The Nightmare

In the previous article we talked about what to do if you can’t sleep. Now what if you can sleep but don’t want to? What if you are having nightmares? That is precisely what we are going to discuss in this article.

Dreams are one of those things which still intrigue scientists. From toddlers to grandmas – everyone dreams. And everyone gets nightmares once in a while. A nightmare is an unpleasant dream which evokes a strong negative emotion. It usually happens during the rapid eye movement or REM stage of sleep where the eyes move swiftly underneath the eyelids.

Why Do Nightmares Occur?
The exact reason behind nightmares is not known. They might happen due to stress or pressure. Bad dreams might also occur in reaction to traumas like natural disasters, accidents or injuries. Sickness and medications can cause nightmares as well. Bad dreams may even happen if you watch a scary movie or read a horror story before going to bed. Or they may occur without any reason at all.

How to Ward off Bad Dreams?
It’s not quite possible to stop nightmares entirely, but measures can be taken to prevent them and encourage good dreams, like-

Maintaining a fixed sleep routine, which means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
Creating a warm and comfortable environment in the bedroom by keeping pleasant things like stuffed toys, night light etc.

Keeping the doors open. This will reassure you that you can get up and find someone whenever you want.
Talking to someone who can comfort you that it was only a bad dream and nothing else.

When to Start Worrying?
Usually nightmares are harmless and happen now and then. But if the scary dreams are too frequent and don’t stop after taking ample measures, then you might need to consult a doctor. ‘Nightmare Disorder’ or ‘Sleep Anxiety Disorder’ is a sleep disorder characterised by recurring nightmares. If this is the case, then expert help can make things better.

Nightmares are scary, but they don’t last. And now you know what to do to keep those troublemakers at bay. Dream on!

Fun fact: The word ‘Nightmare’ has no relation with a female horse. It comes from the old English word ‘Mare’, which is the name of a mythological demon or goblin who tortures others with frightening dreams.