Tips to Eliminate Nightmares

As many of you know, I worked as a dream interpreter for years and still co-write the column The Dream Zone for Sedona Magazine with my friend Dr. Lauri, “the dream lady”. This item came to my inbox today, 14 Tips for Getting Rid of Nightmares. It’s got the wisdom of the world tucked in between. The technique I used the most with my clients was number 10 — Not one of the ancient wisdom ones, but very effective. The author’s free ebook at the end looks good, too. — +Katia

By Ryan Hurd
Dream Studies
September 2, 2010

Sometimes the only dreams we remember are the ones we wish we could forget.
Nightmares can be instructive, and most psychologists believe that they are
a healthy part of life. But if you are plagued by repetitive nightmares and
are losing sleep, sometimes changing your daily habits can reduce nightmare
frequency. In general, nightmares can be caused by insufficient sleep, poor
exercise and diet, and stress. The tips below all are aimed at cultivating a
healthier sleep and dream life, drawn from my ebook Enhance Your Dreamlife:

1. Don't go to sleep angry or stressed out. Give yourself time to cool down.

2. Regular sleep patterns = better dreams. Including weekends.

3. Don't eat right before bed. In particular, foods that take longer to
digest, like meats and cheeses, can increase nightmares.

4. Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption.

5. Cultivate gratitude. If this doesn't come easy, do a "thankfulness"
exercise every day in which you list the aspects of your life that you are
thankful for.

6. Reduce exposure to violent images in the media, especially in the
evenings. Horror movies can cause lingering nightmares for years.

7. Spend time in nature as often as possible, even if this means sitting in
a city park for fifteen minutes every day. Many therapists believe that we
all suffer from "nature deficiency disorder."

8. Don't sleep on your back. This encourages a special kind of nightmare
known as sleep paralysis, in which you feel like you are awake and alert
while at the same time you cannot move. Sufferers also feel breathless
and/or sense an ³unknown presence² in the room.

9. Start a gentle body practice like yoga, walking, or tai chi. In general,
moderate exercise increases the quality of sleep.

10. If you have repetitive nightmares, role-play how you will face your
nightmare attackers next time.

11. Keep a dream journal. Often writing it out can dispel a lot of the
powerful emotionality.

12. Join a dream-sharing group. Many larger cities have them. If not, start
your own.

13. Give yourself some self-love and acceptance. Easy to suggest, but hard
to do. I use journaling to remind myself that I am loved. Affirmations --
while they can seem cheesy at first -- are effective as well. My backlog of
journals is essentially a history of pep-talks I've given myself over the
years and it still works.

14. Keep fresh flowers or aromatic oils in the bedroom. Research shows that
good smells positively effects your dreams.

Note: If you have numerous, repetitive nightmares that are related to
childhood scenes or some personal trauma you encountered, I recommend seeing
a counselor or therapist. Severe nightmares are a common symptom of Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder, which can be caused by war, devastating personal
loss, rape and suffering through a natural disaster. Ministers and priests
are also good resources for dealing with nightmares if you attend a church;
many are trained in working with the spiritual and traumatic side of dreams.

For more information about getting better sleep and exploring dreams,
download my [Ryan Hurd's] free ebook Enhance your Dreamlife

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Katia is a consecrated independent sacramental bishop. She directs the online Esoteric Mystery School and Interfaith Theological Seminary. Check it out at

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