How to handle nightmares

Did you know, the average human spend around 6 years of their life dreaming…..

Some dreams are so wonderful you find yourself not wanting to wake up from them. They give you that absolutely elated feeling. Perhaps you dreamed about a new puppy, or perhaps you dreamed about travelling the world. Whatever the dream. Makes you feel good doesn’t it?

This isn’t always the case though. Sometimes our minds can be bastards, and send us into an awful spiral into nightmare-ville.

I frequently get nightmares. Some of them are absolutely horrific. Some of them I wake up from and I am drenched from head to toe in sweat, I’m shaking and crying.

I won’t ever forget the time I woke up one morning, I was staying with my mum at the time. I was wearing my pink nightie and I remember going into my mums room in tears. I had dreamed my sister had died.

In the dream, we were on an estate we used to live on. I remember running across the road and grabbing her. She looked awake, and alive but she was crying and in distress. I remember grabbing her by the hands and shaking her to listen to me. She wasn’t responding to me and just kept screaming “It’s not coming back, it’s all gone.” Her eyes were closed and she was so pale. It was at that point I woke up. I’ll never forget that one. Ever. 

I get a recurring nightmare too. To this day I dream it 2 or 3 times a week. I never told anyone about it until very recently. But I think I feel confident telling you.

This one has been coming to me since I was about 15/16 years old. I don’t know from where it came. But it still bothers me. But it’s just a dream.

So, there are 2 versions of the ending or the waking up point of this dream. In it, I am pregnant. In one, I go through the whole pregnancy with no issues and when it comes to birth, the baby is stillborn. The other version, I’m pregnant, no issues and mis-carry around half way through the pregnancy. The strange thing? The baby is ALWAYS a boy.

I appreciate this is a sensitive subject for some people. I do not wish to cause any offence to anyone. I am simply illustrating my dreams.

When I first started getting that dream, It really bothered me, I would wake up in floods of tears. And I never told anyone about it. These days, I get more of a “not this again” and try and shrug it off. It’s not wise to linger over them. Write them off, and forget. I know that that can be impossible sometimes, because they can be so vivid and feel so real.

Dreams can sometimes be the way your mind copes with the anxieties you have in the waking state. Don’t worry too much, and I would advise against looking up the meanings. Interpret them how you interpret them, they are your dreams.

So, nightmares. How do you deal with them?

If you get to a point where you just can’t shake them off, it might be wise to consult a doctor, as there could be an underlying cause. Mine have eased since I started taking my meds. But then again I don’t tend to get as good quality sleep as I have done in the past.

What can you do?

  • Try and write all the things that bother you down before sleep, this might help empty your mind of negative thoughts and might keep the nightmares at bay.
  • Avoid watching scary movies before bed.
  • Get up and go to sleep at the same time every day.
  • Relax and de-stress, have a hot bath or try yoga or meditation.
  • Talk about it to a trusted family member or friend.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

There isn’t a one size fits all solution. Every individual is different. The main thing is coping, and if that means asking for help. Don’t be afraid to do exactly that. I did, and though my sleep quality isn’t great, the distressing nightmares have decreased even if only slightly.

Soph x


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