Thursday, May 22, 2014

Put Nightmares in Proper Perspective

I have a lot of dreams, usually every night, and they are usually pretty intense and often frightening. I'm learning about these nightmares and how to view them so that they don't bother me as much. My counselor sent me this helpful article,

"Put Nightmares in Proper Perspective"

Put nightmares in proper perspective for better sleep

A surprising number of people are often disturbed by nightmares, disturbed to the point where it affects their ability to consistently get a good night’s sleep.  Here’s a few ideas to help put nightmares in proper perspective for better sleep.
First, rest assured if you are having a nightmare that you are in fact actually sleeping, and for those with trouble sleeping that’s a good thing right there.
Dreaming is a continuous process through sleep cycles, but typically the most vivid dreams occur during REM sleep. This suggests a nightmare is normally experienced during REM sleep, which means you can be assured of several more benefits beyond the fact that you are actually sleeping.
REM sleep normally occurs at the end of much deeper sleep phases.  So if you have a nightmare, you are in fact benefiting from the most restorative and physically refreshing stages of deep sleep that usually precede REM sleep.
Even if the nightmare is disturbing, in balance the physical benefits you receive from experiencing deep sleep are likely far more important to your overall well being.
Second, although the exact function of sleep and dreams is still not completely understood, many sleep experts believe dreaming and especially REM dreams help consolidate memory, process events, and help re-set one’s mood for a new day.   So even if you have a nightmare you can be assured that you are in fact processing events in your life as you should be through your dreams.
Some psychologists suggest that recurring nightmares are a symptom of trauma, stress, and anxiety experienced during waking hours.   If you are experiencing unusual stress or anxiety that affects your daytime functioning, counseling can help.  In this way professional counseling might also help reduce the frequency and intensity of bad dreams.
Finally, at the risk of stating the obvious, nightmares are in fact only dreams. They are not real. Reminding yourself of this might help you let them go, be less disturbed by them, and just accept them for what they really are — including the aforementioned significant benefits.
Putting nightmares in a realistic and accurate perspective might help you say what many of us say when we experience them: “Whew, I’m glad that’s only a dream!”
Nightmares are only dreams.  They can’t hurt you.
For more sleep tips and information on ways to sleep better naturally, or if you have a sleep-related question, feel free to contact us.