Q: It’s been months since I had a good night rest. About twice or even three times a week, I wake up in cold sweat and with a racing heartbeat because of the nightmare. The dreams sometimes repeat, but in most cases, they are different. I can’t stand such a torment any longer. Please help me to stop the nightmares.
A: To tell the truth, 2-6% of adults experience the same problem as you do. But, on the whole, the statistic is not comforting as some studies claim the prevalence of nightmares among the adult population is about 85%.
Well, to be able to help you, we should first determine what is the cause of your nightmares. There are several key factors, which can cause such an issue. They are physical or emotional trauma (including post-traumatic stress disorder), stress or anxiety, intake of certain drugs, alcohol or drug abuse, late-night eating, violation of the sleeping schedule.
If the problem is post-traumatic stress disorder, the imagery rehearsal therapy may be helpful. Its major goal is “reprograming” your brain for a positive outcome of your dream. Hence, you can turn a nightmare in any dream you would like to have.
In case you have nightmares because of stress or anxiety, psychotherapy, counseling or intake of sleeping pills may be options.
If the adverse effects of some drug are to blame, you have to turn to your healthcare provider concerning your dose titration or giving up the drug.
Keeping to a healthy sleeping schedule you can also improve the situation. If your brain “knows” exactly when it should “turn off”, you are less likely to have any bad dreams.
The same is true for those who like to have a snack right before bedtime. The digestion process makes your brain stay active even after you’ve gone to sleep. As a result, excessive brain activity can evolve nightmares.
Hope I have given the answer to your question and you’ll be able to get rid of the nightmares as soon as possible. Still, I strongly recommend you to consult with a physician on the matter of your poor sleep quality.