Laurel woke in fear, her heart racing and sweat dripping from her brow. Her sheets were drenched. This seemed like unending torture night after night. The images that chased her in her sleep tormented her mind and left her no rest. None of it made any sense. She was having graphic and gory stories of horror that she couldn’t escape, trapped in her own sleep. She found herself in one violent nightmare after another, so vivid and so real. If only she could rest.
Maybe you can relate to what Laurel experiences. It’s disturbing beyond measure to see yourself planted in a diabolical plot that always seems to be working against you. It’s not uncommon for our stress to seep into our sleep. Sometimes it’s off-putting and annoying but it doesn’t last long. Other times, it seems to consume us and all we want is rest. It’s important to keep in mind some helpful tools regarding nightmares.
- Having a violent dream doesn’t make you a violent person. Your nightmares do not define your character.
- Get fresh air and exercise each day to help tire your body the right way. Even if you go for a brisk walk, it will help.
- Your brain will find creative ways to “dump” stress, even while you sleep.
- You have the power to re-write your nightmares during your waking hours. Give them whatever ending you chose rather than letting the unconscious sleeping mind always control the outcome.
- Talk to someone you trust about your experience so you’re not isolated in your pain.
- Guard your heart and your mind. Don’t feed it extreme news and fiction during the day and then expect it not to affect you in the evening.
- If you have experienced trauma, your brain may be trying to process what has happened. This may mean it’s a good time to get professional counseling.
- You don’t have to “understand the meaning” of your nightmares to be able to heal from them.