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Unfortunately, trauma nightmares can start a cycle of sleeplessness, difficulty coping, and lead to more nightmares. “The less sleep a person gets, the more difficult it is for the brain to process a traumatic event,” writes Good Therapy. “Sometimes the symptoms that are present due to trauma are the very barriers that get in the way of a person’s ability to heal.” Trauma nightmares cause retraumatization, anxiety, sleep deprivation, and much more.

The trauma nightmare hangover

The day after a trauma nightmare is an edgy one. People are prone to feeling anxious, panicked, and exhausted, as well as frustrated or upset. Trauma nightmares can feel like an inconvenience at best and a failure at worst. Of course, having a trauma nightmare is not a failure, or any kind of sign that one is ‘failing’ in their trauma recovery. Nightmares are simply part of the brain’s attempt to cope with and make sense of trauma.

Developing sleep anxiety

Most problematically, trauma causes someone to want to avoid sleep. Living daily life with the memories of trauma and symptoms of trauma is challenging enough. The prospect of having to face trauma in their sleep is anxiety-inducing. Insomnia can become a quick problem, leading to a cycle of exhaustion, more anxiety, depression, and worsening trauma symptoms.

Managing trauma nightmares

There is no one definite way to make trauma nightmares stop. Working with a therapist, attending a treatment program, and other therapy based approaches can help work through trauma to create some resolution. Outside of treatment focused solutions there is the solution of self-care. During a time of trauma nightmares, it is most important for individuals to take care of themselves as gently and as best possible. It is recommended to keep track of what the nightmare entails and how frequently it occurs. Developing a sleep time ritual of relaxation and self soothing can be beneficial as well. Have bedside self soothing tools like lavender oil, a stress ball, a handwritten note reminding someone of safety. Try sleeping in another room for a few nights to see if that ‘tricks’ the brain into staying away from anxiety.

If trauma nightmares persist and the after effects start to affect quality of life, it is time to seek professional help.

Everyone has a story of trauma before they come treatment. Everyone leaves with a story of recovery when they leave treatment. The Guest House Ocala is a private treatment center specializing in the treatment of trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues. Your program of care is customized according to your specific experiences and needs. Our luxury amenities provide the highest level of quality care and comfort so you feel safe, supported, and serene. Call us today for information: 1-855-483-7800