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Coping Methods For Nightmare Disorder

Nightmare disorder is characterized by recurrent nightmares during sleep for a long time. About 8 % of adults develop chronic nightmare that may make you wake up at least once a week. Sometimes, it may increase in frequency that may significantly disrupt your sleep. It then results in fatigue, emotional problems. It may be wide in themes and may induce negative thoughts in you such as fear, anger, shame, sadness, and anxiety. It happens in the REM sleep, in the latter part of the night. It commonly affects children than adults.

Coping Methods For Nightmare Disorder

Coping Methods For Nightmare Disorder

Nightmare disorder is a disorder which is characterized by disturbance in the sleep with negative emotions such as fear, anxiety or sadness. A nightmare disorder may lead to a fearful and difficult experience. It leaves you with negative thoughts that prevent you to sleep back. These thoughts are not always real.(1) If you have nightmare disorder, then following are the coping methods that can help you to deal with them-

Calm Down Yourself Quickly- nightmare may wake you up suddenly with panic, then your mind will roll lots of negative feelings such as fear, sadness, etc. to avoid this

  • Sit quickly after waking up
  • Try to sit on the edge of the bed with feet placed on the floor
  • Concentrate on the things kept around you in the room.
  • Assure yourself that you are safe.
  • You should try to sleep within a few minutes and opt for relaxation.(1)

Control Your Senses- if you assure yourself that you are safe and awake, and then you feel better. It can be done by tasting something strong like mint, or touching anything cold or rough or smelling a strong smell like coffee or cloves, or listening to gentle music.(1)

Relaxation Through Breathing- slow breathing can reduce accelerated heart rate and can relax the state of stress or panic. It is advised to breathe slowly through the nose with mouth closed and hold it for five seconds. If it is exhaled slowly, then you feel relaxed and calm. This breathing exercise can be practiced in the daytime, before going to bed and after an episode of a nightmare.(1)

Avoid Thinking On Dreams After Waking Up- when you wake up after the nightmare, stop thinking about what you have experienced in the dream. It is advised to analyze your nightmares only in the morning. Try to divert your anxiety with a calming book or soothing light. Always keep in your mind that the nightmare has ended and dream is not real.(1)

Find The Causes Of Your Nightmares- when you wake up in the morning, keep the record of your dream, its details, themes, images and dialogues you have experienced in the dream. It will help to find out the cause or triggering event that has induced nightmare.(1)

Communicate With Your Trustworthy Friends And Loved Ones- you can talk to your trustworthy friends or family members. Their support may relax your stress and anxiety. They can bring comfort and feeling of safety to you. It may reduce the chances of reoccurrences of nightmares.(1)

Explore The Activities That Can Trigger Nightmares- reading a horror book or watching a horror movie may trigger nightmares. Alcohol and drugs can also disrupt the sleep mechanisms leading to nightmares. Avoid them before going to bed to enjoy healthy sleep and avoid nightmares.(1)

Contact Your Physician- if you experience nightmares more than once in the week and it disturbs your sleep and daily life, and then contact your physician to get proper diagnosis and treatment.(1)


Nightmare disorder is a rare disorder that haunts the dreamer in the late stages of the sleep. You can cope up with it by calming down yourself, controlling your senses, and others discussed above.


Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 10, 2019

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