Tip Of The Day!

1 Apr

WHY WE HAVE NIGHTMARES
Photobucket
(photo credit: Best Health)

I have definitely had nightmares before! They can truly be frightening 😦

Nightmare triggers
Nightmares can be caused by medications, oddball genes, degenerative neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, last night’s tamales, traumatic events in the present, never-healed wounds from the past that a recent event has unmasked, and gut-level threats to health, safety, and the very sense of who you are.

Those who put a lid on expressing how they feel in response to stressful events during the day are likely to be taken for a ride by those emotions in the form of nightmares at night. And some, particularly people who are open and sensitive, may have a “thin” boundary between what’s real and what’s a dream—which means that their waking life is more than likely to stir up their night life and cause some pretty hairy dreams.

“A nightmare is a dysfunctional dream,” explains Rosalind Cartwright, director of the sleep disorder service at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago. Instead of integrating the day’s events and feelings with older, stored memories and defusing negative emotions — which is what some researchers feel a dream is supposed to do — the emotions your brain is processing overload your circuits, prevent their integration into older memories, and jerk you from sleep.

If you’re in a bad car accident, for example, you may not be able to process all the negative emotions the accident generates right away, says Cartwright. The fear and your sense of vulnerability and mortality are overwhelming. So you may have nightmares for a while as your mind keeps working away at integrating your feelings. Once it does, however, the nightmares go away.

As Cartwright writes in her book Crisis Dreaming, “Nightmares are a cry for resolution for finding a way to incorporate the terrible experience into our lives. Occasional nightmares are normal,” she adds. “But not nightly, and not over and over again.”

How to banish nightmares
Nightmares are a sign of overload. Check with a doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist if you’re depressed, if they recur, or if you discover that your dreams are caused by distressing feelings from the past that have been triggered by current events. Otherwise, here’s how Cartwright suggests you keep them at bay:

• Recognize that the dream is bad while you’re having it. This may sound impossible to do, but it’s not. Simply resolve that you’re going to do this before you fall asleep. It may take a few tries, but you’ll get the hang of it.

• Identify what in the dream makes you feel bad. What are the feelings or events involved?

• Stop any bad dream. Believe it or not, you can do it — often simply by recognizing that it’s bad.

• Change the ending. Turn what’s negative into something positive. You may have to wake up to do it, but eventually you’ll be able to tell yourself to write a better ending as you sleep.

• Keep a dream diary. Write down your dreams every morning. All your dreams, not just the nightmares. Then periodically review the ones that trouble you. Try to figure out why they’re upsetting.

Remember to keep your journal beside your pillow (or under, or even on your night stand) because trust me, you will not remember your dream in the morning!

Chapters/Indigo is horrible for searching (not for books), but there is no category for “Journals,” so I am left to suggest these wonderful journals from Borders.com.
Borders.com Journals

This is actually a free service! I *just* came across it.. It’s pretty fabulous. Not only is it free, but it works like a regular journal where you can make everything private, everything public, or only have what you want public!
DREAM JOURNAL

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow, when I will be listing the 6 THINGS THAT WILL HELP YOU SLEEP!

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One Response to “Tip Of The Day!”

  1. Lindsay April 3, 2010 at 3:00 am #

    I hate nightmares! I heard that nightmares or restless sleeps are also caused by eating salty foods close to bedtime. I try not to eat salty foods before bed because of that… also if you’ve had a really stressful day you’ll get them that night…

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