Are you tired of nightmares and bad dreams ruining bedtime? These five must-try techniques will guarantee a restful night’s sleep and more daily energy by learning how to avoid nightmares.

Bad dreams and nightmares are an all-too-real part of life for some of us.

Whether it happens to you regularly or once in a while, at some point, you’ll find yourself snapping out of a dead sleep, sweating or terrified.

Or you wake up in the morning with a bad taste left by a vivid dream that still makes your skin crawl.

The not-so-fun fact, however, is that the realm of dreams is a mystery. It exists on this alternate plane in the subconscious that makes it difficult to understand the phenomenon fully.

Ever heard of “The Night Hag?”

She’s probably the most popular nightmare legend in history. And, it’s one of those nightmares that’ll make you wish you’d never fall asleep again.

But what you should know is that nightmares and bad dreams won’t harm you on their own. It’s the effects they leave behind that could impact your quality of life.

Here are five of the best techniques for avoiding nightmares and bad dreams:

What’s a Nightmare?

Nightmares are dreams associated with strong negative emotions. They’re generally vivid and may even snap you out of deep sleep. If you’ve been curious about the difference between nightmares and bad dreams, well, there isn’t much.

However, one thing stands out.

Nightmares are far more intense compared to bad dreams. You may barely remember the details of a bad dream except how it made you feel. But it’s hard to forget a nightmare.

A simple explanation would be that a nightmare is a bad dream that’s simply over-the-top!

Here are some negative emotions that nightmares and bad dreams can spark:

  • Fear
  • Worry
  • Terror
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Distress

How to Avoid Nightmares & Bad Dreams

Dreams are a vast unknown, and scientists aren’t quite sure why they happen.

But research has discovered something promising:

Dreams connect to our experiences, daily activities, and things that the subconscious has recorded through the day but hasn’t yet processed.

It’s possible to alter your dreaming pattern by making changes to your life.

Here are things you can do to avoid nightmares and bad dreams.

1. Treat the Underlying Condition

It’s worth noting that these unpleasant dreams are typically your brain processing information. They don’t necessarily mean there’s an uncovered problem somewhere.

However, nightmares and bad dreams can be a symptom of an underlying health condition.

Some of the disorders associated with nightmares include:

  • Restless leg syndrome
  • PTSD
  • Sleep disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Getting professional treatment for these conditions may help reduce nightmare frequency and severity.

Trauma can heavily influence your negative dreaming habit, leading to terrifying or unsettling nightmares.

If you’ve gone through past trauma without working through it completely, you may suffer from nightmares. It’s a form of defense mechanism where your brain tries to push you into addressing the trauma forcefully.

Unresolved trauma could stem from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). On a more positive note, if your nightmares are PTSD-related, then receiving treatment for the condition should help.

2. Minimize Stress

The stressors in your daily life can find their way into your dreams and express themselves in unpleasant ways.

It could be your upcoming finals. Or maybe you have nightmares about everyone at your school pointing and laughing at you while calling you terrible insults. It could be your finances or the loss of someone close to you.

Anything can trigger bad dreams.

Again, in a way, your body and mind are telling you to address your situation. You’ll find that you have few terrible things to dream about once you’ve minimized stress in your life.

3. Avoid Situations Inducing Fear

If you put yourself in a situation that scares you enough, it’ll almost guarantee a nightmare that night.

Have you ever watched a terrifying horror movie and knew right away that it’d ruin your normally peaceful rest?

Or maybe you’re afraid of heights, but then decide to watch YouTube videos of people taking selfies atop skyscrapers. It wouldn’t be surprising if you experienced a dream about falling from the same building.

If you want to cut the frequency of your nightmares, try to stay away from things that scare you the most. Otherwise, your mind may choose to express these intense emotions while you sleep.

4. Figure Out the Message

You woke up scared after an unpleasant or terrifying dream. But have you ever wondered what that dream was trying to tell you?

Yes, you’re dealing with a frightening dream, and maybe you’ll prefer distracting yourself or putting it out of your mind completely. Yet, deciphering what a nightmare is telling you can help you learn about why it’s happening.

Start by detailing your nightmares and bad dreams in a dream journal. You may discover that beneath the scary exterior lies a valid reason for experiencing the nightmare in the first place.

For instance, say you dream that your mouth is sewn shut or, for some reason, you can’t speak. In real life, you may feel that others disregard your opinions or that you’re so shy that it’s hurting your social life.

You could also dream that you’re drowning and something is pulling you under. What if you’re buckling under too much pressure in real life?

5. Talk to Someone

Talking about dreams can help you better understand them and eliminate the fear factor when nightmares happen.

Talk to a trusted person you feel can help you work through your emotions. If you prefer to keep your struggles far from your inner circle, you could also talk about your nightmares in a support group.

Or, think about professional support with a therapist to help bring the issues surrounding your nightmares to the surface.


Nightmares and bad dreams are a standard part of life. Everyone experiences them young and old, rich or poor, and so on.

These dreams shouldn’t worry you but if they disrupt your life, try the tips we’ve shared with you. Most importantly, get professional help if your nightmares aren’t going away.

Author Bio

Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Grove at Flagstaff to help them with their online marketing.