Here are some excerpts taken from articles on how to fall asleep and how to help with nightmares!
Warm Milk for Sweet Dreams
“I drink a cup of warm milk just like my Grandma used to make.” — Tracie Neeley
Dr. Duffy says: “This tip falls into the general category of establishing an evening or pre-sleep routine, which many people find helps them make the transition from the day’s activities to the relaxed state that allows them to fall sleep. The good thing is that there are many different ways to do this, and the important thing is to choose a routine that makes you feel relaxed, and then stick with it every night, not just on nights when you’re more stressed than usual.”
Soothing Tunes for Sleep
“Have a relaxing CD playing on repeat all night, at a very low volume.” — Mark Bonnefin
Dr. Duffy says: “While we generally recommend that people not use the television or radio to help them fall asleep, for some individuals this may help. However, in many cases, using music, sound, or television to fall asleep may backfire, as the sound may wake you later on in the night. In that case, you might want to switch from music to some other pre-sleep routine to relax.”
A Spoonful of Apple Cider Vinegar Before Bedtime
“Drink one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces of water just before bedtime.” — Julie Patel
Carolyn Harrington says: “Some people find that drinking this mixture just before bedtime helps them to get to sleep quicker and sleep much longer. Although it is not known exactly how or why this works, there are enough people who swear by this remedy to give it some credence.”
Aromatherapy for a Sounder Sleep
“I put a few drops of lavender essential oil on my pillow. It works for my 9-year-old son too. If he can’t fall asleep, he asks for lavender and within 5 minutes he’s out like a light.” — Christine Genardi
Carolyn Harrington says: “Sniffing lavender has been shown to reduce anxiety and ease insomnia. In a recent study from Wesleyan University, those who sniffed lavender oil before bedtime slept more soundly than those who didn’t.”
Comforting Thoughts to Lull You to Sleep
“Thinking of how darling and lovely my family is.” — Asmau Dantsoho
Dr. Duffy says: “One of the keys to being able to fall asleep is to be relaxed and not anxious about sleep. Anything that works to achieve a sense of relaxation and reduce anxiety can be useful.”
A Bubble Bath in the PM
“A warm evening bath and a cup of chamomile tea helps me have a beautiful night’s sleep.” — Tosin Oladimeji
Carolyn Harrington says: “A warm bath could work since sleep is thought to be induced more rapidly when skin temperature rises and then rapidly drops. It also helps us relax, especially when coupled with a cup of chamomile tea, which is known for its relaxing effects. So for both reasons, I would highly recommend this sleep aid.”
“I find working out during the day and staying away from caffeine a few hours before bed helps."—Nichole Ogden Garci
Dr. Duffy says: "These are both great suggestions. Anyone who is having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep should try to reduce or eliminate their caffeine intake, and then make sure the caffeine they do use is early in the day (ideally before lunch) to reduce the chance for it to interfere with sleep. Getting regular exercise is also good for sleep, but it should be done at least a few hours before sleep.”
Tune in for Better Sleep
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, listening to calming, soft music as you doze off could be a solution. Research has shown that older people who listen to calming music before going to bed have improved sleep quality during the night than people who don’t. Just make sure you’re picking something soothing, and that you set it to turn off after a while, hopefully when you’re already deep into dreamland.
Relax In a Rocking Chair
It’s well known that babies fall fast asleep when they’re rocked gently back and forth in a carriage or a mother’s arms. Surprisingly, the same trick works with adults, say Swiss researchers. When study participants napped in a hammock-like bed, they fell asleep faster and entered the restorative deep-sleep phase sooner than when they slept in a regular bed. It seems that the gentle swinging sensation primes areas of the brain involved in deep sleep. While you can’t exactly doze off in a hammock every night, try chilling out in a rocking chair before hitting the sheets to mimic the motion and help your body feel sleepy.
Power Down an Hour Before Bed
“Sleep is not an on-and-off switch,” says sleep expert and clinical psychologist Michael Breus, PhD, author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan. “Your body needs time to unwind and ready itself for shuteye.” That’s why Dr. Breus recommends practicing a three-part routine called the “Power-Down Hour.” During the first 20 minutes, complete any chores that absolutely must get done before bedtime. Wash your face, brush your teeth, and get dressed for bed during the next 20 minutes. For the last 20 minutes, lie in bed quietly and meditate. Focus on the rhythm of your breathing and shoo away any negative thoughts during this time.
Count Sheep… Backward
If your mind tends to race as soon as your head hits the pillow, put the brakes on this sleep-stealing habit by distracting yourself from rehashing the day’s events. One tip Breus offers his patients: Count down from 300 in multiples of three. “Because this task is mathematically complicated to do in your head,” he explains, “it forces your brain to focus on something else besides your worries.”
Try Some Gentle Yoga
Practice 15 minutes of simple, yoga-like poses (such as neck rolls, shoulder rolls, and arm and back stretches) to help your muscles unwind before hitting the sheets, says Helene A. Emsellem, MD, director of The Center for Sleep & Wake Disorders in Chevy Chase, Md. But go slowly. “The goal is to loosen your muscles to prepare your body for a good night’s sleep, not increase your heart rate,” she explains.
Sweat Your Way Sleepy
A 2010 Northwestern University study of women age 55 and older with insomnia found that regular aerobic exercise in particular has the ability to improve sleep quality, mood, and energy. In the study, one group did aerobic exercise a few times a week while the other did recreational activities like attending cooking classes or museum lectures. After four months, the exercisers reported an improvement in sleep quality, fewer depression symptoms, more energy, and less daytime sleepiness. The sleep effect may be pegged to endorphins, which are released during aerobic exercise and may promote better sleep quantity and quality, says Breus.
But Work Out in the A.m.
Exercising in the morning can help you sleep better than working out in the afternoon or evening, In a small recent study, researchers at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., found that people spent 85 percent more time in light sleep and 75 percent more time in deep sleep when they worked out at 7 a.m. compared to later in the day. The study authors aren’t exactly sure why, but believe early-bird workouts decrease levels of stress hormones, which peak in the morning, and this leads to better sleep quality later on.
Make Cherry Juice Your Nightcap
Alcohol is a known sleep saboteur — it may make you fall asleep, but it disrupts normal sleep cycles, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. Cherry juice, on the other hand, may help ensure restful slumber, because it’s naturally high in melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycles. In a 2010 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, participants who drank tart cherry juice twice a day fell asleep sooner than when they drank a placebo beverage.
Don’t Turn In Too Early
Even if you’re exhausted, try to stick to within 30 minutes of your normal bedtime. Going to bed hours earlier than usual may throw your body’s normal rhythm out of whack, says Dr. Emsellem. “Sticking to a routine is key to keeping insomnia at bay. While you may hate being locked into a schedule, your brain likes following a pattern.” Likewise, daytime napping, even if you slept poorly the night before, is also a no-no if you’re prone to insomnia.
Avoid Weekend Sleep-Ins
It may sound logical, but you can’t compensate for weekday sleep debt by sleeping in on the weekends, Penn State College of Medicine researchers recently found. Don’t rely on weekends as a sleep safety net, but pick a more reasonable weekday bedtime to stick to. Nudge your bedtime back 15 minutes at a time to help you adjust. If you normally hit the hay at 11:30, for example, go to bed at 11:15 for a few nights, then 11, then 10:45 — until you reach your ideal bedtime, which for most people is about 7 to 8 hours before you need to wake up.
Keep Your Cool
Research shows that the optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 to 68 degrees. In one recent study, University of Pittsburgh researchers found that when insomniacs wore a special cap designed to lower body temperature, they fell asleep about as quickly as other study participants without sleep issues. Why this works: The cooling cap helped reduce brain metabolic activity, setting in motion a normal sleep cycle. Although the cap isn’t ready for primetime, keeping your bedroom cool and wearing breathable clothing (or even nothing at all!) can help welcome the sandman.
Tips for falling asleep
* Carve out at least 30 minutes of wind-down time before bed in which you do something relaxing, such as read a book. Dim the lights in the house slightly for an hour or so before bed.
* Disconnect from close-range electronic devices such as laptops, phones, and tablets, as the light from their screens can alert the brain and make it harder to fall asleep.
* In order to calm your mind, do a breathing or relaxation exercise.
* If you get into bed and cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up and return to another space in the house to do a relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music. Lying in bed awake can create an unhealthy link between your sleeping environment and wakefulness. Instead, you want your bed to conjure sleepy thoughts and feelings only.
* Wake up at the same time every day. Even if you have a hard time falling asleep and feel tired in the morning, try to get up at the same time (weekends included). This can help adjust your body’s clock and aid in falling asleep.
Tips for getting back to sleep at night
* Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and alcohol close to bedtime. These can promote wakeups during the night.
* Make sure your sleep environment is quiet and dark throughout the night. Use darkening shades to block streetlights and early morning light, and a fan or noise machine to block sounds.
* Practice a simple breathing exercise.
* If you are unable to fall back asleep for 20 minutes do not lay in bed and worry about not sleeping, get up and go to a space in the house to do a relaxing activity, like reading, with dim light.
Tips for avoiding waking up too early
* Make sure your sleep environment is quiet and dark throughout the night. Use darkening shades to block streetlights and early morning light. Consider earplugs or a fan or noise machine to block sounds.
* Practice a simple breathing exercise.
Top Foods for Insomnia
Foods high in tryptophan – This amino acid stimulates the production of serotonin, which helps with relaxation. Include turkey, chicken or tuna for dinner. Complex carbohydrates – Carbohydrates also help with the production of serotonin, so try to include butternut squash or sweet potatoes into your dinner. Raw Milk – Although dairy can be problematic for some, a glass of raw milk before bed does help with sleep. A2 dairy is recommended from goat’s, sheep, or A2 cows. Foods high in magnesium – Magnesium is known as the “relaxation” mineral. Include green leafy vegetables, sesame and sunflower seeds, and oats into your diet.
B-vitamins – Organic meat, brewer’s yeast, liver and green leafy vegetables are high in B-vitamins. Consume foods high in vitamin B12 as your best sources.
Foods to Avoid
Caffeine – Don’t consume caffeine after noon or at all if you are having difficulty sleeping. Alcohol – Stop drinking alcohol at least 2 hours before bed and drink in moderation. Any potential food allergens – Food allergies can cause insomnia. Sugar – Variations in blood sugar can cause insomnia. High fat foods – Fat slows down digestion and may lead to indigestion at night. Limit fried foods before bedtime.
Top 5 Insomnia Natural Remedies
#1 Melatonin (1-3 mg half hour before bed) Helps promote sleep, best used for a short period of time.
#2 Passionflower (500 mg before bed) Helps relax the nervous system and doesn’t cause drowsiness.
#3 Valerian (600 mg before bed) Is effective for insomnia, but may be a stimulant for some.
#4 Calcium and magnesium (500 mg calcium/250 mg magnesium) These minerals work together for relaxation.
#5 Vitamin B12 (1500 mcg daily) Vitamin B12 supports cellular function and a deficiency can cause insomnia.
Lifestyle Remedy Before bed read a relaxing book or spend time journaling to get everything off of your mind. Also, sleep in a cold dark room.
Improve the Feng Shui
Feng shui is more than just decorating you’re space in a visually appealing way; it’s a full philosophy that instructs on how to arrange your room, furniture, office, etc. to maximize good energy flow throughout living spaces. Here are a few tips for improving the Feng shui of your bedroom to help you get the most of a good night’s rest:
-Keep your bed easily accessible and approachable from all sides.
-Make the energy in the room fresh and help it flow by keeping the air pure, preferably with open windows. Also try to have several windows to allow in natural light.
-Have the bed positioned in such a way that you can see the door. Not being able to see the entrance to your bedroom can create a feeling of anxiety.
-Keep the room neat and clean with a balanced look and feel. Clutter and trash stresses you out and represents unfinished business, which can prevent you from really resting well in your room. On that note, it can also affect your sex life.
Valerian is a hardy plant whose roots are used in a number of ways as a sedative and sleep aid. It is thought to work by increasing the amount of GABA (gamma aminobutryic acid) which helps regulate the action of nerve cells and has a calming effect. Because of its calming effect, it is also extremely popular as a natural anxiety remedy-prescription anxiety medication also increase GABA, albeit much more than valerian. It’s easy to brew up a cup of tea, but if you find the odor too strong, it is also available in capsule form.
You will need… -1 tsp of dried valerian root -strainer or infusion device, such as a tea ball -8 oz. fresh water to boil -8 oz. fresh water, hot from the tap
Directions Fill either the mug you wish to steep your tea in with the hot tap water to get it warmed up (warming it up like this can help keep your tea toasty for longer.) Put 1 tsp of valerian root in your infusion device-if you are steeping the root loose, wait to do anything with it. Boil 8 oz. of water in your kettle, remove from heat, and empty your mug of the hot tap water. Place your infusion device or the loose root in your mug, and pour the hot water over it. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Uncover, remove device or strain, and get ready to enjoy a peaceful night. Add milk or honey if you’d like for flavor.
Acupuncture is one of the main components in traditional Chinese medicine (TMC), and one of the oldest healing practices in the world. It is thought that stimulating specific points corrects the balance of energy or the life force by opening up channels called meridians, which close off when stress inflames and contracts vessels. The thin needles, upon insertion, open up these blocked channels and allow your brain to better understand that it’s time to go to sleep. It also signals the release of neuro-endocrine chemicals (like tryptophan/melatonin) to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Make Your Bedroom Your Bedroom
Your bedroom is a place of rest. It is your retreat to restore your mind and body by sleeping. It is not a place to watch T.V., or a second office. If you have them, the computer and T.V. have to go. They not only keep you awake, but they don’t give a sense of relaxation. They carry stress into your room, and stress does not help you sleep.
Stick to a Schedule, Establish a Ritual, and Keep a Diary
Humans are funny creatures of habit, and our bodies usually work quite well when something is done ritualistically. For example, exercising randomly every few days won’t do much, but exercising every day for 30 minutes will over time make a huge difference. The same thing goes for sleep. Establish a calming ritual that you do every night before crawling in bed, and you will probably find it easier to transition from being awake to being sleep. The ritual is also a time to relax and let go of stress and thoughts that crowd your head and keep you up.
Some ideas include… - Drinking a cup of warm tea a half an hour before bed - Doing a series of gentle stretches - Reading 1 chapter exactly of a book every night
Take a warm bath: There’s nothing quite like sinking into a warm tub to wash the stress of everyday life away and it also feels great to crawl into bed nice and clean. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (lavender is great) to get the soothing benefits of aromatherapy as well.
Sip something: Making up a nightly drink to help you fall asleep has the double benefits of the drink itself lulling you off to dreamland, and the ritual of drinking it which tells your brain and body “ok, it’s time to relax.” Doing something like reading while you drink your night time beverage adds a nice dimension to this habit.
Meditate: Take some time before you crawl in bed to meditate and clear your mind of cluttering thoughts. Thinking too much, as we all know, can keep you awake for hours as you churn over the same thoughts again and again. Getting a good night’s rest is not just about your body-with how complex our thinking process is, our minds need just as much help (if not more) to get ready for bed.
Get More Melatonin
This chemical is oh-so-important to sleep, but our body needs outside sources to get it. While it can be taken as a natural supplement in pill form, here are some foods that will help boost production.
Cherries: Not too hard to guess since cherry juice was one of the first things listed, but they also contain tryptophan which is metabolized into serotonin and finally melatonin.
Bananas: I remember before a solo I had to do in band class, my teacher told me to eat a banana 30 minutes beforehand, because they helped calm you down. I think it must have done something because my solo got an honorable mention, and I never do well performing under pressure. Bananas contain tryptophan, and potassium and magnesium as well, which are muscle relaxants. Have one a half-an-hour before bed every night and up your magnesium levels while simultaneously relaxing your muscles.
Drink a Cup of Chamomile
Chamomile has long been a reliable remedy for helping people doze off. It relaxes your muscles, and is thought that, potentially, a substance called apigenin can bind to GABA receptors which affect the central nervous system and sleepiness. Other studies have disagreed with apegign theory, and think other constituents in the chamomile are what act as a sedative. Either way, it’s tasty and it makes you tired. You can, of course, buy chamomile tea from the store, but I personally love it fresh as well.
You will need… -A rounded ¼ cup of fresh chamomile flowers OR 2 rounded tablespoons of dry flowers -Honey (optional) -Milk (optional) -Freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
Directions There’s nothing quite as delightful as a cup of freshly brewed chamomile on a chilly night as you settle in for bed. If possible, try to use fresh flowers (German variety, preferably) but you can use dried as well if you cannot harvest fresh.
If you’re using fresh flowers, use only the flower heads and compost the stems. Place the flowers in a teapot, and in a separate pot bring 4 cups of cold water to a rolling boil. Pour the water in the pot over the flower in the tea pot. Let steep for 5-6 minutes and serve hot. Do the same process for dried as for fresh, but use 2 rounded tablespoons of dried flowers. Add a little bit of honey and milk to taste. Squeeze in the juice of a freshly sliced lemon to taste as well.
Make a Lavender Sleep Sachet
Aromatherapy has a number of different uses, but is perhaps used most often for relaxing or creating a sense of drowsiness. Numerous studies have resulted in science giving a nod to the validity of aromatherapy. People who were exposed to the scent of lavender in the trials experienced better moods, and one study followed brain activity with an EEG machine, which showed the subjects undergoing lavender aromatherapy did in fact show brainwaves suggesting drowsiness, while other scents increased alertness. If you find yourself having a hard time drifting off at night, try making a lavender sleep sachet to stash under your pillow or on a bedside table to help you relax and drift off.
Magnesium is one of the most vital minerals, and yet most of us are lacking it. You can thank increasingly poor diets for this one. Magnesium plays a huge role in the functioning of GABA receptors, which is the primary neurotransmitter that calms your central nervous system, relaxes you, and can help prepare you for sleep. GABA won’t necessarily make you drift off to sleep magically, but you can be pretty sure you’re going to have a hard time sleeping without it. While the best way to up magnesium is to eat a balanced diet, taking supplements can greatly help.
You will need… -Magnesium supplement
Directions Follow the Directions for dosing.
Utilize Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is one of those ancient herbs that people have turned to for centuries. Once thought to be an “herbal-cure all”, it was used to treat anything from asthma to snake bites. These days, it’s used primarily to lift mood and promote calmness and relaxation. Since depression is often related to insomnia, probably because of a lack of serotonin, lemon balm can help you achieve sleep by promoting mental and physical health. Several studies have confirmed its sedative effects, however it should be noted that too high of a dosage (1800 milligrams) actually increased anxiety. Here, it is made into a mild, uplifting, and relaxing tea.
You will need… -2 tablespoons of dried lemon balm, or 8-10 tablespoons of fresh lemon balm -2 teaspoons dried chamomile -Honey to taste (optional) -8 ounces of fresh water
Directions Place the loose herbs in a mug and cover with 8 ounces of boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes, strain, and drink 30-45 minutes before bed.
Like lemon balm, Saint John’s Wort is used frequently to help with depression, and in turn helps with disrupted sleep. Its main constituent-hypercine- is thought to work by reuptake inhibition, which raises the overall level of serotonin in the brain. More serotonin = more melatonin= better sleep. You can take it in capsule form, or prepare a strong tea to use as a sleep aid.
You will need… -2 teaspoons of dried Saint John’s Wort (herb top/flowers) -8 ounces of freshly boiled water -honey or lemon to taste (optional)
Directions Place the herb in a mug and cover with boiling water. Steep for 5-10 minutes, strain, and drink once daily (either morning or 30-45 minutes before bed.)
Hops Into Bed
The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word hops is probably beer, but this quick growing vine is also an excellent remedy for calming nerves and promoting relaxation (not in the form of beer, sorry!) Rather, it can be made into a strong tea and drank right before bed, or made into a sleep sachet and placed under your pillow at night (just replace or add it to the lavender).
You will need… -2 tablespoons of dried hops -4 cups of boiling water -A quart glass jar with a tightly fitting lid
Directions Place the hops into a glass jar with a tightly fitting lid and cover with boiling water. Allow it to steep for at least 5 hours, or overnight, and then strain. Reheat or chill and drink a cup 30-45 minutes before bedtime for an easy and restful slumber. This will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days.
Cozy Up with Catnip
Catnip, a plant that is a member of the mint family, isn’t just for cats-it works a treat when it comes to having a sedative effect on humans. The compound responsible for catnip’s effects across both species is called nepetalactone. While it can make cats frisky and wild, it can make people relaxed, drowsy, and ready for bed. Enjoy it in the form of a warm tea before bed with a little bit of honey.
You will need… -1-2 teaspoons of dried catnip OR 3-4 teaspoons of fresh catnip -8 ounces of boiling water -Honey to taste (optional)
Directions Place catnip in a mug and cover with boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes, covered, and then add honey to taste if you like. Drink 30 minutes before bedtime.
Tips from Personal Experience:
• Practice meditation if racing thoughts keep you up at night. Meditation takes patience, but it is invaluable. Among so many other things it can teach you to simply let go of a thought and leave it powerless, which leaves you undisturbed and able to rest.
• Really do try the cherry juice, it’s darn tasty and makes for a sounder sleep in my experience. Make sure to drink it about 30 minutes before bed so you don’t have to go the bathroom in the middle of the night.
• Chamomile tea with milk and honey has put me to sleep more effectively then sleeping medications at times.
• Habit. Habit. Habit. Form a relaxing habit that tells your body “time for bed now” and it will, at some point, start to listen. This includes setting a bedtime, and wake-time, and sticking to them.
• Get any form of a screen out of sight after a certain hour. It has been proven many times over that this will disrupt your sleep.
• I bow down to a sleep mask. It’s gentle weight over my eyes and the ensuing darkness is the only reason I am able to fall back asleep when I wake up too early in the morning-remember, levels of light determine how much melatonin you make.
•Getting rid of nightmares•
1. Don’t go to sleep angry or stressed out. Give yourself time to cool down.
2. Regular sleep patterns = better dreams. Including weekends.
3. Don’t eat right before bed. In particular, foods that take longer to digest, like meats and cheeses, can increase nightmares.
4. Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption.
5. Cultivate gratitude. If this doesn’t come easy, do a “thankfulness” exercise every day in which you list the aspects of your life that you are thankful for.
6. Reduce exposure to violent images in the media, especially in the evenings. Horror movies can cause lingering nightmares for years.
7. Spend time in nature as often as possible, even if this means sitting in a city park for fifteen minutes every day. Many therapists believe that we all suffer from “nature deficiency disorder.”
8. Don’t sleep on your back. This encourages a special kind of nightmare known as sleep paralysis, in which you feel like you are awake and alert while at the same time you cannot move. Sufferers also feel breathless and/or sense an “unknown presence” in the room.
9. Start a gentle body practice like yoga, walking, or tai chi. In general, moderate exercise increases the quality of sleep.
10. If you have repetitive nightmares, role-play how you will face your nightmare attackers next time.
11. Keep a dream journal. Often writing it out can dispel a lot of the powerful emotionality.
12. Join a dream-sharing group. Many larger cities have them. If not, start your own.
13. Give yourself some self-love and acceptance. Easy to suggest, but hard to do. I use journaling to remind myself that I am loved. Affirmations — while they can seem cheesy at first — are effective as well. My backlog of journals is essentially a history of pep-talks I’ve given myself over the years… and it still works.
14. Keep fresh flowers or aromatic oils in the bedroom. Research shows that good smells positively effects your dreams.
* Keep a dream journal by your bed, or talk into a tape recorder. Write in it upon waking, even if it’s only phrases or images. “Even a fragment can act as a skeleton key that opens a door to learn more,” says Siegel.
* Wake up naturally, or to a tone alarm.Avoid clock radios, says Siegel. If you hear a radio announcer’s voice or music, it may draw you away from the dream.
* Talk to someone about your nightmare.“The act of telling is a release, it’s similar to how crying works to relieve grief,” says Jill Fischer, a Norwich, CT psychotherapist.
* Visualize a safe place. And visit that place during the day if the nightmare causes anxiety. Think of that place before falling asleep, says Fischer, who helped launch the National Nightmare Hotline (1-866-DRMS911).
Improve your sleep. Take actions to make the quality of your sleep improve. Poor sleeping habits can make nightmares more likely to occur. Take some of the following steps to help get a good nights rest:
* Get regular exercise. Exercise helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.
* Limit caffeine and alcohol. Both can reduce the quality of your sleep.
* Make time for activities that you enjoy.
* Practice meditation or relaxation techniques.
* Have a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday.
Tense and relax your muscles as you fall asleep. Start with your head and shoulders, tense and release those muscles. Work your way down your body, tense and release each area. Doing this has been proven to reduce the occurrence of nightmares by up to eighty percent.
* By tensing your muscle first, you allow for a deeper relaxation of it.
* You can do this many times a day, in addition to right before bed.
Make your bedroom a place for sleep only. Don’t do any other activities in your bedroom that would be counted as “waking” activities. By mentally establishing that your bed is a place for sleep and rest alone, you will be able to fall asleep more quickly and more deeply.
* Avoid any activities, even simple ones such as reading or watching TV, while in your bed.
* Only go to bed when tired and ready for sleep.
Often nightmares are merely a symptom of stress during the day; if you’re stressed during the day then it only stands to reason that you would be stressed in your thoughts during the night. Consider your nightmare a sign that all is not well in that case and then try and identify what the causes of stress in your daily life are. If you can address these then you will be able to reduce the likelihood of nightmares during the night. If your causes of stress are not things that you can change or confront, then seeing a therapist might be a good way to help you deal with them more effectively. Alternatively you could just try getting away for a while by going on holiday.
Illness and particularly fever is another common cause of nightmares and here your body’s distress is reflected in your dreams. This will hopefully just pass, but in the meantime you can make sure that you are comfortable and a good temperature and make sure to take medication such as painkillers before you doze off. Bear in mind that sometimes nightmares about the body can be your body’s way of telling you that you are ill or have an injury, so you should look into whether this is in fact the case.
If you use recreational drugs then this will be very likely to be causing the nightmares and that is just one more reason to stop. Likewise alcohol and even smoking can cause you to have nightmares so it’s a good idea to avoid these.
Don’t go straight to bed while you’re wide awake if you’ve spent the day watching scary films, being very busy, or stressing about various things. This way you will go to bed on that train of thought and this will be likely to lead you into a nightmare. Instead then give yourself an hour or so where you purposefully relax and de-stress. Reading a book is a great way to do this, and particularly if it’s a positive and funny story.
Watch Your Diet
What you eat can affect your dreams just as drugs can – remember that food interacts with your body in a variety of different ways just like drugs do. Make sure then that you watch your diet carefully and avoid things like caffeine that can cause your mind to race, carbs that can give you too much extra energy, and things that are hard to digest that can cause you to have disturbed dreams.
Go to the Toilet
It sounds very simple, but it’s a good precaution to take. A common form of physical stress when you are sleeping is needing the toilet and that can find its way into our dreams in a variety of different ways – sometimes as nightmares.
Analyze Your Dream
If you subscribe to the Freudian/psychodynamic school of psychology, then the belief is that dreams are our unconscious thoughts and desires rising to the surface (Freud called dreams the ‘royal road to the unconscious mind’) and that it is only when we have acknowledged and confronted these thoughts that we can move on and forget them. Try to think of any hidden messages that might be in those dreams and metaphors – could your dreams represent something else? What’s going on in your life at the moment? What do you associate these dreams with? Look for common themes and patterns and try to identify the cause. If nothing else though, just examining your dream and looking at it objectively can make you see just how ridiculous it was and how there’s really nothing to be afraid of. Nightmares are scary because we aren’t thinking straight, but there are almost always gaping flaws in the logic and the plots and the villains of the piece are very rarely anything to be afraid of and when you hear it out loud this can take that fear away. 'I was being chased by this kind of horrible cat….’
Talk About Your Dream/Draw Your Dream
If analyzing the dream on your own isn’t enough then talking to someone else and getting a second opinion can help. Again they can help you to laugh about it and can help to critique it, but at the same time they will also be able to help you see things you might have missed such as connections to your real life.
Disturbed sleep and light sleep is when we remember most of our dreams and that includes nightmares. Try to remember the last time you had a dream – in all likelihood it will have been when you set the alarm on snooze and went back to sleep. The same goes for nightmares, so just make sure you get heavy deep sleep and you probably won’t be woken by as many dreams.
As mentioned already, various forms of physical and psychological stress can manifest itself as nightmares when you are asleep and that means things like illnesses or even needing the toilet. At the same time your sleeping self might interpret a flashing light as some kind of siren or alien, or a cool breeze against your skin might arouse you and make you feel more stressed. Make sure then that your environment is entirely free of such things – that it is completely dark and that it is very warm.
Lucid dreams are dreams where you become aware that you are sleeping and then thus have the ability to wake up out of that dream or to even better – begin controlling that dream and directing it. This can of course help you to avoid nightmares and make them less scary so it is something worth practicing. To try and accomplish this ability, you should try to recognize common themes in your dreams that might act as warning signs that you are in fact asleep – this is particularly useful for recurring nightmares. When you notice this repeating itself – you will hopefully realize you’re dreaming. Another strategy is to try doing 'reality tests’ throughout the day such as pinching yourself so that it becomes habit. Then hopefully you will do this in your dream and this time the reality will fail the test. Now in theory you can give your nightmare a happy ending.
How to Stop Nightmares
So what to do when nightmares and night terrors go bump in the night?
Let’s start with nightmares. I respectfully disagree with Freudian and Jungian analysts who say nightmares are valuable and can teach you about yourself if you just examine their symbolism. I say they’re scary, and especially if they stem from a trauma, can wreck your nights and, by extension, your days.
Now, big breakthroughs in psychology are rare, but one occurred in 2001 with the publication of a study in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Barry Krakow, a sleep medicine physician and founder of a sleep research non-profit hypothesized that while nightmares directly following a trauma may be helpful in processing the event, chronic nightmares are just your brain stuck in a rut.
He developed a therapy called Image Rehearsal Therapy, or IRT. In his study, sexual assault survivors with PTSD deliberately changed the plot and imagery of their nightmares - basically, they got to rewrite the whole script.
Krakow asked participants to write down their disturbing dreams, and then instructed them to “change the nightmare any way you wish.” So for example, an assailant with a knife might become a kitten. Balls of fire might become soap bubbles. Being chased might become a stroll on the beach.
The patients rehearsed the new dream for anywhere from 5-20 minutes a day for 3 weeks while they were awake. What happened? Three months after the start of the study, the number of total nightmares per week, number of nights per week with a nightmare, and overall PTSD symptoms were all significantly reduced, while the participants’ sleep was significantly improved.
A 2009 follow-up by a different group of researchers with a different population - U.S. veterans - achieved the holy grail of data replication. They found IRT worked to reduce the frequency of nightmares, both trauma-related and not, and reduced PTSD symptoms 3 months after the program. It almost seems too easy, but it speaks to the resilience of our brains, even after a major trauma.
Overcoming Nightmares With Lucid Dreaming
Unfortunately for many people, instead of providing an outlet for unlimited fantasy and delight, dreams can be dreaded episodes of limitless terror. As is discussed in the books Lucid Dreaming (LaBerge, 1985), Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming (EWLD) (LaBerge and Rheingold, 1990) and Lucid Dreaming: A Concise Guide to Awakening in Your Dreams and in Your Life (LaBerge, 2004), lucid dreaming may well be the basis of the most effective therapy for nightmares. If you know you are dreaming, it is a simple logical step to realizing that nothing in your current experience, however unpleasant, can cause you physical harm. There is no need to run from or fight with dream monsters. In fact, it is often pointless to try, because the horror pursuing you was conceived in your own mind, and as long as you continue to fear it, it can pursue you wherever you dream yourself to be. The only way to really “escape” is to end your fear. (For a discussion of reasons for recurrent nightmares, see “Overcoming Nightmares” from EWLD.) The fear you feel in a nightmare is completely real; it is the danger that is not.
Unreasonable fear can be defused by facing up to the source, or going through with the frightening activity, so that you observe that no harm comes to you. In a nightmare, this act of courage can take any form that involves facing the “threat” rather than avoiding it. For example, one young man dreamt of being pursued by a lion. When he had no place left to run, he realized he was dreaming and called to the lion to “come and get him.” The challenge turned into a playful wrestling match, and the lion became a sexy woman (NightLight 1.4, 1989, p. 13). Monsters often transform into benign creatures, friends, or empty shells when courageously confronted in lucid dreams. This is an extremely empowering experience. It teaches you in a very visceral manner that you can conquer fear and thereby become stronger.
The effects of visual imagery on the body are well-established. Just as skill practice in a dream can enhance waking performance, healing dream imagery may improve physical health. Medical patients have often used soothing and positive imagery to alleviate pain, and the dream world offers the most vivid form of imagery. Thus, some people have use lucid dreams in overcoming phobias, working with grief, decreasing social and sexual anxieties, achieving greater self-confidence and by directing the body image in the dream to facilitate physical healing. The applications, which are described in greater detail in EWLD, deserve clinical study as they may be the greatest boon that lucid dreaming has to offer. Other potential healing applications of lucid dreaming include: practice of physical skills by stroke and spinal cord injury patients to encourage recovery of neuromuscular function, enjoyment of sexual satisfaction by people with lower body sensory loss (fully satisfying dream sex requires only mental stimulation!), more rapid recovery from injury or disease through the use of lucid dream imagery, and an increased sense of freedom for anyone who feels limited by disability or circumstance.
Sorry, I don’t remember all the sources, I’ve had these since October… anyways, I really hope something here can help somebody!
Things the 104 do when they're having some relaxing alone time. Example: I lay down in the shower until I'm fighting to not fall asleep lol
UGH OH GOSH I UNDERSTAND YOU WITH THE SHOWER THING!! running water is like,, good noise AAAAAA
mikasa: probably does little wood carvings from as simple as just a pointed stick to a little wooden bunny figure
reiner: works out bc he’s a DUMB,,,
bertholdt: probably reiner’s weight for push-ups and stuff. if reiner flirts with him though he’ll become really sweaty and just slide off into the oblivion
annie: she probably tries to befriend the cats that wander around by leaving out food and waiting. she usually falls asleep and then when she wakes up all the food is gone ):
eren: collects flowers and other weird plants he finds. if he finds berries or fruits he might try to eat it unless he remembers the last time he tried and almost died
(on a serious note though he probably just bakes cookies or something but he probably gets distracted kneading/mixing the dough bc it’s satisfying)
marco: he doesn’t like just sitting around because he’ll get very fidgety so he usually reads or organizes his whole bookshelf (but if he does the latter you can’t interrupt him he needs to finish it before he can even speak)
connie: kinda just wonders around the place. he probably ends up climbing up a tree at some point lmao
sasha: practices archery by trying hunt some birds and small animals
historia: probably knits scarves and mittens and etc
ymir: takes the clothes historia makes and tests it for fashionability
armin: usually with eren and identifying the plants he finds with a nature scouting book they found
I swear I spend my days off fluctuating between “let’s sleep in and relax” and “this is my only opportunity to clean this nasty house!” I want to cry. And relax and have fun and set my house on fire. 😭
Hey Jess ♡ Could I please get a match up? I'm 160 cm tall and I'm a little chubby. I'm an Aquarius and I'm very quiet and shy at first but I can be very talkative and bubbly! I absolutely love animals and I dream of becoming a veterinarian someday but I'm not very confident...I love sleeping and cuddling people because it makes me feel safe and relaxed ^^ I have a big fear of speaking in front of big crowds and I almost always have breakdowns because of it. I don't like being around loud people,
<2> because I can’t really keep up with them. I don’t hate them of course! Oh I forgot to say that I’m a very awkward person and I don’t start conversations but instead I wait for the other person to say something,,,I don’t know, I get really nervous when talking to someone I’m not friends with, and I usually use very formal English. I blush very easily and I don’t really like it, my face goes super red even when I don’t want it to…I hope this was okay! I’m sorry for the long ask ;-;
Milk you’re so nice and pure so who else would I be able to match you with but your husband?! <3
I ship you with; Giorno Giovanna!
He’s got a soft spot for animals so Giorno would think that your dream of becoming a veterinarian is a rather admirable and honest occupation. Having the connections that he does, Giorno would also offer to help you attain the role much quicker if you wanted him to, but would completely understand if you wanted to attain the goal with your own two hands. Giorno’s a smooth talker who can easily take over a situation with his words alone if needs be, meaning that he’d have no issue talking for you in a crowd or in front of people you don’t know. He’s also a pretty polite and quiet guy himself so you’d have no worries with having to be around someone loud- except for when Mista’s there with the Sex Pistols and Giorno can’t quite make him take the hint to leave. When you’re bubbly, he’d willingly listen to what you have to say in between his work since he’d try to make it his up most priority to spend his evenings unwinding and relaxing with you. He’d find the fact that you could feel safe enough to be able to sleep next to him, or even be in such close proximity, such a refreshing concept as he’s used to people fearing him or his Passione underlings keeping their distance as it’s not a stretch to say that he really is a rather dangerous person to be in contact with.
If you guys are having a rough day, need a time-out, or perhaps are studying for some upcoming test and are in need of some music to keep yourself relaxed, I’ve made a Playlist on Youtube with a list of relaxing tunes from the Pokémon series.
@new d&d players and dungeon masters starting because of critical role, aquisitions inc, the adventure zone, etc:
hey listen. i know it’s really super easy to compare and set up expectations that your game, your DMing or your roleplaying should be like theirs. i know. it’s super easy to look at matthew mercer and feel like you’ll never be as entertaining as him or you’ll never be as good at roleplaying as the cast, or that you’ll never be as funny as the mcelroys.
but listen to me. i’m serious. they are professionals, but they’re playing with their friends. every single person brings something unique and great to a tabletop game, and if you let go of the expectation that everything needs to be perfect, everything needs to be like the podcasts you listen to or the shows you watch–
it WILL be perfect. d&d is a game where you can do whatever the fuck you want and you should do that, but realize that with these expectations are unfair to your fellow players, your dm, and most importantly yourself. sometimes it takes a while for people to get comfortable with how things are. sometimes it doesn’t. that’s ok. just enjoy your game as much as you can