How To Stop Nightmares & Bad Dreams

3 min read

Last Modified 23 June 2021 First Added 29 July 2014

By Laura Barns

If you often suffer from them, you’ll no doubt want to learn how to stop having nightmares. The good news is that there are steps you can take to stop bad dreams. In simple terms, they’re caused by the work of our unconscious minds releasing fears and tensions whilst we are resting. And because they can be disturbing and distressing in one way or another, they sometimes lead to sleeplessness and even nightmares every night. Read on as we explore how to stop having nightmares. But if you’d rather learn about the meanings behind specific bad dreams, head over to our guide on the most common nightmares and their meanings.

How to avoid nightmares:

There are things you can do to try and avoid bad dreams. The first steps we should take when seeking for a cure for nightmares, is to look at what causes them. Here are a few simple ways how to prevent those sleep-depriving nightmares.

Woman after a nightmare

Related: How To Have Nightmares

1. Sleep comfortably and rest easier

Uncomfortable beds or sleeping positions can sometimes contribute to creating nightmares, so it’s important that both your mattress and bed are in good condition. The more comfortable your bed and bedroom are, the more likely you are to enjoy peaceful, nightmare- free sleep. Also, if you are prone to nightmares try not to sleep on your back, as this position has been known to encourage nightmares.

2. Watch what you eat and drink

Eating dinner very close to bedtime can literally feed your nightmares, so try not do it. And cheese for supper is another snack that can cause problems. You should also avoid high-energy drinks, soft drinks, alcohol, coffee or tea, in the evenings. These contain caffeine that will keep you awake long into the night.

Coffee in cup

3. De-stress and relax your mind

Leave the stress outside the bedroom. Doing a sporting activity two or three times a week will help to release any tension that you could be carrying home. And if you’re not the sporty type, have a little walk outside in the evening to help clear your mind. Reading a good book is another option that can help you unwind and de-stress, but for obvious reasons avoid horror stories, thrillers and anything else that will stimulate your imagination and could lead to bad dreams.

Read more: Sleep Relaxation Techniques to Beat the Monday Blues

4. Keep to a routine

Being over tired can lead to nightmares so try and restrict your late nights to the weekends and treat yourself to an early night every now and again. If you aim for a regular sleep pattern and hit the sack every night at the same time, this too could greatly reduce the occurrence of nightmares.

5. Something smells nice

Keep fresh flowers in your bedroom, or sprinkle some aromatic oils like lavender on your pillow. Research has shown that pleasant fragrances can have a positive effect on your dreams and maybe keep the nightmares at bay.

lavender bedding

6. Talk through the problem

Another way to avoid nightmares is to confront them. Whether it’s a work related scenario or a memory that goes back to your childhood, talking through your bad dreams with a friend, partner or relative could reduce anxiety and help you come to terms with what’s disturbing your sleep pattern.

Do you have other tips or ideas on how to get rid of nightmares? If you do, then why not share them with us. Perhaps then we can all sleep more easily at night.

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