Shane has had various bouts of recurring nightmares and likes to share those experiences with others who may also be struggling.
What Causes Nightmares and How Do I Get Rid of Them?
Most people enjoy dreaming—even if their dreams are weird. But nightmares are an entirely different matter altogether, and trying to stop them is a difficult task. Not many people know a lot about nightmares. So, when they experience one—as opposed to a regular dream—far too many people dismiss it as being something that simply "just happens" as opposed to being a sign of some deeper problem or trauma.
What a lot of people don't realize is that nightmares often have symbols that can reveal a lot of hidden trauma if looked at using dream interpretation. Nightmares are terrible, can be traumatizing, and often can act as an indication that something is seriously wrong. This is especially true of recurring nightmares.
Trying to stop recurring nightmares can be difficult. I've had recurring nightmares at several points in my life: some reoccured night after night, while others would return once every few years. The ones that return sporadically seem to pop up out of nowhere. They then quickly fade away again the very moment I wake up in a panic over something I've already partially forgotten.
Nightmares are often an indication that something is wrong or out of balance in your life. This could be due to stress or hormonal imbalances, or perhaps your subconscious is trying to deal with something that you're not dealing with. Oftentimes, a nightmare can be a sign of a repressed problem or a traumatic memory that comes out subconsciously in the form of a nightmare.
How Do You Get Rid of Nightmares?
Well, anyone who has had recurring nightmares can tell you that figuring out how to stop them isn't easy. Part of the problem is that there are several different causes of these night terrors. Without knowing the root cause of your bad dreams, it's hard to interpret your nightmares and figure out what course of action to take.
That said, there are four main causes that I've found for most nightmares:
- Physiological changes in your body
- Spiritual experiences*
Usually the cause of virtually any nightmare will come from one of these four factors, which I'll go over in the next sections. Hopefully this helps you begin to consider what might be the possible cause of your own recurring nightmares. From there, you can begin to consider solutions.
*Not everyone believes in this fourth factor, and that's fine. Some people have no use for it, while others have found faith and spiritual practices to be a major tool in helping them deal with nightmares. This article isn't dealing with any great existential questions, but it is covering how spirituality has played a role for some people in their understanding of their nightmares.
Stress and Nightmares
One of the major causes of nightmares is stress, whether it be daily stress or stress related to life transitions. This is because stress affects your body physically and mentally and can cause hormonal changes and imbalances in your body.
Stress from large events that are considered negative (e.g., being unemployed or laid off) can cause nightmares, but so can the "hidden" stress of positive events (e.g., graduating high school or college). The pending moment of complete and total change can be stressful even for college students who have a job, career, or marriage lined up. Essentially, changes of this magnitude—even the good ones—cause major subconscious stress.
Think about the unknowns looming for:
- High school students leaving home for the first time.
- College graduates moving out of state and into the job market.
- Someone switching jobs for the first time, especially if it's from a job to a career.
- Someone getting married.
- Someone getting divorced.
- Someone going overseas.
- Individuals going to Basic Training for the military.
Read More From Exemplore
This is just a small list of major changes that could cause a shock to an individual's system, even when the change could be considered a good thing. This subconscious stress is fertile soil for nightmares as our subconscious grapples with stress of changes in our waking life.
Sometimes having a dream interpretation book can help navigate nightmares during these times of transition, because some nightmares are very symbolic. It's extremely weird how this works, but for many people, symbols in dreams often mean the same thing.
Snake Nightmares: An Example of Common Nightmare Symbolism
One such example of a common nightmare that revolves around a commonly shared dream symbol is one that involves snakes. This dream usually doesn't occur just because you're afraid of snakes, but because snakes often represent hidden dangers or fears that you haven't dealt with—or noticed—at the conscious level. For example, if a snake shows up when you are around a certain person in your dream, it might be warning you that this person is dangerous and/or is giving off signals that maybe they shouldn't be trusted.
I've had several snake nightmares in the past, and in the last one the snake bit me while another person was standing there. That individual in my waking life fit the description of someone who wasn't to be trusted. He had never treated me badly, but I was aware of his character, and knew he was the type of person who could drop the friendship like a bad habit.
In another snake nightmare, I was stranded on a roof and the entire world below was covered in snakes—I had nowhere else to go. This was shortly before my parents' business went bankrupt, bullying at school got even worse, the family emotionally fell apart, and the most terrifying supernatural experience of my life occurred. Through my own interpretation, I have come to understand that this dream symbolized my own deeply-rooted fear that I would transition from high school to college only to discover that nothing in my life had changed for the better.
Ways to Reduce Nightmares Caused by Stress
If your nightmares are indeed linked to stress, one of the first steps you can take is to recognize what the most stressful aspects of your life are. Once you identify possible contributing stressors, you can then attempt to deal with the ones you have any control over.
Sometimes just openly admitting to stress and uncertainty is enough for your body to find relief from nightmares. But if acknowledging your stress doesn't cut it, trying basic stress reduction tools can often help. For example, you could try taking one day off just for yourself, getting a massage, doing yoga, or whatever else helps you relax. If that's a five-hour walk, put on the walking shoes! Meditation, prayer (if that's your thing), or exercise are also all great techniques for dealing with it.
Try to prioritize getting enough sleep, and practice learning not to stress out over the things you have no control over. For many individuals, these actions can be enough to help prevent recurring nightmares.
Favorite Dream Interpretation Book
Coping With Nightmares Related to Past Trauma
A nightmare can be related to trauma, whether the traumatic event has been repressed or not. Sometimes a survivor will relive the event in their nightmares with minor details changed, over and over again. A classic example of this could be if you were in a building that was taken over by gunmen. If this lead to an extended stand off, and especially if individuals died, you could end up dreaming about this over and over.
If this is a case of a conscious memory being repeated as the cause of trauma—and likely the cause of nightmares—then the way to "cure" the nightmares is going to likely be through therapy. Working with a licensed professional therapist to help you directly deal with the traumatic situation may help to reduce recurring nightmares related to the event.
If the memory is repressed, then the most likely way to deal with it is to see a psychologist who can support you as you try to figure out what in your life is causing the nightmares. If there is a repressed memory, therapy can help you identify and deal with it.
This is the rarest cause of constant recurring nightmares, but one that should be recognized, nonetheless. There likely isn't anything short of professional help that can help you with this one.
Good Video on the Brain and Dreams
Physiological Changes Can Cause Reccuring Nightmares
Changes to your physical body can directly affect your mind and your dreams. There are a few possible factors that could contribute to physiological reasons why you might be experiencing recurring nightmares.
The obvious first culprit is medication. Certain medications are known to drastically increase your chances of having incredibly vivid dreams, including nightmares. Some of the prescription medications that have a bad reputation for this include anti-depressants, anti-histamines, and certain "stop smoking" aids. If you are having recurring nightmares and are taking medications with these side effects, you may want to talk to your physician about possible options.
This doesn't mean not to take these medications, because often times these medications are very important for your long-term health. It's just an invitation to be curious with your doctor about ways in which these medications could potentially be playing a role in your nightmares. If you're on a new medication and your dreams go to a very unhappy place, talk to your doctor to see if switching medication is an option for you. This alone might solve your problem.
A second factor that can impact us physiologically and impact our dreams is caffeine. This isn't true of all people. I'm a caffeine junkie and nowadays I have very few nightmares—maybe one or two a year for the last couple of years.
But caffeine is a stimulant that can keep your system moving at heightened levels. Some people who have caffeine within a few hours of bed find themselves more susceptible to nightmares than when they don't have caffeine close to bed. This wasn't personally a big game changer for me. However, I have a friend who suffered from once-a-month nightmares who swears they stopped for good once she cut her caffeine levels in half.
Getting enough rest is also important. Most nightmares take place during cycles of REM sleep. If you constantly don't get enough sleep, then you end up staying in a constant state of REM sleep instead of cycles, which can drastically increase the chance of nightmares.
Not getting enough rest can also make you tired physically, mentally, and emotionally, which can contribute to heightened stress. And as mentioned above, high levels of stress can contribute to regular nightmares.
Times of extreme change (e.g., adolescence and puberty) can also make you more likely to suffer from nightmares. These are times of incredible hormonal and physiological change.
Paying attention to all of these potential factors can help you to identify which ones may or may not be contributing to your own recurring nightmares. Once you have an idea of what could be the possible culprits, you can then try to make adjustments that hopefully reduce how frequently you experience nightmares.
Good Video on Dream Interpretation
Spiritual Causes of Recurring Nightmares
If you're one of those people who believe they're inherently better than 5 billion of the world's people because you're smart enough not to believe in the spiritual or supernatural, don't bother reading this section. For everyone else, I firmly believe—based on my own experiences—that sometimes nightmares are caused by a spiritual source.
Nightmares can plague individuals who live in a haunted house or haunted area, or for people who have dabbled in demon conjuring. There are a lot of different religious beliefs involving dreams, demons, and everything else, so I'll try to speak carefully and generally and if anyone is offended, it was not intended.
The reason some people are affected this way and others aren't is beyond me. I don't know why some people visit a haunted place and nothing happens, while others get traumatized for life. Nightmares that are caused by a spiritual source tend to be especially frightening.
Some possible telltale signs that your nightmare could be related to a spiritual source include an unusually high awareness during the nightmare of the fact that you are dreaming, but with none of the control that usually comes with this awareness. The nightmares can often feel chaotic, and/or they may not seem to have the same symbols that normal nightmares have.
In some ways, these types of nightmares are like nightmares on steroids. In my experience, they start off as weird dreams that suddenly become violently terrifying—it can feel as though you're being ambushed.
Another incredibly rare sign of possible spiritually-related causes is waking up with signs of physical damage on your body that are hard to explain. The most common of these rare cases tend to be waking up with claw marks, although in a few cases severe bruising has occurred.
The spiritual solution to recurring nightmares is difficult. I can't give a solution that isn't going to insult at least one person's religious beliefs, but many religions have text about spirits and demons. Essentially, if you believe you are dealing with a spiritual attack on yourself, then you need to look to the spiritual for a solution. These solutions not only usually involve a holy person who is a "professional" at dealing with such matters, but also a commitment from yourself to work with them to break free.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, my sympathies and prayers are with you, because I've been there more than once before. Ninety-nine out of one hundred times there isn't anything to fear from the "supernatural" (I love the convenience of this term, though I hate the term because the spiritual is perfectly natural, IMO). But when you're stuck with that other one percent, there's nothing fun about it.
The recurring nightmares related to spiritual causes are hard to deal with and hard to get rid of. However, it's important to note that the effort is not only worth it, but also necessary for peace of mind and soul alike.
Lucid Dreaming: Your Best Weapon Against Unwanted Nightmares
Lucid dreaming was an absolute game changer for me when it came to getting rid of not only frequent or recurring nightmares, but all nightmares, period. Even for bizarre dreams that are going in a nightmarish direction, I can now stop cold and "teleport" myself to places in my mind where nightmares can't get in.
Lucid dreaming is a type of dreaming in which you are aware that you're in a dream and are then able take control of the dream. This is actually a skill that can be learned by anyone and that means this is an incredible way to overcome nightmares.
That said, if you are experiencing recurring nightmares, you likely still want to reduce stress and look at possible factors in your life that might be affecting you. But if your last line of defense is lucid dreaming, you're actually in very good position to take charge of your dreams and make sure you get a great night's sleep.
Here is a step-by-step guide for starting lucid dreaming if nothing else seems to work:
- Focus right before bedtime. Concentrate on knowing that 1) you're about to go to sleep, 2) you are about to dream, and 3) you will control your dreams. Say this out loud if you need to, and do it nightly until it sticks.
- When you first close your eyes to sleep, focus on visualizing yourself in a dreamlike place. Be aware that you're dreaming. Even though you're technically not, this trains your conscious mind to think about being aware when dreaming. Acclimating your conscious mind in such a way will help you to stay aware as you move down into your subconscious mind while dreaming.
- Some people find it useful to identify a specific symbol that becomes associated with being in the dream state. For example, this could be a bounding red ball, a blue rose, or something else. Think color and a strong image when selecting a symbol.
- When you wake up, even if it's from a nightmare, write all the information down in a dream journal by your bed. This regular practice trains your mind to be prepared for lucid dreaming and gives you more control over dreams over time.
- Repeat these steps until you consistently can remember your dreams when you wake up.
- As you gain more awareness in your dream, begin to practice "warping." Many of my nightmares take place in one area. When I realize I'm in some version of that place in my dreams, I "warp" or "teleport" somewhere else, removing myself from where my nightmares have power. If you have a place that in real life has always felt safe and peaceful, practice teleporting yourself in your dreams to that.
- The first few times you "warp," you may have to mentally "wage war" to keep that spot safe. Put forward the mental effort to do so. That's your safe house—no nightmares allowed!
Step seven is important. When I was finally starting to get the hang of lucid dreaming, my safe space wasn't assured. In my mind, I popped into my grandfather's house in the mountains of Colorado because that was the safe space, but there was a shadowy figure looking in through the window. Mentally, I pushed back and repeated over and over "Impossible, no nightmares can get close to here." Eventually the brain gave up the fight. To this day, when I don't like the direction a dream is going, I appear in the mountain home—alone and safe, without feeling even a trace of another presence.
This is how I self-taught myself to use lucid dreaming to escape my nightmares. It's an absolute life (and sanity) saver that I hope will help you master your dreaming and get rid of those recurring nightmares once and for all.
Great Video on How to Quickly Learn How to Lucid Dream
Resources to Help Cope With Nightmares
- International Association for the Study of Dreams
- Befriending Nightmares | Spirituality & Health
Don’t run away. Engaging with dreams—even nightmares—can teach us a lot about our emotional selves.
- Nightmares: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment | Sleep Foundation
Nightmares can affect anyone, and when frequent, can harm sleep and daily life. Learn about nightmares, their causes, & how to reduce them.
- Adult Nightmares: Causes and Treatments
Nightmares aren't just for children. WebMD explains why adults may have terrifying dreams and the physical and emotional stress they can cause.
- Nightmare disorder - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
Nightmare disorder involves disturbing or scary dreams that awaken you, causing distress or preventing adequate sleep.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2008 Shane Dayton
Donna on November 03, 2016:
I have had 2 dreams that have really bothered me. The common thing with both dreams were me breaking down and crying and yelling at people to get out. Both times i have woken myself up crying and yelling get out. Im not sure what this means.
Saige on May 23, 2014:
Read this was very insightful though one thing that troublede greatly was the spiritual section. I'm not sure why, but reading it unsettled me and I myself am exhausted from my own nightmares/terrors.
Nitrospade on July 21, 2012:
I am a young boy in a small town. Please help me! I've been searching the web since I realized that I had a recurring dream, 5 years ago. The gaps in between my dream continue to get shorter, and I can't sleep when I have it. I'm not sure if it'll help, but I'll describe the dream.
It usually starts out with me in a very calming place; the seashore, a mountainside brook, a still pond in the moonlight, stuff like that. I'll walk around a bit, and then someone will appear, usually this girl I like, other times someone I don't know. The dream continues very peacefully. But then, unpredictably, I'll stop breathing in both the dream, and in reality. I wake up, finally, and usually find my hands around my throat.
Heather on July 08, 2012:
Please help I stayed round my friends (I don't really like her so I didn't want to but my mum begged to differ) anyway she made us watch a film called "The Woman in Black" you may think aww that silly thing? No. I can't stomac films, I hulisinate and scream and also stop sleeping without seeing the monster or ghost right up to my face when I shut my eyes! its Midnight now and I am only 12 but crying with fear and all my lights are on. Please help what should I do?! By the way she litrally forced me; chucked a telly remote at me pinned me down and sat on me ): in need of help NOW! thank you :'( x
julie on June 19, 2012:
I hope this blog isn't too old that I do get a response...I'm almost 6 months pregnant, I've been dating this guy for like a month, ever since he got out of jail, were only 23 24 yrs old, anyway he told me when he was in jail he was up late reading & saw something out of the corner of his eye & it flew at him, like a bat trying to bite him, it freaked him out so bad he had officers search his cell & he said he feels like he's haunted by whatever it was. I've had a near death experience when I was 19 I overdosed & had a massive heart attack, when I was 15 my dad killed himself, so spirtually I'm not much of a believer...I've tried to break up with this boy, & for the last 5 nights I have had disturbing dreams, 1st night I dreamt I was with him @ his house & got arrested, the next dream was having sex with him, the other night I watch a car accident watched people die, but this boy walked out of the car & I woke up, I remember my dreams I'm aware & last night was the worst dream of all, I have a 4 year old daughter I was molesting her, he sat in a chair in the corner of the room, I woke up crying, I'm so freaked out I feel that I'm being haunted by him!I don't feel
Patrick on May 31, 2012:
I watched my father die after a short illness, the chain stoking really freaked me out. My fathers been gone for 2 weeks now, but I'm having nightmares almost everynight . How can I stop these ? Please
amone on May 16, 2012:
i keep having bad dreams with the same blonde woman and her house, the first one involved her house and it being an abandoned maternity unit with bloody sheets and the more i tried to find my way out the darker and more gruesome it became but i was looking for my children, i found my way to find i couldn't get past the hedges in her garden and i couldn't find the people i had come with and i couldn't find my children, in this recent one i just woke up from crying and shaking this woman follwed me from the club i was in, cut a long story short i tried running through the gardens of her house to get to the other cashpoint in town, anmd as i was running someone was behind me i got flung out the way into the hedges and couldn't move i heard people tralking and then this awful breaking and ripping sound i needed to see who it was because they'd saved my life but from my position in this hedge i couldn't see over my knees without moving completely, woke up looking for my kids and checking they were ok before feeling the need to check my whole house as the ;ast time i was having trouble sleeping and having night terrors was when my dad was trying to get through to me via my duaugher so i hope to god this is not linked because i cant take anymore sleepless nights and my daughter being scared because 'the man was in her bedroom' again, need to get to the bottom of this before it spiralls out of control
Marites Mabugat-Simbajon from Toronto, Ontario on March 31, 2012:
I like to dream as much as I want some good rest. My nightmares on chickens (my phobia) take my breath away and I can't get over it quickly.
You have many other interesting hub titles I would like to read. I'll be back soon.
danny hunter on February 26, 2012:
man i think its so strange because i woke up with a weird scratch marked scar and no one can honestly see it except me.
Carly on February 18, 2012:
Hello and ty for the articler it helped a lot to understand what might be going on with me. I have a reocuring nightmare of snakes that are viciously attacking me and twice I was bitten in my dream on my neck. I felt helpless in the nightmares and fought my way through it by trying to find a way out of the nightmare. I have been going through a lot of stress and a lot of physical issues going on such as my heart as well as lack of sleep. When I do sleep its for short periods such as 1 1/2 to 3 hours at a time. I am in pain most of the night and I spend my night tossing and turning and find myself extremely tired when I finally need to get up to start my day. So on top of that I have these nightmares. Other than snakes I have had nightmares of harm from others. Terrifying and disturbing nightmares. I didn't realize until I read your article that stress can play a huge part in nightmares.
Bri on July 30, 2011:
I keep having a nightmare that I'm at my old elementary school dance, a friend and I walk to the bathroom but when we return everyone is gone except a man in a wheel chair who wants to kill us. We try to find ways out but the doors and windows are locked, so he corners us in a small room, telling us how he killed everyone else and we are left. Every time I have the dream it ends differently but I still wake up terrified.
Dream Analysis on July 11, 2011:
Recurring nightmares could be cause by a lot of things. Just really need to understand them.
collette on July 01, 2011:
is there anything else that causes recurring nightmares i don't think these apply to mine
Fluffy77 from Enterprise, OR on May 22, 2011:
Perhaps it's not just being isolated, but what may be there in that isolation. Think of it more this way, as something imaginary and dark then it seems almost too silly to be scared of the isolation part anymore. Since there was nothing there at all to harm you, but just your own imagination. Play this as a game with your self a few times, just to see how it goes. Oh, and check out my new hub on nightmares I have some of my own and how I handle them everyday. With a pole you can answer too. A.B.
Brk on May 19, 2011:
I keep dreaming that im totally isolated. I cannot lucid dream but its every time i sleep, any time of day. Its gotten to where im scared of my sleep...
Isolation is and always has been my largest fear, but i have lots of friends that love me and pray constantly. Any suugestions?
Fluffy77 from Enterprise, OR on May 05, 2011:
Like your Hub here, I find it useful and informative too. I'm very glad to see others with like minded topics to my own, thanks very much for sharing and keep it up. You should check out my hubs on my own recurring dreams, I have turned them into fictional stories I find this to help quite a bit.
Meg on January 01, 2011:
Sooo glad I'm not the only one, I feel like a "nut case"...Thanks and good luck to all!
Megan on December 27, 2010:
Thank you for this.
I believe mine is based on stress, since I grind my teeth to, and because my recurring nightmare is about spirits and the "supernatural" - whom I also believe in - it makes me extremely scared when I wake up from a nightmare/ the recurring nightmare. This is probably what causes the dreams; I just want to share my dream because It'll make me feel better.
It's usually about me and my sister, we're usually doing something that involves her locking our bedroom door before I can get in, only jokingly. And then 2 seconds larger something invisible drags me into another room and I can't escape, my sister can't here either. I usually wake up about there, but I can't get to sleep because I usually get it 3-4 times in a row, then it will do the same about 9 months later.
I will try harder to locate the sources of my stress and stop it.
indigo on December 25, 2010:
Thank you so much for this article as I have been having a recurring dream for the past month or so, every night it has been going further lately. I think it is caused by a constant anxiety of being put in a mental hospital for my past self destructive coping ways, in the dream I am walking down the hall of a mental asylum toward an old fashioned pay phone hanging off the hook && swinging very eerily, as if in a stop-motion movie. When I proceed to answer the phone all I hear is an half human half cat screech/scream then blades flip out of the mouthpiece && cut me from ear to ear. Then I am put into restraints by two nurses, both faceless, one with buttons for eyes && blood smears similating a wide smile (haha the eyes remind me of coraline) && the other has stitches in the shape of a smile from ear to ear && scars where eyes should be suggesting the gouging out of her past eyes.then one of them puts a finger to her "lips" as if telling me to quiet down. I am then taken down a hall where I look into windows && see similar nurses performing lobotomies or cutting out organs of patients in chains from the ceiling similar to the shackles used in slaughterhouses. At the end of the hall I am taken into an empty white hospital like room with nothing in it but a wheelchair with restraints && a medical supply desk with a bone saw, marker, syringe, && scalpel, the "nurses" then proceed to draw dashed lines around my eyes && major organs, with a line toward each tear duct, suggesting lobotomy. I woke up after I was cut from crown to stomach. ----12/25/10, just short of a horror movie right? Haha everything's good now that I know to just remember to dream lucidly tomorrow night && pray before I sleep. I think the reason for the dream elevating in the past few dreams is due to taking a walk with my cousins down an old railroad track, then finding bones, including a rib the same size as mine, making me realize that the bones could've easily been me if I kept being so wreckless with my life. This article really helped me figure out this twisted little nightmare, thanks(:
Kassie on December 04, 2010:
I too am having a dream like PJM... i get all tied up by someone i dont even know and they have my boyfriend tied up as well... they torcher him till he is almost dead and then they atart raping me... he tries to stop them and save me... but then he gets shot and killed... then they stop raping me and barry me with him. I have been having this dream now for a month and i cannot sleep... when i told my boyfriend about the dream he got all worried about me. i just had one now and woke up and was screaming and crying.
I was on anti-depressants in the past 2 years... i stopped taking them in may (after i took 28) cause they were making me suicidle. I just want them to stop.
PJM on October 27, 2010:
Thank you for this article . I am at a point in which I do not know which way to turn . I feel that no one understands me as every morning I wake in a state from my dreams .
Sometimes I cannot remember what I was dreaming but still I am in a state as I know something disturbed me in my sleep .
Sometimes I feel I cannot breath - someone is tying a belt around my chest and I know that if I do not pull myself to wake up , by moving my foot , finger - anything I will not wake up .
last night I had a dream that I stabbed someone many times as he came into my house and was planning on killing me . I just beat him to it . Or so I thought . Then as I tried to leave the house he came down the stairs in my brothers clothes and smiled at me . I knew he was going to kill me . Then I woke up .
I am still shaking some hours later and I am deeply scared to a point that my hands are sweating . And I think to top it all my boyfriend does not understand . ' It is just a dream ' he says .
Please help .
Thank you .
Tess on October 24, 2010:
Thanks.. This has helped me mainly.. Now I think I need to talk to my doctor.. :)
Shane Dayton (author) from Cedar Rapids, IA on September 22, 2010:
Appreciate the great comments. And my sympathies with everyone having problems. I briefly touched on this in my hub, but another thing to look at is "Lucid Dreaming." Now nearly 100% of my nightmares occur in dreams that feature an old house my family used to live in, one where I had the most traumatic and terrifying experience of my life. Every time I'm dreaming and it's at that property, I know a nightmare or "ambush" is coming. This is where I use lucid dreaming, because for whatever reason, there is one real life location (an old house in Colorado my grandfather owned) that in my dreams was like a sanctuary - for whatever reason no nightmare could enter, no spiritual attack could penetrate it. Because of this, whenever a dream starts at my old property, I concentrate to put my dream self into the safe place: my grandpa's house.
You can actually train yourself into lucid dreaming. For some people it's more natural than others (for example, I was stunned the first time I found out some people didn't lucid dream at all and that most never experienced it more than 10%-20% of the time because I was so used to being aware of dreaming and being able to control the dream), but you can teach yourself to recognize a dream and then take control of one when it's turning to a nightmare. This is a good link as an overview of lucid dreaming:
Hope this helps!
RoseGardenAdvice from San Francisco on August 15, 2010:
Your hub brought back memories of a recurring nightmare I used to have whenever I took a nap in the afternoons (should I call it an afternoonmare then?! lol) .. this was when I was a kid. I always dreamt that a stranger chased me all the way to a cliff and then pushes me off and I would freefall and invariably wake up on the ground as i would hv fallen off the bed. Interpretation of Dreams (I think) by Sigmund Freud is a good reference book for dreams. Thanks for putting together this hub. Very well written.
RemmieRat4ever on July 08, 2010:
I have so many bad dreams, from being cheated on to being murdered, and so many other things. It's quite scary.
KKalmes from Chicago, Illinois on June 17, 2010:
Jerry, this is so weird because I linked my recent hub to your hub about dreams and a recurring dream is happening in my hub story... The Great American Novel - Chapter 1, Page 2... it's my first attempt at writing a novel and I'm doing it in my hubs.
Check it out because this is really weird...
cp1978 on June 06, 2010:
Hi Jerry, It was a nice article. I have been a victim of nightmares since childhood. They were so scary that I will shout oooo........oooo.....oooh in a very grotesque mannerand people sleeping near to m will be terrified unbeleiveably. I do not know the reason why? I am very much afraid of supernatural characters and I even do not watch horror movies. This problem is really chronic and even now also I do experience scary dreams and shout in a very horrifying voice. I feel ashamed when people tell me their experience of telling me my behaviour in my dream. Please help.
gramarye from Adelaide - Australia on April 19, 2010:
Jerry, great hub with sound ideas, I agree with you completely. This is really good.
Ray Ray on April 01, 2010:
ok my friend has been having these nightmares but it all started around september and its bout her best guy friend who she likes but he's beating her... and he has never laid a finger on her or even threatened her... she doesn't know how these could happen.. and then they stopped around a month later but now after she got into a fight with him.... they have been ocurring a lot lately... and shes soo scared that one day it will happen... help me?
Shane Dayton (author) from Cedar Rapids, IA on March 21, 2010:
Those can definitely be terrifying experiences. The near death experiences could definitely have something to do with it. I've had these issues for years, but they definitely intensified after I nearly died, as well. Prayer before sleep is definitely good, and so is having a "holy place" (doesn't have to be real or a truly holy place in "real life") in your dreams that is safe from any type of attack. If you can establish this, then every time you have a dream and realize something bad is approaching, you can retreat to that safe place. This was a huge tactic for me over several years. It's not a huge issue now, though it still crops up from time to time. Environment is definitely a major factor for such things. I take it by the "used to" that you don't have these problems any more, so I'm glad to hear you found your way to win the fight. Take care, and thanks for commenting!
Angel Ward from Galveston, TX on March 21, 2010:
I used to have horrible nightmares, or even attacks in my dreams....sleeping paralysis and astral projection, but not on purpose or for fun, it was awful. I would wake up and my body would be asleep, so I would see things like dark figures throwing me around and it actually hurt but not in a normal way...I would even wake up and think i was awake look around and realize I was 3 feet above my body....very scary to a teenage girl! I have almost died a few times so I wonder if it has anything to do with it, I finally got them to stop with a lot of prayer and learning to, as one person above said, even pray in my sleep and in dreams... Just in case I was too weak or out of it to pray, I would sat my alarm clock to Christian music when the nightmares where at a climax....it actually worked, whether your a christian or not I no personally those dark things hated the sound and literally fled.....
Dream Interpretation on March 16, 2010:
I found your post, very nice, since i saw the title. Good work!
Dreamdictionary on March 09, 2010:
WOW what an interesting post. You may want to check our my fav dream dictionary at http://www.auntyflo.com it has lots of information about bad dreams and nightmares.
Beata Stasak from Western Australia on December 08, 2009:
The majority of our dreams are bad dreams and nightmares. Maybe we need to look at their positive side in our lives. They supposed to prepare us for the similar situations in our real lives. It is said that without dreams there would be no humanity. Maybe they are not so bad after all. They teach us to deal with scary, threatening situations and make us emotionally more strong. What we experience in real life can be always less scarry after all.
Shane Dayton (author) from Cedar Rapids, IA on December 02, 2009:
Thanks to everyone for the comments. Always sorry to hear about recurring nightmares, I know how much they can lower quality of life. There was a two year span where every night I had a recurring nightmare, and it wore on me and affected every part of my life. Sorry to hear about the nightmares, ash, if you've tried everything on here I guess my last suggestion would be to research lucid dreaming. Some people can train themselves to have an unusual amount of awareness or control during their dreams. This is probably my best defense whenever nightmares from a past haunting keep trying to force their way back. That nightmare is setting based, so when I realize what's going on, I can concentrate on changing the setting or moving away from it to help stymie the nightmare before things get too bad. Hope over time you figure out something to help bring you peace.
ash2400 on December 02, 2009:
nice hub but i am still having nightmares
paulweb on September 16, 2009:
thank you Jerry for such an insightful analysis, I remember having recurring dreams about my grandparents' house; where I spent a lot of time as a child.
here is a tip for easy dream interpretation if you have trouble remembering your dreams, keep a notepad next to your bed and when you wake up in the morning, write down what you remember as fast as possible, as you get into the habit, you will remember in more detail and you will remember all your dreams.
more info at : http://dreamcatchercounselling.com/
catwoman89 on September 07, 2009:
fascinating stuff. Thanks for the article. One of my students is having an awful one, night after night, about witnessing a much-loved boy dying in a car crash. I am helping her edit a paper about it.
ALB21467 from United Arab Emirates on September 02, 2009:
When I'm having nightmares? I just pray to GOD even while Dreaming it will stop or I woke up and never repeats!
CN on August 08, 2009:
phew this opened up so many new ideas as to why my friend is experiencing recurring nightmares. thankyou!
Raggits on July 31, 2009:
Great hub. Remember the movie DREAMSCAPE with Dennis Quaid and Kate Capshaw.
Aimee on June 06, 2009:
That was very helpful.Thanks
Dardrae from Wheat Ridge, Co on June 04, 2009:
glad to see someone with a grip on what they're talking about :) Good deal
MsMazz from Sydney, Australia on April 19, 2009:
Thanks! That was really helpful :)