As kids, many of us struggled with nightmares, but reaching adulthood doesn’t automatically mean that those bad dreams go away. According to research that was conducted by the National Geographic Society, three-quarters of the dreams adults have are considered nightmares. The issue is that most people will not remember their nightmares after they awake. Having nightmares can do more than jolt your from a sound sleep each night, it can leave you feeling irritable, sleepless, and unproductive during the day.
Here are five ways to fight nightmares and be more productive each day.
1. Avoid Scary Movies or Books Before Bed
When you turn on a horror film or try to squeeze in one more chapter of that scary book before bed, it can have a direct impact on your dreams that night. As you allow those thoughts to seep into your mind and then your subconscious, you fall asleep and that information can in fact trigger what the subject matter of your dreams will be. When the very last thing that your conscious mind remembers is something scary or your thoughts are now focused on fear, your brain replays the imagery in the form of a nightmare. If you simply can not avoid watching Halloween or reading the latest Stephen King novel before bed, be sure that you stop at least 10 minutes before you call it a night and start focusing on positive images. Think about the best thing that happened in your day or something you are looking forward to tomorrow and you mind will shift the focus.
2. Keep a Bedtime Journal
One of the easiest ways to fight nightmares is to keep a journal on your nightstand and each night before you close your eyes jot down the three greatest things that happened today. According to the National Sleep Foundation, by shifting the focus right before you go to sleep on something positive, it can have an impact on the quality of your dreams. Don’t focus on failures, bad experiences, or things you were not able to accomplish that day, write down even the smallest of accomplishments. Perhaps you replaced that light bulb outside that has been out for a week, maybe you finally got around to opening that 401K, or it could be that you wrote the first page of a novel you have been planning. No matter how insignificant, write it in a positive way and your brain will remember it all night.