A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Nightmares
I had a question the other day about nightmares.
Aren’t adults supposed to outgrow nightmares?
While it’s true nightmares are more common among children, 1 out of every 2 adults has nightmares on occasion.
And 2%-8% of the adult population is plagued by nightmares.
Are your nightmares causing you significant distress?
Are they interrupting your sleep on a regular basis?
If so, it’s important to determine what’s causing your nightmares.
Then you can make changes to reduce them.
Nightmares are vividly realistic, disturbing dreams that rattle you awake from a deep sleep.
They often set your heart pounding from fear.
Nightmares tend to occur most often during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, when most dreaming takes place.
Because periods of REM sleep become longer as the night goes on, you may find you experience nightmares most often in the early morning hours.
The subjects of nightmares vary from person to person.
There are, though, some common nightmares many people have.
For example, a lot of adults have nightmares about not being able to run fast enough to escape danger or about falling from a great height.
If you’ve gone through a traumatic event, like an attack or accident, you may have recurrent nightmares about your horrifying experience.
Nightmares in adults are often spontaneous.
But they can also be caused by a variety of things.
Some people have nightmares after having a late-night snack, which can increase metabolism and signal your brain to be more active.
A number of medications also are known to contribute to nightmare frequency.
Drugs that act on chemicals in your brain, like antidepressants and narcotics, are often associated with nightmares.
Non-psychological medications, including some blood pressure medications, can also cause nightmares in adults.
Withdrawal from medications and substances, including alcohol and tranquilizers, may trigger nightmares.
Sleep deprivation may contribute to adult nightmares, which themselves often cause people to lose additional sleep.
Though it’s possible, it hasn’t been confirmed whether this cycle could lead to nightmare disorder.
There can be a number of psychological triggers that cause nightmares in adults.
For example, anxiety and depression can cause adult nightmares.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also commonly causes people to experience chronic, recurrent nightmares.
Nightmares in adults can be caused by certain sleep disorders, like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
If no other cause can be determined, chronic nightmares may be a distinct sleep disorder.
Nightmares become much more than bad dreams when they have a significant effect on your health and well-being.
Among people who experience nightmares, those who are anxious or depressed are more likely to be distressed about the experience and suffer even more psychological ill effects.
Though the relationship isn’t understood, nightmares have been associated with suicide.
Sleep deprivation, which can be caused by nightmares, can cause a host of medical conditions, including heart disease, depression, and obesity.
If nightmares are a symptom of untreated sleep apnea or post-traumatic stress disorder, the underlying disorders can also have significant negative effects on physical and mental health.
To deal with nightmares it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily as it hydrates body and brain cells, thins mucus, and flushes toxins.
*Increase Omega-3 essential fats.
*Increase stress relief/relaxation techniques.
*Explore energy medicine techniques (EFT).
*Consider herbs like chamomile and valerian.
*Increase deep-breathing techniques.
*Increase exercise, activity, sunshine, outdoors, fresh air.
*Sleep in complete darkness with no night light as this promotes melatonin.
*Decrease blood sugar fluctuations/hypoglycemic tendencies.
*Decrease possible triggers, allergies, sensitivities.
Decrease toxic household cleaning, laundry, and personal care products and/or poor air quality.
*Decrease sugar and chemical-laden junk and processed foods.
*Decrease caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.
*Do not read/watch upsetting books/TV before bed.
*Avoid eating in the 2-3 hours before bed.
*Avoid exercise before bed.
*Research short- and long-term effects of sleep medications.