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Unfortunately, there is no controlling your PTSD in your sleep. Nightmares are one of the many ways trauma manifests, making it part of the process, even years into trauma recovery. Most often, trauma nightmares return when trauma is triggered. Rather than let a night of restless sleep upheave your life, you can take the information from your dreams straight into your recovery work. Nightmares are an opportunity for processing and growth, though they don’t feel like it at the moment.

The Day After

The day after a PTSD nightmare, it is common to feel a sort of “hangover” effect. Even in your sleep, trauma has an effect on your mind and your body. The next day you might feel:

AnxiousDepressedOn edgeLethargicMoodyExhaustedIn fight or flight

When you experience your trauma in your sleep, it is as if you are experiencing your trauma in real time. Your brain interprets the trauma as a trigger and your body experiences your trauma as if it were happening in those moments. Just as you would feel after encountering a trauma trigger in your waking life, you will feel once you wake up from your sleeping life.

Self Care Matters

PTSD dreams are uncomfortable, triggering, and disheartening. You might find yourself falling for the idea that having a PTSD dream is like a trauma relapse and that you are doing your recovery “wrong” by dreaming about your trauma. There is no such things as doing trauma “well” or “right”. Everyone who is actively recovering from trauma, as well as everyone actively struggling with their trauma, is doing the absolute best they can at any given moment.

To help yourself, it is important to treat yourself with kindness and gentleness instead of criticism and punishment. Self care especially matters on days after trauma dreams. How you take care of yourself during the day will set you up for the evenings. How you take care of yourself in the evenings will set you up for a better night sleep. Sleep hygiene as it is called, should be part of your self care. In our next QA we will discuss how to get a better night sleep more often.

The Guest House Ocala specializes in the treatment of trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues like anxiety. Everyone has a story. If you are living with unmanageable anxiety as a result of trauma it is critical for you to know, you are not alone. Help is available. You can and you will recover. Call us today for information on our custom plans of treatment and our private luxury care: 1-855-483-7800