Given that I am currently led here in bed at the crack of dawn trying not to wake my husband, after another awful nightmare. I thought I would write to you about nightmares today.
I am not sure if dreams are tightly linked with well being. I certainly know the lack of sleep is hard sometimes and I think I have more nightmares when I am not at my best. I do find it fascinating how our mind attempts to compute things in the most unusual way.
Last nights bad dream was slightly random although if I tried hard I could see links to some of my conversations yesterday.
Picture this you are in the middle of nowhere and you have to get a few hundred people onto a plane, your own government is about to send a huge bomb your way because for some undisclosured reason they don’t want the refugees getting on the plane.
You aren’t going to let that happen, you are there on the ground and you know these are people who should be saved. So you try to start rounding up the people who honestly don’t understand or don’t want to listen to you. There are a few military types trying to help you, but you are in charge and it is hard work. People keep walking off and getting themselves into trouble. This is where it gets a bit silly as a one point in my dream a group of people had found like a natural hot spring (in the middle of the desert) and were insisting on enjoying a swim. I was trying to encourage them out even to the extent of getting in myself and pushing them out. Then the water for no apparent reason started to boil, I and a few others managed to escape but I watched a man boil to death as I tried to drag him out from the side. I have no idea what a boiled person looks like but this was horrific and one of the reasons when I woke up before the crack of dawn I knew I was not going back to sleep.
I continued to try and get people on to the plane, but the bomb arrived before I could finish. So I had to catch the bomb as it came into land in a huge vacuum sock. Some sort of dream logic about a lack of air preventing ignition or the vacuum holding back the firing pin.
We all got on the plane, bomb in sock on the ground behind us and then the classic it goes off just as we speed away plane rattling trying to escape the blast.
There were lots of little nuances to that dream suffice to say I now feel exhausted. Lovely day to look forward too today, just hope I can find the energy.
How can we tackle bad dreams?
So nightmares are a nightmare unsurprisingly! The one above was very tame for me, and gratefully I was the only person I knew in danger. The most kind I have are where someone I love is in danger. I never get back off well after those.
Still years of nightmares I have found a few ways that sometimes helps me back to sleep. In the hopes that one of you can benefit here are my insights.
Grounding yourself in the here and now. Slowing your breathing if you are panicked, are great ways to help. There are lots of types of meditation. I find after a nightmare avoiding visitation is essential. So I either take a four box breathing technique or something similar.
Write down the nightmare.
Sometimes jotting down the nightmare on your phone or piece of paper can help release the thought. Avoid analysing just capture.
Try distracting yourself.
One thing that sometimes helps is to think about mundane things. I definitely find it does not help to start trying to analyse the nightmare in the middle of the night. I might start listing in my head what I need on the weekly shop or attempt my trusted imagine redecorating the house.
Watch something happy
If nothing else is working find something happy to watch. Be warned watching tv in the middle of the night can wake you up further. Sometimes though for the worst of my nightmares it is better to be awake and happy than lay there feeling overwhelmed.
Get out of bed
If all else fails I find getting out of bed helps, get out of the room and do something different. Again this will wake you up more but sometimes a short period pottering around and cleaning is all you need to be able to settle back off easily.
Hoping you sleep well tonight.
If anyone else has any tips to hack your dreams please let me know. I have nightmares and having now finished writing this blog I am on two consecutive days of them! Hope it’s not a streak.