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Dreams space usually associated with happy scenarios, but when they take it a disturbing turn, you’re most likely finding yourself in the center of a nightmare.

You are watching: How to stop having the same nightmare

Sometimes these bad dreams can reason you to wake up in the middle of the night or wake up the next morning v feelings of distress. While having a scary dream on chance isn’t abnormal, some human being may want to prevent the stress and anxiety and an adverse emotions lock generate.

This post will provide you advice on exactly how to stop nightmares while additionally examining what reasons them, what they can mean, and also more.

While at rest, us cycle through different stages<1> that space classified together either REM or Non-REM (NREM) sleep, and also we repeat the full cycle three to four times throughout the night.

Non-rapid eye movement sleep begins first and is damaged up right into three stages of that own: N1, N2, and also N3.

N1 is very short – typically lasting no more than 10 minutes. This phase occurs immediately after girlfriend doze off and is a irradiate sleep in i m sorry you might easily wake up up. during N2, her muscles will certainly relax more, and also you might start slow-wave brain activity. This stage have the right to last because that 30-60 minutes.

REM – or rapid eye motion – complies with NREM and is a deeper sleep. Throughout this time, her eyes will typically flutter, and also breathing may come to be irregular.

Find the end More: The 4 stages of Sleep

What is a Nightmare?

A nightmare<3> is thought about a dream that’s tied come negative, stressful emotions. While they are an ext common in children, adults have the right to experience lock too. Follow to university of Michigan Health, friend do most of your dreaming throughout REM sleep, and also that has nightmares.

Night Terrors

Nighttime terrors are different from dreams. Harvard medical School<4> reports that this form of disturbance is more prevalent in kids than adults. Fairly than scary dreams, this phenomenon is explained as fearful reactions the usually happen while phase N3 the NREM sleep transitions come REM.

Kids might kick or scream, but experts to speak they often tend not to remember law this due to the fact that the terrors don’t happen throughout REM. They include that if nightmares are linked with a certain narrative, night terrors space not brought about by scary thoughts or images.

Read More: 13 advice To lull a Nightmare in Toddlers


What Causes poor Dreams?

Scary desires aren’t always triggered through the exact same thing. Mayo Clinic experts say there are various reasons why we have nightmares.

Stress or Anxiety

Stressful parts of our daily lives, such as work-related or relationships, might prompt a nightmare. Additionally, significant life changes like shedding a love one or moving may reason anxiety the leads to unpleasant dreaming.

Scary Films, Books, or tv Shows

There’s a great reason why parents tell their youngsters not to clock a scary movie prior to bed; these varieties of media could lead to nightmares.

Sleep Loss

According come the mei Clinic, insomnia and also sleep deprivation are connected to an enhanced risk the nightmares.

Certain Medications

Antidepressants, beta-blockers, and medications come treat high blood pressure and Parkinson’s disease are known to provoke bad dreams.


Alcohol and Drugs

Experts warn that the use or tap the money of alcohol or recreational medicine may boost your opportunities of a poor dream.

Mental health and wellness Disorders

Mental health and wellness disorders such as depression or schizophrenia are also considered a possible cause.

Traumatic Experiences

People living through post-traumatic tension disorder (PTSD) room also more vulnerable to nightmares.

How to protect against Nightmares

The good news is there space proactive procedures you can take to assist prevent nightmares. According to the mayo Clinic, these suggestions have the right to be useful for both adults and children.

Establish a calm Bedtime Routine

Having a relaxing bedtime ritual such as drinking organic tea or meditating could aid you avoid having actually nightmares by providing your mental a means to wind down, specifically from negative thoughts.


Have a support System

Whether it’s girlfriend or her child having disturbing dreams, it’s great to have actually someone about to say everything’s okay. For adults, a far-reaching other, friend, or relative might be a good source that support.

Talk around It

Experts imply talking around your bad dream and also reminding you yourself – or your child – it is it’s no real.

Learn More: Why Do human being Dream

Create a Happy Ending

Another alternative is transforming the outcome. Rather of the scary ending that left you emotion frightened, write down one alternative, happy finishing to your bad dream. This might be particularly helpful for kids who might feel more traumatized after ~ a nightmare.

Manage Stress

When you notice your negative dreaming is attached to stressful thoughts and also worries, discover ways to manage those feelings. Methods that incorporate mindful, deep breathing such together yoga and also mediation are popular for coping with stress. You may think about talking through a therapist as well.

Seek Out points That carry out Comfort

Kids could advantage from objects that administer comfort such together a stuffed pet or one-of-a-kind blanket. As an adult, you may not have actually a stuffed animal, however holding a pillow could offer solace. Individuals who sleep v a companion may additionally benefit native cuddling at night, together research shows that physical affection<5> helps release hormones that have the right to improve her mood and help you feel more relaxed.

Night Light

Night lamp are also a popular way to help kids feel reassured during the night.

Talk come a Doctor

In the occasion frequent nightmares are affecting your quality of sleep and overall health, girlfriend should take into consideration discussing the issue with your doctor, that may have the ability to recommend some clinical or mental wellness treatments.


Frequently asked Questions

What perform Nightmares Mean?

There’s lot of of interest in understanding the meaning behind dreams and nightmares.

Some health experts suggest certain nightmare scenarios are a metaphor<6> because that something walking on in ours lives. For example, a recurring nightmare can be indicative the a trouble you still have to confront. An additional example is the being chased through a monster in her dreams can imply you’re to run away native something emotionally in her life.

What Are typical Themes in poor Dreams?

According to psychology researcher Geneviève Robert<7>, usual nightmare themes room death, wellness concerns, and threats. She to add that guys tend to have much more disaster-related scenarios such as floods, earthquakes, and war. However, women’s narratives are generally centered roughly interpersonal conflicts.


Are Nightmares a Disorder?

While negative dreams native time come time are normal, frequent episodes may be reason for concern. Follow to the mayo Clinic, nightmare disorder is taken into consideration a parasomnia. A parasomnia is a kind of sleep disorder that entails unusual or psychic experiences.

Nightmare disorder is diagnosed when the patient’s poor dreams cause far-ranging sleep deprivation. In this case, friend will want to contact your physician, who will likely discuss your symptoms, carry out an exam, and also suggest you experience an overnight sleep study.

Sources and also References:

<1> “Stages that Sleep, University the Michigan Health, October 26, 2020 <2> Priyanka A. Abhang, Suresh C. Mehrotra, “Technological Basics the EEG Recording and also Operation of Apparatus”, 2016 <3> “Nightmare Disorder“, mayo Clinic, June 5, 2021 <4> “Nightmares and also the Brain“,Harvard clinical School, 2015 <5> “Cuddle and also Hug Your method to much better Health“, Intermountain Healthcare, February 12, 2020. <6> Richard J. Corelli MD, “Nightmares”, Stanford University <7> “Study Analyzes content of Nightmares, bad Dreams”, Science everyday
Jill Zwarensteyn
content Writer | + short articles

Jill Zwarensteyn is a content writer for Sleep Advisor and also is enthusiastic around providing helpful and engaging information on all points sleep and also wellness.

Based in Los Angeles, she is an experienced writer and also journalist that enjoys safety her cost-free time in ~ the beach, hiking, reading, or exploring brand-new places about town.

She’s likewise an avid traveler who has actually a personal goal of being able to properly sleep ~ above an plane someday.

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