Meditation For Nightmares To Stop Bad Dreams

yoga and meditation for nightmares

If you’re suffering from nightmares or vivid dreams, one solution is to use meditation for nightmare relief.

Millions of people around the world have been suffering from nightmares since the start of self-isolation, And dreams have been becoming ever more vivid.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that 50 per cent of adults report having occasional nightmares, and some have recurring nightmares, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Heightened emotions cause more vivid dreams. And according to Dr Natasha Bijlani, [consultant psychiatrist, Priory Hospital Roehampton] said, “Many people are likely to have noticed changes to their sleep patterns recently [due to stress].”

Maybe it’s a scary dream about your teeth falling out, a nightmare about being bitten by a snake, or a dream about someone dying. You might even experience PTSD nightmares. Thankfully, meditation can help.

In my online meditation lessons, I have helped many people to use meditation for nightmare relief.

Here is a great script for you to use.

 

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Meditation For Nightmare Relief

  1. Go to bed twenty minutes earlier than usual so you have time to meditate in bed.
  2. Lie down with good posture so your back is straight but relaxed.
  3. Close your eyes and focus on breathing. Watch your breath moving around your body for 20 minutes.
  4. Now bring to mind one time in your life when you felt safe, supported, and peaceful. It could be a moment from any time in your life.
  5. Visualize that moment in your life. What did you feel like? Where were you? Who was with you? Vividly bring this memory to life in your mind.
  6. Find one aspect of the memory that makes you feel exceptionally peaceful. Focus your mind on that as you fall asleep.

More meditations for nightmare-relief

Anapanasati

Mindfulness of breath helps to promote inner calm to help you relax before bed. I personally find that practising Anapanasati (Mindful Breathing) about an hour before bed helps me get to sleep and stops bad dreams. I like to use this method when I wake up from a nightmare too.

If you are afraid of sleeping alone this will help you to relax before you get in bed. Given that anxiety before bed is one thing that triggers nightmares, it is good to make sure you’re relaxed before you go to bed. So, make Anapanasati part of your self-care bedtime routine.


Vipassana

Vipassana enhances emotional processing, which is pivotal for getting a good night’s sleep. In my experience as a meditation teacher, Vipassana helps with emotional processing so you’re less likely to be stressed or emotional when you go to bed, meaning less bad dreams.


Loving-kindness 

Loving-kindness promotes feelings of compassion and interconnectedness, which can counteract the feelings of loneliness that many people suffer from. I find that when I do this before bed, I usually have pleasant dreams and a good night’s sleep.


Relaxing music

Try listening to relaxing music before going to bed. This will help promote inner peace and relaxation, as well as reducing the impact that stress and anxiety have on your sleep.

The Link Between Meditation And Bad Dreams

Although there has been no significant scientific research into the effects of meditation on nightmares, you can see a direct link when you look at cause and effect.

The Mayo Clinic tells THE DAILY MEDITATION that one of the leading causes of nightmares is stress and anxiety. These two problems can cause hypervigilance, which makes it a struggle to sleep at night.

Stress and anxiety are currently at a peak for many people since self-isolation, and this is leading to an increase in nightmares and vivid dreaming. Reducing stress and anxiety will help remedy the problem.

Significant scientific research has shown that meditation can help to reduce both stress and anxiety. Therefore, it logically should reduce nightmares.

Yoga helps too.

Writing for Psychology Today, Seth J. Gillihan PhD [licensed psychologist, University of Pennsylvania] says, “Excessive muscular tension can feed back to our minds and perpetuate the feeling of unease. When we experience the relaxation benefits of yoga, we can lower our physical tension, which helps release the grip that anxiety can have on us.”


Science 

Some people believe meditation causes bad dreams. However, this is not entirely accurate.

Meditation makes dreams more vivid and often even lucid, according to research from Benjamin Baird at the Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness. However, it is also possible to use meditation to sleep and to have good dreams.

So, what is the link between meditation and bad dreams?

The Sleep Council [1] states that the leading causes of vivid dreams include sleep deprivation, alcohol consumption, hormonal fluctuations, and stress. And in my personal experience, hypervigilance stops me sleeping (hypervigilance is increased alertness).

In an article for VeryWell Mind medically reviewed by Shilpa Amin, [M.D., CAQ, FAAFP], Eleesha Lockett says, “stress and trauma from childhood can cause recurring nightmares later in life”.

Meditation helps us to relax, enhances emotional processing, and reduces stress and anxiety. And thereby, it helps reduce nightmares.

Need help having pleasant dreams? Book an online meditation lesson with me today.

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a passionate meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. "My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation" - Paul Harrison

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