A man laying on his pillow contemplating his nightmares.

Why Am I Getting Nightmares?

Have nightmares been plaguing your sleep and interfering with your waking life?

You are not alone. Research shows that 2-8% of adults have problems with nightmares. Though more common in children, adults who struggle with nightmares may do so for the following reasons:

Nightmare disorders can be extremely problematic. In some cases, they can be warnings from the subconscious mind, sending messages to the dreamer and urging them towards caution regarding something in their waking life.

In many cases, they result from some sort of trauma that has not been dealt with and often requires extensive shadow work and therapy to help heal the inner wounds that have been inflicted.

They can interfere with sleep, leaving you tired and ratty the next day. They can leave you feeling frightened upon waking, and sometimes the effects can last for hours.

It is important to recognize that nightmares happen for a reason. They are not there to be ignored. It is often the subconscious mind’s way of letting the conscious mind know that something isn’t right, that something requires attention.

Reoccurring nightmares are especially telling, and there is a sense of urgency that accompanies them. Something needs to be addressed. Ignoring it will not make it go away.

Read this next: How to Get Your Sleeping Pattern Back on Track

How the Pandemic Has Given Us Nightmares

It comes as no surprise that the impact of COVID has increased nightmares in some people. This pandemic has had a potent and often damaging effect on mental health across the globe. To be thrust out of one’s comfort zone and to experience sudden confinement and a sudden lifestyle change is not an easy thing to deal with.

The dramatic shift that occurred in such a short amount of time, which came as a shock to many, had a profound impact on our mental health, and, for some, this included an increase in nightmares.

It has been tough for those who are not used to nightmares nor familiar with such a sudden lifestyle change, as their minds have had to adapt quickly to the change in circumstances.

It comes as no surprise that the subconscious mind is working overtime! Stress, anxiety, and depression due to the pandemic have been on the rise.

But there are ways we can help ourselves, and it is important to acknowledge this. We do not have to be overwhelmed or consumed by the negative emotions inside us. We can tackle them and get them under control.

How to Stop or Manage Nightmares

If you are looking at ways to stop/manage nightmares, the following suggestions can be very helpful.

1. Look at the Cause

Nightmares don’t just pop up out of nowhere. There is always a reason for them. The job of our conscious mind is to find out what that reason is.

Therefore, shadow work and therapy can be very helpful in finding out the cause of your nightmares. It could be that you are especially sensitive to the spirit world or that you are sensitive to Ley Lines (a good way to test this is if you sleep in a different town or city and find you are sleeping better than your place of residence).

It could be that trauma from your past is still negatively affecting you, and therefore this trauma requires healing work to help you move on.

You might also like: How to Use an Oracle Deck for Shadow Work

2. Relax Your Mind & Meditate

It might sound like such a simple suggestion, but even ten minutes of meditation a day can really help your well-being.

It is especially effective to meditate before bed.

Avoid watching films or shows - especially the horror kind - before bed. In fact, avoiding them completely is the best thing to do if you are struggling with nightmares. As fun and exciting as they can be, they are feeding your subconscious with fear.

Nightmares always have an element of fear attached to them, and the goal is to reduce the fear, not increase it.

3. Don’t Dwell

It is easier said than done, but it is essential after a nightmare not to dwell on it.

You will be tempted to. There is something about immersing yourself in the horror that can be very inviting. But this is the worst thing you can do because the more you dwell on it, the more the negative energy will consume you.

This doesn’t provide a good start to the day, and it can also contribute to more stress later on in the day.

In terms of a managing technique, as soon as you wake from the nightmare, resist the urge to lie there and soak in the horror. Resist the urge to try and remember every detail.

Don’t feed it. It’s already zapped you of your joy during sleep; don’t let it do the same while you are awake.

Write down the parts you remember if you are engaged in shadow work, but when you wake up, pull yourself out of bed, put some happy music on, write down three positive affirmations and repeat them to yourself as you begin your day.

The effects of the nightmare will wear off faster than if you dwell on it.

4. Combat Negative Sleeping Life with Positive Waking Life

The mind is a curious thing, and it responds to what we choose to put in it.

We may not be able to deal stop nightmares when they are happening, but we can take steps to tackle them when we are conscious.

This involves being as positive as possible while we are awake. Rather than allowing the misery the pandemic has inflicted on us to get the better of us, we should focus on the positives.

Things as simple as feeling grateful for being alive, or that the sun is out or being able to communicate with loved ones, or our romantic relationships bringing us a sense of comfort, and our creative projects bringing us a sense of fulfillment - all of this help to contribute towards our sense of well-being.

The more positive we stay in waking life, the more positive energy we provide our mind with, and the more we can tackle our nightmares.

Read this next: Learning to Love Yourself When You’re Lonely

Nightmare Disorders Do Not Need to Control Your Life

If you suffer from nightmare disorders, shadow work is likely essential in your life and if you have already engaged with this, keep pushing through. The effects of trauma run deep, but you have the power to conquer it.

If your nightmares are relatively new and possibly the effect of the pandemic, then remember that the pandemic will not last. Don’t allow the negative energy that threatens to consume you during this period to get the better of you.

You will grow stronger and wiser from this experience, and it could be that your nightmares will fade entirely.

If they do not, keep remembering that nightmares do not have to control our lives to such a degree that all we experience is misery, and all we feel is fear. Like all other aspects of life within our control, nightmare disorders are something we can get a hold of if we take steps to do so.

Related article: 5 Things We Need to Keep After Quarantine Fades

Sarah Brownlee

Sarah Brownlee

Having worked as a teacher, a bartender, and even a private investigator, writing was something Sarah Brownlee just fell into, even though it had been her passion since she was a little girl. To date, she has written and published 3 Children and Young Adult fiction novels, ghostwritten for others, and... Read More

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