Laurel woke in fear, her heart racing and sweat dripping from her brow. Her sheets were drenched. This seemed like unending torture night after night. The images that chased her in her sleep tormented her mind and left her no rest. None of it made any sense. She was having graphic and gory stories of horror that she couldn’t escape, trapped in her own sleep. She found herself in one violent nightmare after another, so vivid and so real. If only she could rest.
Maybe you can relate to what Laurel experiences. It’s disturbing beyond measure to see yourself planted in a diabolical plot that always seems to be working against you. It’s not uncommon for our stress to seep into our sleep. Sometimes it’s off putting and annoying but it doesn’t last long. Other times, it seems to consume us and all we want is rest. It’s important to keep in mind some helpful tools regarding nightmares.
- Having a violent dream doesn’t make you a violent person. Your nightmares do not define your character.
- Get fresh air and exercise each day to help tire your body the right way. Even if you go for a brisk walk, it will help.
- Your brain will find creative ways to “dump” stress, even while you sleep.
- You have the power to re-write your nightmares during your waking hours. Give them whatever ending you chose rather than letting the unconscious sleeping mind always control the outcome.
- Talk to someone you trust about your experience so you’re not isolated in your pain.
- Guard your heart and your mind. Don’t feed it extreme news and fiction during the day and then expect it not to affect you in the evening.
- If you have experienced trauma, your brain may be trying to process what has happened. This may mean it’s a good time to get professional counseling.
- You don’t have to “understand the meaning” of your nightmares to be able to heal from them.
- Remember, God never sleeps. Ask Him to help you in your sleeping hours. Invite Him into your mind and ask Him to dominate your sleep.
- Invest in an audio bible app and play it as you sleep.
- Although it seems counter intuitive, praise God with songs when you are startled awake and riddled with fear. Be intentional to sing to Him and He will renew your strength in the dead of night. He is all powerful and worthy to be praised.
- Isaiah 43:18-19 “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.”
- Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will five you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.“
- 2 Samuel 22:2-4 “And he said: “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence, I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.”
- Psalm 34:4-5 “I sought the LORD, and he heard me , And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed.”