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To ask how to stop nightmares

19 replies

PerverseConverse · 02/11/2018 19:27

Most nights, within the first 30-45 minutes after switching off my light I wake up having had a bad dream. They aren't particularly scary, more what I call anxiety dreams. I often wake from them convinced there is someone in my room (there isn't and the house is secure). This has been going on for about a year now if not longer.
I've always woken several times a night from being a child and am now in my 40s so regular waking is normal to me. Some nights (rarely) I sleep uninterrupted until around 4am. I can count on one hand the number of nights I've slept through as it were until it's time to get up around 6.30am.
I often read for a while before bed, don't watch tv, don't drink tea after 2pm, don't drink alcohol, don't eat dinner late, and have been giving my phone a rest at bedtime too. Changes to my usual bedtime routine don't seem to affect things in any way.
Sometimes I am asleep by 9.30pm if particularly tired, other nights I stay up reading until 11pm. On nights where I'm asleep earlier I do seem more likely to have bad dreams.
I'm not particularly tired in the day and never nap. Single mum of 3 with no help so tired is my normal. Stress levels are high but have been similar for the past 6 years with various peaks in that time.
Has anyone experienced this or know anything I could try to stop them happening? I'm starting to dread falling asleep.

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StuntCroissant · 02/11/2018 19:32

Sounds odd but what do you wear to bed - could you be over-heating? If I wear too much in bed (eg long pyjamas) I wake up from a nightmare without fail - I think it's my body's way of waking me up to take a layer off.

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Magik1 · 02/11/2018 19:35

Sorry to hear you're going through this OP. Are you on any form of medication? Do have any history of anxiety or depression? There may be an underlying sleep condition that hasn't been diagnosed. Have you spoken to your GP/doctor?
It could even run in the family, not helpful I know but it can be hereditary as well.

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JuniorDetective · 02/11/2018 19:37

Are they the same dream? I had a repetitive nightmare when young and used to say "I will know I am dreaming" x3 before going to sleep and then when I had the dream I knew it was a dream. I've had lucid dreams on and off since. Love lucid dreams!

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NotSuchASmugMarriedNow1 · 02/11/2018 19:39

I know this sounds really strange but try to take control of your dreams. For example, when I was a kid I used to dream there was a lion after me and it used to wake me every night. My dad told me I could control my dreams and that next time the lion appeared in my dream, I should chase him instead of him chasing me.

Bizarelly, it worked.

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Pizzaformytea · 02/11/2018 20:07

I sometimes have something similar that from speaking to my gp and doing a bit of research seems to be more night terrors than a nightmare - I wake up absolutely convinced there is something in my room trying to harm me, I've thrown pillows across the room etc to "stop" it. I'm fully awake but also in a weird dream state ifyswim.
My gp suggested herbal sleeping tablets to try and relax and "reset" my sleep pattern - they have helped a bit, but I think they happen most for me when I'm stressed, so that might be more why they help!
Worth talking to a gp, there might be other things they can suggest, or even refer you to a sleep specialist.

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didyouseetheflaresinthesky · 02/11/2018 20:19

Music helps. Try leaving the radio on quietly in the background on a station that plays fairly relaxing songs or on a talk show.

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Howmanysleepstilchristmas · 02/11/2018 20:21

Cbd cures my nightmares. Have you tried taking that before bed?

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userabcname · 02/11/2018 20:29

Is it sleep paralysis? I used to suffer from this badly. Once I realised what it was and researched it a bit, I became less scared as I understood what was going on. After that, they hugely reduced for me. Now I know when I'm likely to get it (very tired and either just as I fall asleep or as I'm waking up) and when I recognise it start to happen (my first sign in a ringing in my ears) I think "oh not this again!" and it all goes away and I wake up properly. Sounds silly but it works for me.

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haverhill · 02/11/2018 20:29

It could be that your mind has just got used to having these anxiety dreams at a certain time and you need to break the pattern.

I sometimes listen to a Headspace guided meditation before bed; they are as short as 3 minutes and do seem to quieten my mind.
I would also try something like Kalms - they make one type for nighttime.

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Bracknellite · 02/11/2018 20:54

I find relaxing while dropping off leads to fewer bad dreams so I put either a mindfulness or ASMR video (but hide the screen so it’s audio only) from YouTube.

Also the old cliche warm milk or horlicks helps too.

Good luck

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BrinjalPickle · 02/11/2018 21:05

I used to suffer from sleep paralysis but find sleeping on my side rather than my back helps.
I also listen to a relaxation app as I fall asleep which helps.

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PerverseConverse · 02/11/2018 22:07

Sorry I can't remember who posted what and can't see the comments whilst typing.

I like to sleep cool. I have the window open and can't sleep if I'm too warm or have thick PJs on.

I have a long history of depression and anxiety from childhood but this has only been happening for the past year or so.

I've been able to control my really scary nightmares since childhood. For example if running away from something and I'm getting nowhere, I discovered when I was about 8, that if I turn myself round and run backwards I can run faster and get away. Once I turn round I usually wake up very quickly. If it's a bad nightmare I can usually wake myself up from it as I know I'm dreaming and it's not real. My children think that's really cool. My mum thinks I'm abnormal 

These are more like anxiety dreams with maybe nothing specific but a sense of fear and dread but once I wake up I don't tend to recall what they were about. Proper nightmares will really disturb me and upset me but these are difficult to define most of the time.

I did mention it to the GP in the summer as I thought my thyroid might be dodgy but all the bloods came back smack bang in the middle of the normal range. I was generally tired, more so than normal, muscle aches, weight gain, muscle cramps, feeling cold yet sweaty, hair falling out, dry skin, periods went haywire. Went on for months but has settled now. No cause found.

I will try some relaxing music/meditation things but have misophonia and get very irritated with any noises if trying to sleep.

Thanks for all the replies!

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BlueNeighbourhood · 02/11/2018 22:29

I’ve had them for the past few years and I definitely think they are linked to stress.

It’s exactly as you describe and it’s to do with being in the first stage of your sleep cycle and not completely switching your mind off, that’s why they happen at that point. I usually wake up myself around 3am or 3.15am as in my head I associate that time with terror and the Amytville stuff and always have - and I’m sure it’s linked. It’s only if I am completely wiped out I will sleep straight through to my alarm, that happened last night actually.

I’m going to see a sleep specialist in December anyway. So hopefully they can help as I’m spending every day at work exhausted.

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BlueNeighbourhood · 02/11/2018 22:31

The dreams are also the same as yours, where I know I’m asleep and can wake myself up from it. I always dream I’m in my bed and something is in my bedroom trying to pull my duvet away and the terror is awful, I did learn eventually that if I yawn in my dream it helps wake me up from it.

It’s weird how there is actually someone else who suffers from this!!

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PerverseConverse · 02/11/2018 23:32

Argh two weird ones already! Knew within the last one that I'd be able to wake myself up before I got to the point in my dream of having to decide whether or not to risk getting the bus home alone after midnight or get a taxi. Meanwhile I was in a pub loo pushing someone else's vomit covered tissues down the loo when something fell out of my pocket into the bowl. It was some money and also my house key so had to fish them out. My hand remained dry and vomit free. Then there's a group of girls outside in the sink area and I can see them through the frosted glass and pretty sure they can see me say there on the loo. One is discussing her wanker of a boyfriend and I want to tell her to stop wasting her time with him. Before I went to the loo a guy gave me a look that had me worried he was going to follow me into the loo as he clocked me collecting my keys off the table and headed to the loo behind me. He then disappeared but was the guy my friend had recently had an affair with. On the table there was two bits of food. One was a piece of dried pineapple and I wanted to eat it but didn't know if it was ok and knew I'd probably end up with food poisoning so left it. All the time I'm worrying about how I'm getting home safely and knowing I'm dreaming. Nothing overtly scary but the anxiety was palpable about the man and getting home safe. All inspired by my mumsnet reads today I think but it's that anxiety and unease in the dreams that's very unsettling.
Sorry, other people's dreams are really boring but writing it down whilst fresh for my own benefit as I'll forget. Will maybe get a dream diary and see if there's a them. Don't worry I won't bore you with my dreams again! 

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MsNowtyBach · 02/11/2018 23:39

I have anxiety dreams and they are horrible.

The sense of panic, waking up and disturbing my family, sleeps waking, confusion.

Anti depressants really helped to abate mine.

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Naveloranges · 02/11/2018 23:50

My dreams are insane. There can be several different themes with lots of people, colours, objects etc. They really are incredible; not frightening although I do sometimes dream about getting away from terrorists etc. They feel so real.

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elliejjtiny · 03/11/2018 00:26

I get nightmares. I think mine are caused by hormones as I always get them when I am pregnant and in the few nights before my period comes.

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LeMesmer · 03/11/2018 00:31

I have the same thing, it is almost as though you are semi conscious, you know it is a dream. Sometimes they are are terrifying, sometimes liberating. In a ‘good ‘ dream I can decide to fly somewhere and it feels great. The bad ones I know I am dreaming but there is still a feeling of absolute panic and terror. They are entirely different from dreams when you are in a deep sleep and you aren’t really aware of it until you wake up.

The only thing I have found useful is to wake myself up (takes time but you can do it), then read for a while until you are absolutely exhausted, when you go back to sleep it doesn’t happen. Either that or have a drink, I never get them after a couple of beers Grin.

Probably not helpful Pervese but at least you aren’t alone.

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