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Trauma-Induced Nightmares


It is common that those who are struggling with trauma have trouble sleeping. The traumatic event you went through may be keeping you up at night or creeping into your dreams. It is important to do anything you can to ensure you get a good night’s sleep to feel better when you wake up in the morning.

The Horrors of Re-Experiencing

Having flashbacks to traumatic experiences is called re-experiencing. These flashbacks tend to occur at night when you are sleeping. Some people have exact replays of the trauma they have experienced, called replicative nightmares. Others have nightmares related to the trauma, either symbolically or indirectly.

These nightmares can happen earlier at night and during different stages of sleep, compared to typical dreams. Trauma and stress can disrupt your sleep by setting off your body’s fight-or-flight responses and creating more neurotransmitters that will keep you awake when you should be asleep.

Fix Your Bedroom

In order to fall asleep, it is important to create an environment that makes you feel safe. You can do this by keeping your bedroom door closed so you will be able to hear it if it opens up. You can also put a nightlight in your room so that a little light enters your room compared to being in total darkness.

You could also have a friend or family member either in the room or in the room next to you so that you know someone is there to comfort you. It may also help if you play soothing music that can put you to sleep in a positive state.

Find Healthy Ways to Cope

Even though many trauma survivors feel like self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, it will only make those symptoms worsen over time. It can also make it even harder to go to sleep. Instead, try exercising to experience those feel-good endorphins and improve your sleep. Yoga or taking a warm bath can also be helpful and relaxing for you. Avoid watching the news or reading any upsetting articles that can keep you up at night.

Do Not Force Sleep

You may need more sleep after a traumatic experience, or sleep at a different time than others. It may help you to take naps or rest periods. Rather than forcing yourself to sleep, do a quiet activity until you get tired. By treating your trauma, you should be able to sleep better at night.

Has trauma been affecting your sleep? At The Guest House, we offer personalized trauma-based addiction and mental illness treatment plans that can help. Serving men and women over the age of 18 who seek guidance or support, we provide a multitude of treatment options such as breath work, equine therapy, art therapy, grief therapy, cinema therapy mindfulness, individualized and group therapy, and more. Call us today at (855) 876-3884 to learn more.