Waking up in the middle of the night because of a nightmare can happen both in childhood and even later in adulthood. While it may be more common in children, there is still a huge number of adults who have to deal with this nighttime monster. To help reduce the frequency of this disturbance at night and wake up more rested in the morning, experts weigh in on how to stop nightmares.

Dr Jennifer Martin, a member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and a David Geffen School of Medicine professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, revealed that the combination of stay-at-home orders and additional stress experienced by many often leads to an increased number of individuals struggling with nightmares.

Addressing ways and means on how to stop nightmares is important considering that it has been linked to suicidal behaviour, depression, and insomnia. On CNN, experts gave tips on how to fight nightmares.

Establish a routine during bedtime

Martin noted that one of the effective ways to prevent nightmares is to get people sleeping soundly. Through this, they would also wake up less often. Setting a regular sleeping and waking time, including getting the room dark and cool, can do wonders in preventing nightmares.

Refrain from snacking before bedtime

Snacking is a great way to boost metabolism, and this will not sit well for those who want to sleep. Eating before bedtime will just keep the brain active, the National Sleep Foundation mentioned. Ideally, one must no longer eat two to three hours before going to bed.

Engage in stress-relieving activities

Progressive muscle relaxation is highly recommended for those who would normally experience nightmares. This involves tensing the muscle groups whenever one inhales and releasing them after exhaling.

Avoid watching scary movies before bedtime

Watching "Nightmare on Elm Street" may not be the best routine before going to bed. Martin explained that nighttime observations have a tendency to appear during sleep. This does not only pertain to movies but also relates to other materials or news, even reading upsetting materials online can be a trigger.

A woman sleeping
Supplement magnesium for good night's sleep. Photo: Pixabay

Check mental health

If after trying out everything, nightmares still become a part of the daily routine, then seeing a sleep specialist or therapist might help. Joshua Tal, a health psychologist in Manhattan stated that having nightmares may signal a larger mental issue like mood disorder or PTSD. Seeing an expert to help treat nightmares may be the best recourse when everything else falters.