How to Stop Having Nightmares

Terry Marks - Nightmare in a Mirror
Terry Marks - Nightmare in a Mirror | Source

Having Nightmares

Your heart is pounding, and your feet are running. You're trying so desperately to escape the terror that is closing in behind you...but then, you trip and fall. It was inevitable that you'd fall and let the monster overtake you. And then a flash...and you're awake.

You're covered in sweat; the blankets are sticking to your legs. Your eyes are wide open, waiting for the monstrous beast to attack you in your own bedroom. But alas, it was only a nightmare. Only a nightmare? To those of us who have experienced nightmares consistently or night terrors, you'll understand when we say that nightmares aren't merely just bad dreams. They can destroy a night's sleep, antagonize your mind, and dance on your emotions the entire next day.

There are many theories on what these nightmares are related to, how they originate, and how they escalate in one's mind and sleep patterns. Most scientists and scholars pass off nightmares for simple "bad dreams", a series of images playing in one's mind that have developed from the subconscious memory of an individual. However, there are those who believe nightmares can sometimes be something totally different...something a little more sinister. But no matter the cause for these horrific nightmares, the question and purpose to this article is to define how to stop having nightmares.

Dreamcatchers Can Catch Nightmares
Dreamcatchers Can Catch Nightmares | Source

Listen to This Young Man's Thoughts on Nightmares:

Stopping Nightmares for Adults

There are many things to do or try in the quest of stopping nightmares. For children, these things can be a little more difficult to accomplish, but if you are an adult and you're having nightmares you should give the things below a try (to see how to stop nightmares for children, scroll down further to the next section of this article).

Are you a spiritual person or more of a scientific person? If you answered spiritual, then I can tell you there are many different ways in stopping nightmares. Here are just a few:

Dreamcatchers: some Natives believe that dreamcatchers could filter out the bad dreams. Hang a dreamcatcher that you handmade or bought in your window or above the head of your bed to catch bad dreams in its web and allow the good dreams to flow through. If you don't have a dreamcatcher, hang a key upside down in your window. The metal is said to catch the nightmares, as well.

Prayer or Meditation: if you're not into the whole dreamcatchers bit but you are indeed a spiritually connected person, try prayer or meditation in order to learn how to stop having nightmares. Pray before you shut your eyes at night and believe that the nightmares have gone away for good. Meditate before bedtime, imagining only good coming from your dreams and your nightmares flying out of the window forever.

Visualization: whenever I have horrifying nightmares, I always do a visualization technique in order to stop having nightmares. I visualize a circle of white light around my entire body, and then around my entire house. The white light dispels any negative energy or spirits and leaves room for only light. You can try this visualization after you've had your nightmares or before you go to bed at night to learn how to stop having nightmares.

Smudging/Cleansing Rituals: another wonderful way in stopping nightmares can be to use sage or cedar and smudge your home. Smudging with sage or cedar clears and purifies the energy in your home...getting rid of any negative or evil energies or spirits that might be lingering, ready to cause your nightmares tomorrow night. Whenever I have had bouts with sleep paralysis (which has only been twice) or horrible nightmares, I wake up the next morning and do a smudging with white sage and my house feels instantly better. The next night and months afterwards, I do not have any nightmares. Check out my hub on smudging for more information.

On the other hand, if you're not into spirituality and believe in pure science, stopping nightmares might be a little more difficult for you. Why do I say this? I believe that our dreams are connected to our souls and not merely just useless images displaying in our sleeping minds at night. The only suggestion I have to stop having nightmares in a less spiritual way is to only watch good television shows or none at all, and picture good things in your mind before going to sleep at night. Also, getting more sleep might be needed as nightmares can increase if you're sleep regimen is lacking. Watch what you eat before bedtime too, as some foods can cause nightmares as well.


How are you stopping nightmares?

  • Count to 3 and wake myself up.
  • Don't go back to sleep.
  • Watch TV and go back to sleep.
  • Prayer or meditation.
  • Smudging or Cleansing ritual.
  • Altering my sleep and diet patterns.
See results without voting

Stopping Nightmares for Children

Stopping nightmares for children can be a little more challenging than stopping nightmares for adults. Why do you think that is? Children generally have a way more active imagination than adults do, and their little minds are always running at full speed even when asleep. Keeping into mind also that children's brains are still developing and their bodies are growing at night...these factors can add to a child's dream content.

In my opinion, I've always felt that children are also more connected spiritually to their surroundings and sometimes they tap into things that most adults ignore or do not notice. That's not to say that every nightmare is a psychic premonition or sign, it's just to say that some children may be having nightmares as they are tapping into an insecure or negative environment around them. So my suggestion in stopping nightmares for children? Examine their surroundings. Are they in an unstable family? Having problems at school? Could there be a ghost in the house or something attaching itself to the child? Or are they simply childhood nightmares and with time will run their course and be gone?

The best way to get a child to stop having nightmares is probably to convince them that they have control over their dreams. Tell them when they meet the boogeyman in their dreams that they have just as much power to scare him off as he does of scaring them! This worked for me as a child and has ever since. Also tell them that they can fly in their dreams, so all they have to do is fly away from whatever is scaring them in their dream. Stopping nightmares for children might be difficult, but it is possible. Pray with the child at night, but don't bring up the nightmares all of the time. If there's more focus on stopping nightmares than there is on positive things, it might just feed into the nightmares even more.

Good luck and blessings.

Written and copyrighted © by Kitty the Dreamer (May Canfield), June 17th, 2012. All Rights Reserved.

More by this Author

  • Recurrent Lucid Dreams: Going Back to the Same Place

    Have you ever gone back to the same place in your dreams? Is there a meaning to these recurring familiar dream places? Keeping a journal may help you find patterns in your dream settings.

  • Cat Dream Meanings

    Your nightly dream escapades have brought a myriad of cats into your dreams? Or maybe you've just dreamed one cat dream lately that you would like interpreted? I'm here to help with your cat dream interpretation.

  • Birds as Omens and Signs

    Learn how to look at birds as omens and how to listen to the messages they bring to us.

Comments 8 comments

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

Anytime! Just remember, it might only be a nightmare because you're running from something.

Amanda Gee profile image

Amanda Gee 4 years ago from Cameron, Missouri

I enjoyed this article. Been having some pretty bad nightmares, including one last night. I'm going to have to try the meditation to help stop it. I have a fellow pagan making me a dreamcatcher to help with the nightmares. Thanks for the other great ideas! :)

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

Lipnancy - Thanks so much! I try my best...I love helping.

Lipnancy profile image

Lipnancy 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

I love the way you provide solutions in your articles. Tangible things that people can really try. Keep up the good work.

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

lucybell21 - That's good. There is nothing more frightening for children than nightmares...I'm happy she's not having them any more. Thanks for sharing! Blessings to you.

lucybell21 profile image

lucybell21 4 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

My granddaughter who is 13 years old used to have bad nightmares, but she is starting to grow out of. Thank goodness, because she can remember them in detail.

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

OldWitchcraft - I am so sorry that you had something so terrible happen to you. I'm happy that you made it out alive though. And I could only imagine the nightmares you must have had to deal with, and my heart reaches out to you for that. Your aunt sounds like a lovely person! Blessings and thanks so much for sharing something so personal.

OldWitchcraft profile image

OldWitchcraft 4 years ago from The Atmosphere

Great article. After I was nearly murdered by strangers a few years ago, I had horrific nightmares that seemed to call up all kinds of other past horrors - being raped, chased, trying to shut the door while someone else is trying to force it open, etc. All real stuff that has happened to came up in my dreams. Consequently, I could not rest and it got to the point where I was afraid to fall asleep because I would be seeing killers - real killers - in my sleep. Time made it a little better. I find I have to be careful what kind of movies I watch and news articles I read (I do not have T.V. - it's just too violent and perverse for me) - this Jerry Sandusky thing, for example. I have terrible nightmares if I see much about that. And, certain movies, but not the ones you might expect. I can watch horror movies pretty well, but not thrillers or cop/detective type things and even some comedies.

My aunt, who is a witch, gave me a couple of items to put in my house, which she had blessed. One of them is a dream catcher. I do believe these things helped.

Being aware of what triggers the nightmares, if you are a violent crime survivor, is very important. It took time for me to figure that out. Everyone's triggers will be different.

Great hub, as usual. You really have a knack for finding great images! I love that first image of the Nightmare in the Mirror! Accolades and vote up!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    kittythedreamer profile image

    Author Nicole Canfield (kittythedreamer)1,885 Followers
    440 Articles

    Kitty has been a lucid dreamer her entire life. These dreams and experiences drive her desire to help others understand their dreams.

    Click to Rate This Article