I keep having really bad nightmares and I don't know what to do?

I suffer with severe depression but I don't know if this is anything to do with my sleep. I've always had really poor sleep and it's affected me for about a year, but it has become worse. My father died in Novemeber, and that's when the nightmares started - which has made my sleep even worse. I have about 4 nightmares a week, sometimes they repeat. I've had a few nightmares about my dad, they weren't pleasant. He'd died, but he'd come back to life and it was horrible and really graphic.

Also, one that i've had many times is - i'm going out with my mum and she parks the car on the long road near a field and the road is full of parked cars. I'm then leaving her and we're meeting back together in an hour. I go off but when i'm coming back to try and find her car, it isn't there and I'm walking up the street of cars and I see this hearse parked. It had my dads coffin in and the flowers with DAD spelt. I'm still trying to find my mum and I come across this building, I walk into it and it's a dark room with little light, I then walk through into the other room which is bright and there's a grey metal table with blood on it and plastic clear sheets. People keep brining in these dead bodies and laying them on the table, some of the people arent even dead yet and it's just so horrible. I've had this dream a few times, and I wake up in the middle of the night from it and it's stopping me from sleeping.

I also have a fear of public toilets, pipes and swimming pool filters (sounds odd, but I'm terrified) I keep having nightmares about being in a room full of this horrible public toilets and I can't get out of that room and the toilets start to over flow.

I don't know what I'm looking for in a answer, just some advice because i'm getting hardly any sleep and it's really messing up my day to day life and the way I'm thinking.

thank you

3 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favourite answer

    Nightmares are, of course, a kind of dream — a very nasty kind of dream.

    Scientists who study dreams, what are called oneirologists, aren't entirely sure where dreams originate in the brain or if a single point can be isolated. What they've discovered, however, is that 75% of all dreams elicit negative emotions, or contain some kind of negative content (which is disappointingly high if you ask me). And every once in awhile that content gets a bit too dark and disturbing, jolting us awake with a pounding heart.

    Indeed, nightmares are often described as a series of frightening images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that spontaneously (and uncontrollably) arise during sleep. People can experience any number of emotions during a bad dream, including sadness, depression, anger, guilt — and especially feelings of fear and anxiety.

    Nightmares also tend to be very realistic, something that gives them that added bit of spice. They often feature disturbing imagery or themes that are so awful and terrifying that they force us awake. These feelings tend to linger, often making it hard to fall back asleep.

    The content of nightmares varies widely from person to person, but there are some common themes. Perhaps the most archetypal nightmare is the one in which we're not able to run fast enough while we're being chased. Other common nightmares include falling, or revisiting a traumatic event. Children tend to have dreams in which they are chased by an animal or a fantasy figure.

    A nightmare, like any other kind of dream, can last for a few minutes, or drag on for upwards of 20 minutes. And because REM periods get longer as the night progresses, most nightmares happen in the early morning.

    Bad dreams can also be triggered by sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

    There are also the stresses of daily life to consider. Nightmares tend to happen during transitional or tumultuous periods in our lives — like changing a job, moving, a pregnancy, or financial concerns. They can also be triggered by more serious events, such as the loss of a loved one, a serious accident, or witnessing a traumatic event.

    And indeed, it is well established that people suffering from the effects of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mild head injuries have more nightmares than average. In fact, the heightened frequency of nightmares in these individuals can result in a chronic condition.

    Not surprisingly, nightmares are often experienced by returning war veterans, first response workers (police, paramedics, and firefighters) and patients both preparing for and recovering from surgeries.

    Are there any possible treatments?

    For most people, nightmares don't happen frequently enough to pose a problem. We get them, and move on. But for some people, they happen often enough to pose a definite health risk — a condition that can result in depression and increased anxiety. It is recommended that people who suffer from chronic nightmares go see their doctor as there are a number of treatments available.

    One technique that's increasingly being used is "imagery rehearsal treatment" where individuals are encouraged to alter the endings of their nightmares while they're awake. It's a form of cognitive therapy in which people can create an alternative, less distressing outcome to their dreams. Follow-up studies have shown that these kinds of therapies are effective, with upwards of 70% of people claiming to have experienced benefits (including people with PTSD and insomnia).

    Similarly, chronic bad dreamers are told to write down the details of their nightmare, or to draw or paint them. They're also encouraged to talk in fantasy to the characters of their dreams. And in all cases, they are told to imagine a more pleasant ending.

    Failing that, there are also pharmaceuticals that can help. The most effective drug is called prazosin, which is used extensively to help patients with PTSD. The drug is also typically used to treat high blood pressure, anxiety, and panic disorders.

    And lastly, there are some simple (and commonsense) things you can do to stave of nightmares, including relaxation techniques (like yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises), physical exercise, and ensuring that your bedroom is a relaxed and stress-free environment. It's also recommended that no food, alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine be taken before bed.

    Hope I have been of some help

    Mia x

  • 8 years ago

    Try clearing your mind, don't think too much. Life is here. its gonna be okay. after a storm, there will be a rainbow. try thinking of happy thoughts Try warm milk and little bit of honey in it before bed, it will help your brain relax and help you sleep better.

  • 8 years ago

    Drink lots of water before you go to bed. It seriously helps more than people would think.

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