How to Stop Nightmares

Just about everyone has experienced waking up in a cold sweat from having a nightmare, and waking up from a bad nightmare can throw off the rhythm of your entire day. While nightmares and night terrors are more common in children, adults can experience them at a high frequency as well. You might not have to worry about Freddy Krueger hunting you in your dreams, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t have a negative impact on your waking life.

If you have been plagued by the feeling of being in continuous freefall or going back to high school for that class you didn’t finish, don’t worry, there are ways to combat and prevent nightmares for good. You can rely on our guide if you happen to suffer from nightmares and would like to find a prevention method that will help you sleep during the night.

Chances are you’ve had a nightmare in your lifetime. While having a nightmare can negatively impact your entire day and also keep you up through the night, there are ways to get better sleep and not have a terrible dream. Below is a guide to help you prevent nightmares and understand why you have them in the first place.

What are Nightmares?

Nightmares are vivid dreams that seem realistic in nature that rattle your mind. Nightmares usually occur during deep, REM sleep (where most dreaming tends to take place) and definitely have a negative impact on your mental health. While nightmares usually occur during a deep sleep, you may experience nightmares in the early morning hours.

The subject and consistency of your nightmares does vary from person to person and also effect people more if they experience a lot of stress. If you’ve gone through a traumatic event, you may want to consider getting treatment for any stress or mental health disorders you may have developed from your trauma.

What Causes Nightmares in Adults?

Nightmares in adults vary from person to person and are caused by a variety of factors. For example, sleep disorders can definitely cause nightmares. You may not be getting enough sleep and chances are when you finally fall asleep nightmares plague your mind and keep you up through the night. Do you like snacking before bed? You should remove that habit from your lifestyle if you are more prone to nightmares. For example, If you’ve indulged yourself in a light snack before bed it may have tasted good. However, it’s not worth it if you have woken up in the middle of the night from a bad dream from making your brain react in overtime.

Medications can also cause you to have nightmares and if you are coming off one of your prescription meds, chances are people will experience some withdrawal symptoms. Anxiety, stress and depression don’t only weigh you down in regards to effecting your everyday life, but they can cause nightmares especially if you aren’t getting enough sleep and staying awake during the night. Whatever the case may be, you should pay attention to your body and find ways to incorporate better sleep into your habits.

What are the Health Effects of Nightmares in Adults?

Having nightmares can effect your entire day in a negative way and cause a lot of stress in your life in the process. The people that are more prone to nightmares are those that already have sleep disorders, mental health issues or just have a lot of stress in their life regardless causing them to have bad dreams often.

Treatments for Nightmares in Adults?

If you are having nightmares often, chances are you have experienced a lot of stress in your life that may make you feel hopeless. Instead of letting the bad dreams take over your life, you should understand that you may be able to get treatment. For example, if you are experiencing nightmares often, go ahead and read any medication bottle you may have and see if a side effect is bad dreams. If your medication does cause you to have nightmares, be sure to tell your health care professional and ask for a dosage change. For people that have sleep disorders like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, finding treatment or those disorders first may stop you from having nightmares for good.

If your nightmares aren’t medication induced or illness related, you should not worry there are still ways to get stop your nightmares from happening for good. Behavioral changes such changing habits like eating before bed may help remove symptoms for good. Also, there are doctors that specialize in sleep and may be able to help people find the right treatment if they have nightmares often.

A popular treatment method to stop nightmares is imagery rehearsal treatment which is a therapy method that may work if you are having nightmares. The this method helps patients change the skeleton of their bad dreams through talk therapy by rehearsing how you would like your dreams to unfold. In some extreme cases, there are medications used to treat PTSD symptoms that may help you ease the symptoms that cause nightmares.

Another method that may help you sleep throughout the night without having a nightmare is exercise, eating well, and keeping up a regular waking up schedule. If you are having a hard time keeping the same sleep schedule day by day and have bad dreams with a regular frequency there are also methods for you to completely change your sleep schedule for good.

You should always remember to practice good sleep hygiene. Don’t eat right before bed and try to get to sleep around the same time each night. People that have enough sleep have been known not to get bad dreams as often as those that don’t keep a regular sleep schedule. Scheduling may not seem important but by not planning or practicing good habits you may experience nightmares with regular frequency as opposed to others who don’t.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do I keep Having Bad Dreams?

Bad dreams can happen for a variety of reasons in adults. For example, if you have issues with not getting enough sleep, you are more likely to get nightmares. There are also a variety of factors that cause bad dreams like mental health issues or medication to prevent you from having an episode if you happen to be mentally ill. Snacking before bed also causes you not to sleep and in turn expose you to having a nightmare. While bad dreams certainly are annoying and can change the course of your day, there are ways to combat them in order for you to sleep better.

How do you stop Nightmares in Adults?

Having a nightmare can ruin your entire day with scary imagery and it can become a real problem. Luckily there are many different ways to stop nightmares in adults. One way to stop nightmares in adults is going to a sleep specialist to find out why you have a nightmare in the first place. They can provide medication and other various methods to prevent you from having a nightmare and ultimately dream better or not dream at all.

Before you result to drastic measures like medication from a doctor, you can also check your existing medications and see if they happen to list “night terrors” as a side effect. If that is a side effect to your medication, you should talk to your healthcare professional and ask them to change your dosage.

Additionally, you can also practice better sleeping habits by going to sleep at the same time every night and making sure you get the recommended amount of sleep. Be sure to research first of all why you are actually having nightmares in the first place to find the underlying issue in order to find medical experiences that help you dream better in order for you to wake up feeling refreshed.

Do Nightmares Mean Anything?

Chances are you have had a nightmare in your life. While there are people that swear that having a bad dream can have a deeper meaning depending on what you have dreamt, understanding what these dreams represent can help you understand what is stressing you out in the first place.

For example, if you have had a bad dream about falling, you are probably feeling trapped and powerless in your personal life. If that may be the case, you can potentially change your life in order to have better sleeping habits. We’ve all had dreams about monsters as well. If you have had a nightmare about a monster as of late, chances are you are feeling a loss of control in your life.

If you are having a nightmare about being chased, some sleep specialists state that this means you are filling inhibited in some way and you should find out the trigger and make a change. Some bad dreams don’t necessarily mean that something is bad happening in your life. If you’ve experienced a death in your dream state, that just is a symbol for a new beginning in your life.

While sometimes nightmares happen, sometimes they mean nothing. You should pay attention to your body and keep providing your doctor with honest information about your life.


Having a nightmare can ruin your entire day and ultimately cause unneeded levels of stress that you don’t need in your life. If you are experiencing nightmares at a regular frequency, you should inform your healthcare professional in order to find ways to combat your symptoms so you can sleep through the night.

It is pretty common for those that experience nightmares more often than others to believe that it is a negative factor impacting your sleep. However, sometimes nightmares just mean that you have removed factors in your life that have caused you to worry.

Whatever the circumstances, you should keep in constant contact with your healthcare professional in order for them to offer you ways to practice sleep habits that not only enhance your life but enable you to wake up feeling refreshed.

We pride ourselves on being knowledgeable about a variety of topics. While nightmares are annoying and scary, they can be prevented with the right about of patience and it is possible to change.

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