How nightmares affect insomnia

There are people who daydream, others who dream while asleep, and some who suffer from nightmares. Having nightmares at night can become a cause of insomnia if those unpleasant dreams occur regularly. Recurring nightmares can destabilize our emotional balance, increase anxiety and fear of sleep. What can we do so that nightmares do not affect insomnia?

Nightmares and insomnia

  • There is a close relationship between nightmares and insomnia. Nightmares, like the rest of the dreams, occur during the REM sleep phase and if they affect us more than other types of dreams, it is because they generally wake us up with screams, heavy breathing, sweating and real terror. Waking up in the middle of the night is still another feature of insomnia.
  • What happens with nightmares is that they can promote chronic insomnia, especially if the nightmares are habitual, with a recurring theme that ends up disturbing us and unbalancing us mentally. The very fear of falling asleep because we do not want to suffer one of these distressing episodes can cause us to delay the time we go to sleep and reduce our quality of sleep.
  • Some of the reasons that favor nightmares are also well-known enemies of sleep, such as stress, anxiety, a traumatic episode, alcohol consumption and some external stimuli, such as noise or cold that we perceive unconsciously. While we sleep and cause a disturbance in our sleep.

How to avoid nightmares

  • Logically, waking up in the middle of the night with anguish is not the most ideal condition to overcome an insomnia disorder and it is evident that they directly affect our quality of sleep. However, can we avoid having nightmares? We are not responsible for our dreams and we hardly have control over them, but there are some habits that we can adopt to somewhat prevent nightmares.
  • Those habits that can help us avoid nightmares are the same ones we need in our anti-insomnia crusade, such as preparing an ideal bedroom, doing relaxation exercises, avoiding alcohol and copious dinners, or isolating ourselves from harmful stimuli, such as television, the computer or the noises. On the contrary, there is little we can do if the nightmares are caused by the intake of any medication.
  • If all else fails and we continue to have nightmares that disrupt our sleep cycle, we can always take it from another perspective. Every dream has its meaning and recurring nightmares can be a warning from our subconscious that we can take advantage of for our well-being. And we have found an old trick that consists of having a pencil and paper on the nightstand, writing down the nightmare as soon as fear awakens us and tearing the paper into pieces to throw it away. Maybe this way, we can keep the nightmares out of our minds.

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