Nightmare disorder or night terror is a mystery, but yet, they are terrible and fearful feelings that we feel while sleeping. Nightmares disturb our sleep.

Nightmares or night terrors are common in kids. But it can happen at any age. Gladly, most people will only experience night terrors once in a while. But to many others, night terrors happen too often, or even daily. 72% of alcoholics and drug abusers are more likely to experience night terrors and nightmares.

Nightmares or night terrors are common, but nightmare disorder is rare but dangerous. Nightmare disorder is when a nightmare happens often.

Features or symptoms of nightmare disorder: –

  1. Your dream seems real and unpleasant.
  2. Your dream awakens you.
  3. You feel disturbing, anxious, or fear full.
  4. You feel your heart is pumping loudly.
  5. Day time tiredness and squat energy
  6. All this happens constantly or often.

There are some ways that you can overcome your nightmare disorder or night terrors.


1. Nurture a good sleep routine

Healthy sleep is crucial to get rid of nightmare disorder. Nightmare disorder occurs due to insufficient or improper sleep, which a person needs.

One of the most operative ways to treat nightmare disorder in adults is to cultivate a proper sleep routine. You have to build a night sleeping or bedtime routine and tips for getting rid of nightmare disorder.

Here are some steps you should follow;

  1. Minimize caffeine late at night. 
  2. Reduce unbalanced or long day time naps.
  3. Optimize your bedroom environment.
  4. Minimize late-night snacking

2. Reduce alcohol consumption

Alcohol can be a reason for restlessness and awakening throughout the night, which happens to be one of the leading causes of nightmare disorder. Most people consume alcohol to reduce their tensions or stress and to get a night of good sleep. Unfortunately, this is not the right solution as they thought.

After a few drinks, it’s hard to get proper and in-depth sleep. So, when adequate sleep is disrupted, nightmare disorder occurs. A research study on nightmare disorder and alcohol abuse found that 48% of alcoholics experience nightmare disorder. So, minimizing alcohol consumption will provide a useful and curing solution to nightmare disorder.

3. Practice stress-relieving activities

Stress and depression are one of the main reasons for nightmare disorder. Stress-relieving activities are perfect for deep sleep. Deep sleep can reduce the chances of a nightmare that disturbs a person. There are many stress-relieving activities that you can try to reduce your stress and anxiety.

Examples of stress-relieving activities are: –

  1. Rapid workouts
  2. Tactile activities such as trampolines, swings
  3. Spa or massage
  4. Dancing or aerobics
  5. Knitting
  6. Meditation, conscious breathing exercises
Practice stress-relieving activities

4. Don't lookout or read creepy content before bed

Everyone goes to bed for a good and relaxing sleep. No one climbs onto the bed to spend the whole night experiencing horrible dreams. So, watching scary content before bed can damage your quality of sleep.  

Not getting that quality sleep is terrible for mental health. Horror movies and other scary content disrupt the brain and caused nightmare disorder or night terror. So, you should watch mind relaxing videos or content to get better and deeper sleep.


5. Reduce anxiety and depression

Some of the most common reasons for insufficient sleep are depression, anxiety, and worries. These negative thoughts and emotions ruin a person’s ability to calm and relax. And being calm and relax are vital ingredients to fight nightmare disorder and get proper sleep,

These are some practical steps to decrease anxiety and depression: –

  1. Practice yoga, listen to music and learn relaxing techniques.
  2. Get enough sleep.
  3. Eat a healthy and stable diet.
  4. Exercise daily
  5. Acknowledge that you can’t control everything
  6. Maintain a positive attitude.

A positive routine, thoughts, and emotions is crucial to maintain proper sleep and fight night terror.

6. Don't eat before bed

Too much eating before bed can boost metabolism, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Overeating at night roots the brain to be robust and tip toward nightmare disorder. 

On the other hand, some people sleep better after eating a light meal. A research study concludes that there is a positive correlation between pre-sleep food intake and adverse effects on sleep quality. So, moderating food intake is vital if you don’t want to sleep with an empty stomach. 

However, given the amount of time required for digestion, it will be better to eat dinner 3-4 hours before sleeping. Given the high correlation between a heavy meal and night terror, avoid heavy meals before sleep.


7. Review Your Medication

Outdated medicine, chemical potency, and drug degradation will increase the chance of getting nightmare disorder. Unfortunately, most people don’t check their medication’s expiry date, which might affect the drug’s efficacy and leads to potential night terrors. 

More than 4% of people use sleeping pills to aid their sleep. CDC reports that more than 1 in 3 people age 60 and above reports to take sleeping aid for 7 hours’ sleep, but a majority of them don’t check the drug’s expiry date. Consuming expired drugs will negatively affect the medical intend and cause night terrors or nightmare disorder


Review Your Medication

8. Use a white sound machine

Bedroom silence is vital for good sleep. However, many people don’t like complete silence while sleeping, and some people like background noise while sleeping. A report by the National Institute of Health concluded that 80% of participants fell asleep within 5 minutes when exposed to white noise.

White noise machines do not help get sleep faster, but it allows people to get deeper sleep. The white sound machine can help our mental health by reducing anxiety and depression. Given that anxiety and depression are the leading causes of sleep disturbance resulting in nightmare disorder, using a white sound machine may get you the quality sleep you are looking for.

9. Rewrite the Ending

Nightmares affect health, primarily psychological health. A group of Australian doctors found a way to reduce or erase all these nightmares or night terrors from a person’s mind just in a few days using imagery rehearsal therapy. 

In imagery rehearsal therapy, the participant needs to list their nightmares and observations. Detailing these nightmares and comments in your own words could influence a cheerful ending to the nightmares. Reading aloud the nightmare’s desired positive outcomes could beat the nightmare horrors and improve the confidence to face these nightmares.


10. Investigate your psychological wellness

If none of the above suggestions work for you, you should consult a psychotherapist or sleep specialist. Through a psychotherapist, there is a good chance of diagnosing the causes and interpretation of these nightmares.

Different types of talk therapy can be the right treatments against psychological problems such as nightmares, anxiety, and insomnia. Unfortunately, more than 3 in 4 people with a potential mental health issue do not consult a psychotherapist for fear of discrimination, privacy, confidentiality, cost, etc.


Moving forward with Psychotherapy

Fortunately, offers a global ePsychotherapy platform that allows clients to book an online anonymous private appointment with a broad skill range of psychotherapists at an affordable cost and desired schedule.

Alternatively, if you need to seek psychotherapy, be sure to check out Ahealo is an online psychotherapy platform with a diverse range of psychotherapists for many different fields of mental challenges. Ahealo provides ePsychotherapy at an affordable price, confidential, convenient (through a web page 1-1 private video call), and at your comfortable schedule. 

With these options, we believe your insomnia can be resolved soon.

Take care and stay well.