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How to Stop Nightmares and Get A More Restful Sleep!

How to Stop Nightmares and Get A More Restful Sleep!

Have you ever experienced a bad dream so horrifying that your heart was pounding when you woke up? Perhaps this is a regular occurrence for you, and you’ve started to dread going to bed?

Nightmares can ruin your sleep and leave you feeling exhausted during the day, but fortunately there are steps you can take to get a better night’s rest.

Nightmares are more common in young children, but can affect anyone. They are not harmful, but can result in fatigue if they continue every night or most nights over a long period of time.

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Understand the science behind nightmares, as this may make them less frightening.

When we sleep, we progress through several stages throughout the night. You can think of sleep as occurring in waves or cycles, with each lasting between 90 and 110 minutes. This is further subdivided into five stages, known as Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4, and REM sleep. It is in this final stage that dreams and nightmares occur. Scientists are not sure exactly why we dream or precisely how the brain generates this strange experience. One theory is that during REM sleep, the brain may be attempting to form a coherent “story” from fragments of knowledge and memories it previously stored away. Around half of adults will have nightmares occasionally.

So what causes nightmares? According to the [1], the following may trigger nightmares in adults:

1. Stress and Trauma

It is common for those with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions to experience nightmares. For example, an individual with anxiety disorder may have dreams in which they feel overwhelmed and as though they are facing a danger beyond their control. People who have experienced trauma may also have nightmares in which they relive the incident.

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2. The Undergoing Medication

Some medications affect sleeping patterns, which may trigger nightmares. For example, some anticonvulsants medicines used in the treatment of epilepsy) can result in especially vivid dreams.

3. You Health Conditions

Migraine, restless leg syndrome and sleep apnoea can all cause bad dreams as a result of changes to the sleep-wake cycle.

So if you suffer from nightmares, how can you treat them and enjoy a better night’s sleep? The following steps [2]

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Implement Good Sleep Hygiene

Give yourself the chance to relax before bed. A calm mind is less likely to generate nightmares. Turn off your phone and other electronic devices at least an hour before trying to sleep. Keep your room cool and dark and get into the habit of going to bed and waking up at a reasonable hour. A warm bath or lighthearted book before you turn out the lights may also help.

How about fixing the root cause? Address Stress At The Source maybe?

Since stress and trauma are common causes of nightmares, you need to address these underlying issues in order to solve the problem. It may be a good idea to see a trained counsellor or psychologist if you find that you are plagued by negative thoughts and worries on a regular basis.

Maybe you are having other health problems! Treat Them!

If you know you could do more to manage your health conditions, start taking a more proactive stance! Always comply with the treatment prescribed by your doctor, and work on improving your overall health. For example, restless leg syndrome can result in poor quality sleep and nightmares, but can sometimes be alleviated using exercise and medication.

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Consult Your Doctor About Changing Medication

If you have started experiencing regular nightmares since beginning a new medication or increasing your dose, consult with your doctor. They may reassure you that the nightmares will settle in time, in which case you will simply have to wait a few days or weeks for your body to adjust. However, they may also recommend taking your medicine at a different time of day. For example, taking it in the morning rather than at night may improve your quality of sleep. Your doctor may also be able to prescribe an additional drug to help you sleep more soundly.

Healthy and low stress lifestyle is the best prevent for nightmares!

It is unreasonable to hope that you will never experience another nightmare again. However, you can prevent them from becoming a regular occurrence by doing all you can to live a healthy, low-stress lifestyle. Ensure that you eat a balanced diet, take regular exercise, and maintain a strict routine that promotes good sleep hygiene. You can prevent stress from building up by taking a regular inventory of your overall lifestyle. For instance, if you realize that your job is causing you a great deal of worry even outside working hours, you need to start looking at ways to better cope with the demands placed upon you. If you find yourself often arguing with family members or friends, you may need to work on your communication skills. Striving to lead a less stressful life will benefit you in many ways that go far beyond your sleep patterns.

Reference

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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