Lifestyle and sleep hygiene advice for nightmares

Patient

Q: For a while now I have been having nightmares and I am starting to get paranoid and over tired because I am starting to get too scared to go to sleep. I am 20 years old so this shouldn't be normal so i would like to know if I should consult my doctor or not because I do not know if there is anything a doctor can do about nightmares. Thanks.

Doctor

A:   Nightmares usually occur when one is in deep sleep and is usually associated with REM sleep( phase of sleep ). Night mares have been shown to aggravate with stress and anxiety. While there are no medications that can help you certain lifestyle changes and sleep hygiene methods may improve your symptoms. They are
1) Try to sleep at the same time every night even on weekends and wake up at the same time
2)Avoid a very heavy meal just before sleeping, avoid alcohol , cofee and liquids 2 hours before sleep
3) Do not watch TV/read in bed. If you dont get sleep then still lie in bed.
4) Avoid excessive exercise just before sleeping , however do exercise during the day or evening as it has shown to help sleep patterns.
5) Try yoga or meditation and other stress relieving mechanisms.
All the best.

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