How To Stop Nightmares And Night Terrors

image of a nightmare scene in a bedroom

It happened again last night. Another bad dream. This time, my brain had decided to combine people I know with the creatures from a horror series I’ve been watching, and have them chase me around my own mind.

As is usually the case, it took a moment to claw my way back to reality. Just as the intangible shadow creatures had tried with my body, the nightmare itself refused to let go of my mind until I could shake it free.

Eventually, I was able to take a deep breath, tell myself that it was just another bad dream and get up to make a cup of tea before going back to sleep.

Sound familiar? Nightmares are no fun – neither to experience yourself nor to witness in someone you care about.

Fortunately, I don’t get them as often as I used to when I was younger. But I still average at least one a month, even in my forties. So it’s a sleep problem I’ve been keen to explore, and even more keen to find a solution to.

In this article, I’ll be taking a look at both nightmares and night terrors, and sharing some of the good advice I’ve come across. Oh, and don’t watch ‘The Haunting Of Hill House’ before you go to bed!


The difference between nightmares and night terrors

Nightmares and night terrors are similar in some respects, but with some key differences:

Nightmares

A nightmare is a dream which causes strong feelings of distress, fear, terror or anxiety. Classic examples include being chased or attacked, running but not getting anywhere, intruders in the home, flashbacks to traumatic experiences, or even just bad arguments with people you care about.

Many adults still get nightmares, even though psychologists believe that children and adolescents experience them more often.

They tend to occur during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep, which is why they often happen later in the night.

People don’t usually move or make noises when having a nightmare. But when you wake up, you might remember it all too clearly, perhaps still feeling anxious or scared.

nightmare scene of a dark woods

Night terrors

The main difference is that you don’t usually wake up from a night terror or even remember it, though you may have some recollection of feeling scared in the morning.

So it’s often someone else, particularly a child’s parent, who has to deal with the unpleasantness of the experience.

Usually occurring in children between 3 and 12 years old, they might suddenly start screaming, moving around in bed erratically, rolling, kicking or lashing out.

They could even sit upright and look awake during the episode, though they won’t respond if you talk to them or touch them.

Despite how disturbing it can be to witness someone expressing terror like this, fortunately, the child will usually settle down again after a few minutes.

Night terrors typically occur during the transition from stage 3 to stage 4 non-REM sleep. This usually occurs an hour or two after falling asleep.


How parents can help children with night terrors

Parents can try the following to help stop their child’s night terrors:

  • Don’t try to wake the child up during an episode of night terrors. Just wait patiently with them until they settle down naturally.
  • If the child is thrashing about, make sure they don’t hit themselves or injure themselves.
  • Talk to them during the day to see if anything is particularly worrying or stressing them which you can then work on.
  • Make sure they have a consistent bedtime routine.
  • Make sure they get enough sleep and aren’t getting too tired.
  • You can also take the advice from the next section about nightmares.

How parents can help children having nightmares

Whilst it may not be possible for parents to stop nightmares completely for their children, you can take some steps to help them relax and feel like sleep is a good thing:

  • Ensure they have a regular bedtime and consistent bedtime routine.
  • Spend time with them before bed doing something that makes them feel happy, secure and cozy. For example, a bath, reading a book, snuggling or talking about the day.
  • Make sure their bed is comfy, cozy, warm but not hot, and peaceful. Having a favorite teddy bear or night light can help.
  • Don’t let them watch or read anything scary before bed, or play any games which can be scary or make them anxious.
  • Read one of many excellent children’s books written specifically to help kids with anxiety about monsters and the dark. Searching online will reveal many lists of great examples of these!

What you can do if a child wakes up scared from a nightmare

Unlike sleep terrors, a child may well wake up from a nightmare and understandably be worried about falling asleep again.

In fact, adults may also experience this after a horrible dream. You can do the following to help them settle back down:

  • Talk about what happened, tell them it’s a bad dream, but reassure them that it wasn’t real and isn’t going to happen in the real world. This only needs to be a brief conversation, but just some words of comfort can go a long way.
  • Let them know you are there, and that they are safe with you there.
  • Let them know it’s normal to have a bad dream and that everyone has them sometimes.
  • You can provide reassurance by checking everywhere in the room for monsters.
  • Switch on some ambient lighting or night light.
  • Make sure they have a favorite teddy bear, blanket or comforter.
  • The next day it might also help to bring it up again to help deal with it. You could also bring it into the art world with some drawing to make it seem less scary, or perhaps even some role play to make the monster or whatever it might have been seem silly, fun and less threatening.

If your child is having nightmares or night terrors to the extent that it’s disturbing their daily life, mood, development or health, it’s important to discuss it with a medical professional.

They might refer you to a sleep specialist who’ll hopefully find a way to help your family further. This can be particularly useful if the child is having recurrent nightmares, or is having them as a result of a traumatic event.


How to cope with nightmares as an adult

Having nightmares as an adult is nothing to be ashamed of. I’ve had all kinds of bizarre and unpleasant nightmares over the years.

There are a few factors which might trigger nightmares, so you can start by having a think about whether these apply to you or not:

  • Drinking alcohol, especially late in the evening.
  • Too much caffeine, again late in the day especially.
  • Taking recreational drugs.
  • Smoking cigarettes before bed.
  • Doing heavy exercise shortly before bed.
  • Watching or playing a violent or scary film or computer game in the evening (I’m guilty of this one!).
  • Eating late at night. Even small bedtime snacks can trigger nightmares.
  • An illness which induces a fever.
  • Breathing disorders in sleep, such as apnea. If you have any breathing problems when you sleep, it’s essential you consult a doctor about it.
the ring horror film
Don’t watch horror films late at night!

In addition to the above ideas, here are some other points you might like to consider which could help:

  • Some medications can cause nightmares. You can check the known side effects online or ask for your doctor’s advice.
  • Stress, anxiety, and worry can cause sleep disruption. It might help to address this in your life, or even do simple relaxation exercises in bed.
  • Major life events can be stressful. Moving house, relationship, money or work issues, and traumatic experiences can all trigger nightmares. Talk to family or friends, or seek professional help if you’re finding something in your life overwhelming.
  • As with kids, having a stable sleep schedule can be helpful.
  • Try to do some exercise every day, even if it’s just a walk.
  • Keep the bedroom cool. If your room or bed is too hot it’s more likely you’ll have disturbed sleep.
  • Keep a dream and nightmare diary. Recording what you experience can sometimes help to make it seem less out of control.
  • Do some positive thinking or visualization while you lie in bed. Some people believe you can influence your dreams purely by telling yourself what you want to dream about.

Specialist help

In addition to the advice above, there are a few other possibilities you might like to try, especially if you’ve tried all the ideas so far listed, but seen no improvements.

Ask for a referral to a sleep specialist or sleep center

If you’re finding that your nightmares are interfering with your daily life and functioning, it may be time for specialist help. Your doctor may be able to refer you to a sleep specialist or clinic if there’s one available.

If a doctor feels it’s necessary, they might prescribe medication, especially if there is associated PTSD. Or they may try talking therapy such as Imagery Rehearsal Therapy.

Imagery Rehearsal Therapy

Image Rehearsal Therapy has shown promise as a treatment for nightmares, especially for those who experience recurring nightmares with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

It involves working with a therapist to try to change your dreams by visualizing them happening differently while you’re awake.

It’s also thought that it can help people who just have recurring bad dreams, even without the PTSD element. Whilst it’s better to do this with a therapist, it can also be tried alone.

There are 3 basic steps to trying IRT yourself:

  • Write down a summary of the recurring dream, or the most recent nightmare you’ve had.
  • Think of a way the nightmare can be changed to be less frightening. You should use your intuition to work out how to do this.
  • Spend a few minutes every day visualizing your improved version of the nightmare.

Lucid Dreaming and embracing your nightmares

There have been some studies suggesting that lucid dreaming treatment (LDT) can be an effective way to stop nightmares.

The idea is that you train yourself to become aware that you’re in the middle of a dream or nightmare, and then either alter it or wake yourself up.

If that idea interests you, then even further than that is the idea of actually embracing you nightmares through lucid dreaming and using them as a tool for spiritual and/or psychological growth.

The following video, which was originally on a TEDtalk, explains this idea in an entertaining and fascinating way:

It’s not all bad – nightmares and creativity

It might not provide much comfort to nightmare sufferers, but there’s an interesting theory which suggests a positive side to nightmares – more creativity.

woman having a nightmare

Researchers at the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal conducted a study of 28 people, comparing those who had regular nightmares with those who said they didn’t.

The team gave the participant a form of word association test before and after sleep. And they concluded that the nightmare sufferers displayed characteristics associated with creativity:

NM sufferers may access broader than normal emotional semantic networks in the wake state, a difference that may lead to this group being perceived as more creative.

However, it’s not clear if nightmares really improve creativity, or if creative and emotionally sensitive people are more prone to nightmares.

Either way, it might provide some solace to know that your nightmares could be a sign that you have an above average creative mind!

Your views

What kind of nightmares do you or your child have? What do you find makes them more or less frequent? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

117 thoughts on “How To Stop Nightmares And Night Terrors”

  1. My husband and I have been married for 30 yrs. For the first 28 yrs he rarely snored or moved in bed. Two yrs ago he started falling out of bed. His body also began to develop severe body cramps…. a few months later falling a lot…daily migraines….hand numbness and after lots of tests he’s been diagnosed with neuropathy without a known reason. He is not diabetic, drinks NO alcohol, only takes prescription medication that has been changed multiple times…and otherwise, in pretty good health. The night terrors have progressed to the point they became dangerous with swinging…growling…even shaking me in bed. We now sleep in separate rooms and he has a hospital bed to help keep him from falling out…but it doesn’t work. He actually goes over the rails…often head first and slams his head on the floor … therefore, making the migraines worse. He’s been to a sleep clinic and diagnosed with sleep apnea but the mask works its way into his nightmares (like a octopus or monster on his face) and he rips it off. Our son has moved in to help us but this can’t be forever. I am scared for my husband and he’s scared too! We raised 5 sons and I can honestly say… I can count on one hand how many times I’ve heard him raise his voice. He was always a calm and gentle husband and father. He is talking with a therapist but nothing has stopped the terrors which come several times a week. In the beginning he didn’t remember them…but if he falls out of bed waking up he can remember… and it always involves someone trying to hurt and attack him….people or creatures…it’s always him defending himself. I am worried for him. I know he can’t be alone with this suffering and need to know what doctors do to treat a case as severe as this one! PLEASE…any thoughts are appreciated. Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi Karen
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through – both you and your partner. When he went to the sleep clinic, did they mention anything about other possible sleep disorders? Does he act out those violent dreams at all, such as flailing his arms or legs in bed when he’s asleep? If it was a while ago, I would recommend getting another opinion about the sleep problems and his health in general.
      Regards
      Ethan

    2. Is he on any new supplements like B6 or zinc which may stimulate detox ?

      Has he been exposed to any heavy metals ? Has he had dental work with 6 months of the sleep issues ? Decaying or amalgams ?

      Any chance of exposure to mold or other industrial toxins ?

      God bless. I hope you find your answers.

  2. Hey, one of my very close friends is always being tortured in her dreams and she sometimes wakes up and other times she doesn’t. She already sees a doctor for it and they have her on medicine but it stopped working after a few days. I’m worried about her and I don’t know what to do.

    1. Hi Fayth
      Thanks for your comment. There probably isn’t much you can do yourself, and it sounds like she is getting help. Perhaps talking to her and asking her if she is stressed or anxious, and offering to talk through any issues with her that she might feel better about getting off her chest. Sometimes issues like stress and anxiety can disrupt sleep. So as a friend, offering support, or even just doing fun and relaxing things together, might do a little to help.
      Regards
      Ethan

  3. My husband says at times I hit him or try scratching him. Or I talk or yell out in my sleep. This worries me, I don’t want to hurt him! What do I do??

    1. Hi Amber
      Thanks for your comment. Have you ever heard of something called REM sleep behavior disorder? It’s not for me to diagnose based on your very short comment, but it might be something that makes sense for you to explore.
      Regards
      Ethan

  4. Hi. Yesterday night i was sleeping well and when i opened my eyes i saw a bright green lizard ( very big) jumping from my father bed towards me. So i woke up and screamed. Thats all i remember. Next day when i asked my mother she told me that i was shouting like “NO PLEASE DONT TOUCH ME”. When my mom tried to console me i was repeating these words to them. I felt awkward. Last year i was in hostel and again when i was sleeping, i opened my eyes to a scorpion on my blanket ( on the stomach side). I screamed and my friends assured me that there was nothing on the blanket. It happens like once in 6 months. I always read ghost stories on website ( yourghoststories.com) all the time like even before going to sleep. I always prefer watching scary and thriller movies. Does this have anything to do with it? On the day of the first incident i had an exam and was stressed that it dint go well. Whats happening to me? Should i consult a doctor for this problem

    1. Hi Dhvya
      Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds to me like you’ve already partly provided an answer. I would recommend not watching scary movies and reading scary stories, at least not in the few hours before bed. See if that helps, and if not, talk to your doctor about it.
      Regards
      Ethan

  5. Looking to help someone, I would like to know how I can help my boyfriend, dreams of people attacking him fighting people, kicks punches, sits up in bed yelling screams thinks there is people in the room while sleeping among other stuff in some cases he has grabbed punched and tryed to break my wrist I wake him up in panic which he has no idea most of the times of what he’s doing and remembers nothing, he used to take many different sleeping pills and other medications to help which made things worse as he would throw him self against the walls behind the bed he is now off of the meds but ever so often he screams out of no where and all of this is scaring me as I had to move him away, and yell at him so he can wake up,, what should I do and more importantly what can he do?

    1. Hi Ali
      Thanks for your comment. That must be very distressing for both of you to cope with. Is it possible for you to sleep in separate beds until you find a way to stop it happening? Many couples sleep in separate beds (my partner and I included) and it’s nothing bad or wrong to do.
      Have you heard of a sleep disorder called REM sleep behavior disorder? I’d look into that, but also speak with his doctor to get some advice.
      Regards
      Ethan

  6. I have had recurring nightmares and sleep paralysis as well. Night terrors too.
    I often wonder if some episodes were premonitions? I would like to know if premonition is a psyco-emotional state of mind or is it only in waking hours that a person can get premonitions?Are intuition and premonition linked? I mean psychological links not psychic links.
    I wonder if I should speak to a psychiatrist about my dreams. Or will I be laughed at?
    I am deeply interested in psychology because I have had reality mirroring dreams and nightmares- – not the other way round?
    I don’t think I am a psychic but I certainly feel that I don’t have a good grip on reality.
    Your advice and advice of others are welcome.

    1. Hi Devika
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure I can really answer your questions about premonitions, as it’s not something I particularly believe in. But I don’t think many psychologist dedicate much time to investigating intuition and premonition, though some parapsychologists probably do. As for speaking to a psychiatrist, I doubt they would laugh at you, but they might want to explore your general mental health depending on how coherent they think you are, and how fixated on these themes. If you don’t feel that you have a good grip on reality, and would like some advice and support, then perhaps it would be helpful for you to speak to a medical professional.
      Regards
      Ethan

  7. My fiance is the most lovable man. His night terrors wake me 1,2 or 3 times EVERY night for a whole month 1 night i may get relief. He’s so sorry cause I work 7 days a week. He screams kicks cry laugh move his arm fight the covers sit up curse andmoans like a bear wolf or demon. and once he sleep walked. What do we do!!!???I
    Jump out of my sleep(headache eye bags red eyes) i wake him up but he goes RIGHT back into nightterrors ????☹????should we still marry signed im in Love with a mad man??help me please!!!!!everynight??

    1. Hi Irene
      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear you’re both dealing with what sounds like a stressful sleep problem. Has he spoken to a medical professional about it? I think it would be a good idea to get him checked out to see if there’s anything they can do to help.
      Regards
      Ethan

  8. I have nightmares frequently. When I do, I wake up tired and scared. The effect of fear and uneasiness usually last several hours after I wake up.
    A couple of nights ago, I had the worst nightmare I’ve ever had. The effect after took several days to dissipate.
    I went to bed at around 1am, and woke up terrified around 2:40am. I was sore and I felt my teeth were going to fall out of my mouth: they felt lose. Several days later I am still sore from that night. My shoulders and back are tense, my joints in my arms and hands hurt and my jaw and teeth are very sensitive.
    It was one of those nightmares where you think you wake up in your room, just to realize you cannot move and are paralyzed. At the same time, the dream state takes over, and suddenly there is someone uninvited in your room. I woke up three times from this terrible dream. Thinking I was awake, just to realize that I was still paralyzed with a huge invisible weight over my body. Just to reslize that the person in the room was still there with no good intentions, that my tongue was cut out and my gut was gashed among other terrible occurrences.
    Naturally, when I woke up to the real world, I thought I was still sleeping because my body was in pain from the effort. I also noticed that I took a deep and desperate breath when I woke up.
    I’m worried that I may not be breathing at times… I don’t like to think I’m not, but it just seems like it because I wake up exhausted and sore.

  9. Good Day,
    My 5 year old daughter only ever has disturbed sleep after a fun exciting day. I assume they are night terrors because (based on your article) they’ll start around 10- and when I try wake her up (I won’t do it again) she talks to me and responds to me with her eyes open- but I can see it’s an auto response and that she is still sleeping. Within seconds of lying back down she thrashes about and moans like I haven’t just “woken” her up. I just wonder why it’s after a fun day. Always. We had a party today. She had great fun but because I know she has nightmares, I try to make sure we slip straight back into routine when we get home to bring a sense of normality back to her- but she is still in the room now having a night terror.

    1. Hi Terri
      Thanks for your comment. Have you tried spending extra time in the afternoon/evening following a particularly fun and exciting day doing things which are very calming and relaxing? Perhaps taking more time to unwind, and bring her energy levels back down would help. Perhaps even doing something like drawing the fun day, talking it over calmly or activities you can think of that help her close the day and go to bed feeling calm.
      Regards
      Ethan

    1. Hi Vic
      I think the best thing in that case is to try to relax, accept that nightmares are quite normal – even though they are scary – and try to go back to sleep. If you can’t, then get up and do something familiar, comforting and relaxing for 10 mins, then go back to sleep.
      Regards
      Ethan

  10. Hi,
    Thank you for this article as it gave me some insight. I have a history of sleep talking and night terrors, where I sit up wirh my eyes open and can see my room as it is, but I’m not fully awake and screaming. My husband has gotten used to this and waits till I’m completely awake to tell me what he saw. I remember having them usually, but not always. However, lasr night I sat up a creaming (don’t remember that) & I ran out of room because I thought someone was chasing me. I have only done this onew before but it was only to turn light on. This time I ran clear outside of room. I scared the kids and my husband… do you have any tips on how I can stop this? (I’m 42)
    Thanks,
    Taline

    1. Hi Taline
      Thanks for your comment. There’s not much more I can add other than what’s in the article already! My advice would be to read and try to put into action those ideas first, if you haven’t already. If that doesn’t help, perhaps talk to your doctor about it.
      Regards
      Ethan

  11. My father is 66 and for about the past year now he has been having nightmares. I can hear him yelling and screaming from across the house or sometimes he’s kicking and punching someone in his dream. The other night he smacked his head really hard against the wooden bed frame. He doesn’t take any medications and he is semi retired working for himself. What might be causing these nightmares?

    1. Hi Stephanie
      Thanks for your comment. It’s hard to say why they might have suddenly started now – there are all kinds of things that can trigger nightmares and affect their frequency or intensity. If you and he are worried about his health and the risk of injury, it’s something to talk through with a doctor. He can try the self-help ideas too, but it’s a good idea to talk it through with a professional too.
      Regards
      Ethan

  12. Deseri L Burrell

    Deseri say: April 19 2017 11;40 am Hi! I’d Deseri experiences this conditon every night dam near is taken residone which does no good but leave me feeling doped up slightly low energy of doing my daily activites doctors need to spend time finding better solution to these astra travers attacks i am not imaging bullshit I have lots of OBE travelers intruding upon mine slep life harrassing bullying sexually assaulting me whispering to me about there pyshic ablities and high level intuton so of course with me not doing any OBE activities i would find myself being tormented lying into an a inacitive postion takening enduring what ever they dish out to me leaving me very upset and an nerves rack there are no demons if anything this maybe an another term they uses to describe there self but for what iam encountering are peoples soul wronging mine dormanted soul that may partially prepared it self for sleep form of astra travel yet didn’t make full lucidity leaving me stuck with the door open for thoses abling to make full atra speculum to make mine life an hell showing there asses off to know compasion to the disabled disorderly or mentally illness indiviuals i bet doctors can’t help dimissing the matter when some of theses doctors are also helping socienty civilain into there quest to disturb you from that second deminsion world help wouldn’t be the answer but bullshit medication thats treating you for an condition you don’t have opposed to the one you’d may have let there asses remedie that OBE activites there have less an complaint from me i need help yes dealing with these OBE traveler abusers this is mine problem not witches gobbling and demons but human being with there OBE attached angel other human being who only talk of astra traveling online in the world there doing less talking about this matter even when you’d question them they deny it knowing anything relating to it however i can talk about it again my troubles steam from OBE abusers making visitation to me peeping and much more sinister behavior towards me onto the cosmo or astra plane i need real people to help me not addon bullshitter playing dumb while i be terrified mine illness there the root cause i need to be whole not traped into mine own soul i am extremely angry about all the garabage spiritual mine asses people are doing me dirty while i lay unresponsive for to do away with there hearts desires my pain can’t be erased with wrong prescribe drugs just dope me up hoping i can’t remember nothing sure this is the answer spent time listening to way they keep hush hush like OBE isn’t large today into world it’s OBE for me Bitches get your facts straight i want mine paralized sleeping astra body unparalized so i can be functional astra traveler mine self not an preyed upon this is mine story find some right treatment .Thankyou

  13. Hi my 16 years old daughter will get fear by seeing the dream in night and sometimes at day time..in her dream she want be able to see any thing it wll be fully dark..bcz of this she will get scared and will get sweat the will feel like drinkung water..she wll be totally blank for 3 to 4 mins..after 3 to 4 minutes she wll be fine..am worried y this wll happen for her continuesly ..plz help me for this solution…kindly relply me in my id

    1. Hi Maya
      Thanks for your comment. You could try the techniques in the article, and get her to read it too. Perhaps you’ll be able to work together to ensure she has a more peaceful sleep. And if nothing else, be able to relax after a nightmare and fall asleep again afterwards. But if it continues to be a very stressful problem for her, the best thing is to speak to her doctor if self-help doesn’t make a difference.
      Regards
      Ethan

  14. Hi Ethan, my husband is 52 years old and suffers from pretty severe night terrors – at least we think they are. He wakes almost nightly thinking there are snakes or some other scary creature (spiders, rats, etc., have all made appearances) and he flails about trying to get away, or get the creature out of the bed, etc.

    Most definitions of night terrors say the person rarely recalls the incidents, but he does always remember these in the morning. Sometimes there are 3 a night, sometimes he goes a week or two with none. He doesn’t not have a high stress life or suffer from PTSD, and his medical doctor didn’t take any of it seriously whatsoever.

    I’ve tried to get him to meditate but it’s not sticking, and I’m at a loss as to where and how to get help. These episodes have only ramped up in the past few years. Is there a possibility it’s caused be medication? Any words of advice would be most welcome – thank you!

    1. Hi Margot
      Thanks for your comment. Did you leave a similar comment on the article about hallucinations? I have a feeling it’s more likely to be that rather than sleep terrors.
      Do you have an idea if he seems to be having a nightmare before waking up and doing this, or does he wake up peacefully and then it starts?
      It could definitely be medication, so if he is taking some, it’s worth looking it up to see if a listed side effect is sleep disturbance or hallucinations.
      Regards
      Ethan

      1. Hi Ethan, yes that was me – I found that link afterwards and was definitely feeling the connection with those descriptions. No, I don’t believe it’s nightmares. He doesn’t wake up peacefully and then start the hallucination, he wakes up “in it” and proceeds to try to deal with the situation (searching for the critter or trying to get away from it) all while “awake” with eyes open, lights on. It just takes time to fully believe there isn’t anything there. He brought up to his doctor the blood pressure medication he’s on and it was completely brushed aside. It’s a frustrating nightly scene in our house. : (

        1. Hi Margot
          Thanks for your comment. It seems more likely to be sleep hallucinations to me, something that commonly happens when transitioning in and out of wakefulness from sleep. Perhaps looking more closely into sleep hallucinations will help you find something that reduces the impact on you both? And if you’re not happy with the doctor’s response, there’s no harm in seeking a second opinion.
          Regards
          Ethan

    2. Hi Margot,
      I am a 52 year old man with seemingly the same symptomology as your husband. It’s usually a creature or ‘thing’ doing bodily harm to me, or my bed is a collapsing bridge or platform, or an electric bed of pain, but almost always I remember directly upon waking.
      I’m sitting here now at 4am typing this because I jumped out of bed terrified, ran down the steps of my bedroom, across my living room and up the steps of my kitchen. Confused, absolutely terrified that my life was about to end horrifically somehow. My adult daughter and wife came up after me, also terrified about my well being.
      I have had sleep studies, wear a CPAP when I can tolerate it, but don’t have any answers. This has been going on for a few years, getting increasingly worse. Please tell me that your husband has made some sort of break through; that you both have figured something out.
      I don’t take any medications other than aspirin or ibuprofen; have a few drinks nightly (which I would gladly give up if I thought it would help), and do not have a high stress job.
      Any ideas you have found would be great. Peace to you and your husband…
      Dennis in State College

  15. I’m 20 and I have wakeful dreams, sometimes nightmares or sometimes just very vivid but normal dreams. I usually wake up after 3-5 hours, then every 30-90 minutes there after. These were triggered due to some events last year in April, anxiety related, but since then I just haven’t recovered. Im less anxious now, but throughout the day I have moments of slight anxiety, not actually anxiety attacks however, and its triggered by little things always, and I’m also slightly hypochondriac. I don’t know if it is mostly mental and will it heal with time or do I need to accelerate my body and mind out of this state of anxiety? What do you recommend?

    1. Hi Jason
      Thanks for your comment. I think that anxiety is sometimes underestimated by people – it can cause a lot of discomfort and disruption to normal life and feelings. So I think it’s good to tackle it actively if you’re suffering from it to this extent. I would recommend speaking to a professional therapist or counselor if you can. And if you can’t, or prefer self-help, I highly recommend something called mindfulness. You can get books teaching you how in shops, find many websites online or even go to classes to learn it. As a brief introduction, you might like my article teaching mindfulness exercises for sleep.
      Regards
      Ethan

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