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Best Exercises/Activities For Nightmare Disorder

Nightmare disorder is a sleep disorder which constitutes frequent nightmares. In their nightmares, the person often visualizes situations which put their life or safety in jeopardy. The nightmares usually take place in the REM stage of the sleep.

Almost all of us experience nightmares at least once in our lifetime. However, those who experience them quite frequently are said to be suffering from a nightmare disorder. Nightmare disorders are a type of parasomnias. Parasomnias include all the unusual behaviors happening during sleep.(1)

Best Exercises/Activities For Nightmare Disorder

Treatment is usually not necessary for nightmares. However, if your nightmares are causing a significant disturbance during your sleep and your daytime activities, then some activities or exercises, along with other modes of treatment, may help in treating nightmare disorder. These exercises or activities may include-

Establishing A Relaxing Bedtime Routine-

  • A regular bedtime routine is necessary.
  • While getting ready for the bed, playing some relaxing music or songs, reading books, spending time doing puzzles, soaking in a warm bath for long and other such relaxing activities can help in soothing and calming your stressed nerves.(2)

Yoga And Meditation-

  • Techniques like yoga and meditation help in reducing the stress caused in everyday life.
  • Exercises may help you reduce the stress and also may make you tired so that you fall deep asleep once you hit the bed.
  • It is a good idea to do some yoga, meditation or some exercises in the evening to reduce your stress and help in getting a relaxed sleep(1)

Other exercises or activities that may help in treating nightmare disorder may include-

Talking About The Dream-

  • Talking about who you saw in the dream, what you saw, why was it scary, etc. may help ease the fear.
  • Also, realizing that nightmares aren’t real and are incapable of hurting you will help in dealing with the fear caused by the nightmare.(2)

Changing the Ending-

  • Usually, nightmares have a disturbing, upsetting and a negative ending.
  • Try imagining a different, pleasant, positive ending as opposed to what you really saw.(2)

Manage Stress-

  • If stress or anxiety is the reason for your nightmares, deal with them.
  • Stress management techniques like yoga, meditation, massage, gentle exercises, some hobbies, sports, etc. can help you fight off the stress and significantly reduce the frequency of your nightmares.(2)

Using A Night Light-

  • If you fear the dark, using a night light may help.
  • When you wake up in the middle of the night, the glow from the little light may be reassuring.(2)

Other Treatment Methods For Nightmare Disorder-

Nightmares usually do not need any treatment. However, if they cause a significant disturbance in your sleep, as well as during your daytime activities, you may need to treat them.

Establishing a cause for nightmare disorder may help in determining the treatment better. The options for treatment maybe –

Treating The Underlying Health Condition-

If the nightmares are due to an underlying health condition like cancer etc., the treatment may focus on treating the underlying disorder.(2)

Stress Treatment-

If stress or anxiety is the reason for nightmares, then managing stress can stop the nightmares(2)

Changing the Ending-

Imagining the ending to be a pleasant and positive one as opposed to what you saw in your nightmare, and then rehearsing it in your mind may help in eliminating the threat that the nightmare has caused(2)


Medicines are usually not used to treat nightmares. In case, the nightmares are associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and are severe in nature, then there may be a need for medicines.(2)


Establishing a relaxing and soothing bedtime routine and engaging in methods like yoga, meditation and exercises may help in reducing the nightmares significantly. The best course of action would really depend upon the cause of the nightmares.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 20, 2019

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