you.
- Rewrite them. Write down what happened in your dream and then reconstruct it. Confront the person chasing you, save the child who dies, get dressed before going outside – the possibilities are endless. Now you have control of the happenings in your dreams.
- Talk through them with someone you trust. Tell all of the gory or embarrassing details. Sometimes being honest and getting the fear out helps more than anything else.
- Do art about your dreams. Depict what frightened you in them. Then you can choose to confront it (like you did rewriting your dream) or learn more about it. Sometimes putting your nightmares on paper might be too overwhelming. If so, depict yourself in the dream. How did you look and feel? Then think about how you wish you looked and felt in the dream world.
- Reach out to those in your dream. Now, this might sound really awkward and strange. After all, most people would not understand if you contact them and say that you fear for their safety because of a dream. However, you do not need to say that unless you feel it is necessary. Instead, just talk and check up. Hearing their voice might help you to calm down.
- Put it in a box or on the shelf. Yes, that is right. Put your nightmare away. Imagine doing so and forcing it to stay there. Do not let it out no matter how much it bothers youth until you feel ready.
- Explore them in therapy. Tell your therapist about your dreams and then talk about their possible meanings. Perhaps you can find a common theme or fear in them. This might help you to combat that in real life.
- Do reality checks. Often, I have to remember what is real and what was in my dream. This might sound silly but it can be terrifying. So I regularly will ask others if an event happened. Sometimes I feel stupid but it is better than wondering and worrying all day.
- Lie in bed and daydream for a few minutes before getting up. Imagine a dreams that you wish for or good moments from the past. This can help you to have positive thoughts starting the day instead of negative ones.
- Pray or meditate before sleep or after waking up. This can help you to calm down and relax. Plus, you fall asleep thinking of something beautiful instead of worries of the day.
- Remember that you are not your dream self. Often I get upset because of the deeds that I do in my dreams. Regularly I have to remind myself that I am me. What happens in a nightmare is not reality. Just because I am an awful person while asleep does not make me evil now.
There are a few ideas. I hope that you will find some of them helpful. They have gotten me through difficult times.