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Books on the subject say that while nightmares are common in children, they go away as we become adults. I’ve never been a textbook case of anything.  

!pic !If you suffer from nightmares, night terrors, or even unpleasant dreams, here are some cures I’ve used that have worked. You‘re welcome to try any or all. All you will need is a journal or spiral notebook.  

1. Examine what you ate or drank the night before. If necessary, keep a food journal. Write down everything from the pepper you put on your peas to the chardonnay you had with the garlic bread to the cinnamon apple pie. There may be a food or even a small ingredient to which you‘re allergic - and for some, this can cause nightmares.  

2. Some of us still have a little kid inside who gets frightened by certain events during the day, or even gets fear set off by a “trigger.” For example, large men with booming voices “trigger” a fear reaction in me, and if I don’t acknowledge it during the day when it happens, I’ll often have a nightmare about it that night. Make a list of what your triggers are, and after a nightmare, go back over the day before to see if something was ignited.

3. Personal issues that you haven’t yet dealt with can cause nightmares. When I was in my teens I noticed from my journal that every time I ate meat I would have horrible nightmares that night. As an experiment, I gave up meat. The nightmares stopped.  

4. Certain medications can cause bad dreams. A few years ago, my doctor prescribed Xanax for me for a few days, to help me with a family crisis. The first night I took it, I had terrifying dreams with dream symbols I didn’t recognize (often our dream symbols become familiar), and a dream “shadow” that followed me through the next day. I don’t know for sure if the Xanax caused this, but I do know I’ll never take another one.

4. If you tend to fall asleep with the TV on, make sure you’ve got it programmed to turn off by itself after a certain period of time. And make sure you‘re tuned to a station that’s neutral. We may be fabulously 40 and beyond, but some of us are still vulnerable to the Freddy Kruegers, the monster tidal wave movies, and the news.

5. If none of the above techniques stops your nightmares, deeper work is needed. When you have a bad dream, start writing down not just the dream, but every tiny little detail - and then analyze it all. Figure out what deep, base, heart and soul-issues are in need of repair in your life. And then make a conscious, step by step effort to heal. You may be able to heal simply by analyzing your dream symbols and realizing what they are trying to tell you - and then working on that part of your life. Or you may choose to get the help of a therapist.

A note: Don’t trust any book with “standard” lists of dream symbols. Each person’s symbols are unique to them. Even the archetypal symbols that Jung speaks of, can carry different nuances for different people. I’ve discovered that cats in my dreams symbolize love. My S.O., while he likes cats, isn’t in love with them - and a cat in his dream usually symbolizes an intrusion of some sort.  

I’m through with the pop psychology idea that nightmares are “gifts.” I want them gone!  

Feel free to check out my brand new website, targeting personal issues, at [Link Removed]


Suzann, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ladybug wrote Oct 11, 2008
    • I had a recurring nightmare as a child and actually started yoga at 7 years old in an effort to learn to put myself to sleep. (thanks to PBS) It worked. My parents did not know to take it seriously. As an adult I have spiritual dreams that are not terrifying but very vivid and very serious.
      Tobacco can cause crazy dreams. Some are normal, some reprsent our fears. I think they all deserve attention. Don’t forget to consult the Lord!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Suzann wrote Oct 11, 2008
    • Hi ladybug—-

      You‘re so right, the spiritual aspect of dreams is so very important. Thanks for your comment - your dreams sound awesome.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ladybug wrote Oct 11, 2008
    • Since childhood I’ve had such fear. But I also had to confront my dreams, as a child, to overcome them. Fear is not of the Lord. You can overcome them!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Suzann wrote Oct 11, 2008
    • ladybug, you and I might be alike in a lot of ways. I’ve had the same problem since childhood. It all boils down to fear, and it can be overcome. Thank you. I so appreciate your kindness.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ladybug wrote Oct 11, 2008
    • Have you noticed that the things we turn to in moments of stress seem to cause bad dreams? I pray for peace and rest.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Suzann wrote Oct 11, 2008
    • What a great observation. So true! I pray for peace, too, sweetie, and yes, rest. For everyone. And peace for the world.



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