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Nightmares

Hi Sam,

I haven’t been diagnosed with anything but I’ve had mental health problems for ages and have seen therapists. Recently I’ve been getting lots of really bad nightmares and I don’t know what to do about them. I have one recurring one where I’m drowning and I wake up in the middle of the night. When I wake up I’m really alert and my heart goes really fast. I can always remember them really vividly and they’re always terrifying.

It’s been effecting my sleep a lot because I wake up in the night and I’m afraid to go to sleep incase I have one.

I was wondering if you had any advice on how to get rid of them because they’re starting to effect me a lot.

Thanks

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Sam

Hi there,

Having a nightmare can feel scary as sometimes it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not when you wake up in the night during a bad dream. They can stop you from getting a good night's sleep so it’s important to get support from an adult you trust if you’re having a lot of nightmares or they’re making you feel scared or anxious.

Everyone gets nightmares from time to time but they can sometimes be caused by things that are going on for you in your day to day life. Maybe something is worrying you or something happened to you that was very difficult to cope with. You might get them from watching something scary on TV or online and sometimes certain medications and health conditions can cause them.

If the last thing you think about before bed is the nightmares it might make you more likely to have them. Try to make a new, relaxing bedtime routine at the same time each night. Write down any worries you have in a diary or your Childline journal and when you get into bed try to focus on your breathing for a few minutes.

If it’s difficult to see what might have triggered these nightmares, you could talk to your therapist or visit your doctor. Explain to them that you’re having repeated nightmares about the same thing and they may be able to suggest more techniques for getting to sleep and how to cope.

Thank you for your letter and I hope this advice has helped.  Remember you can talk to a counsellor at Childline about this or about anything else that’s worrying you.

Take care,

Sam

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