While many of us think of settling down in bed for the evening as a source of bliss, for those who have nightmares, going to sleep can be scary.

There’s nothing quite like being pulled out of sleep by a bad dream.

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We found out from the experts what causes nightmares and what you can do to stop them.

Why do we have nightmares?

“Dreams are messages of our sub conscious, uncensored and can therefore seriously influence our decision-making process if we decide to listen to them and pay attention,” explains Christine Hansen, sleep expert and eve Sleep spokesperson.

“When it comes to nightmares it is something that your brain has trouble processing and the best way to come to terms with them is to first acknowledge the fact that your brain is trying to work through something,” she says.

What can you do to stop having nightmares?

To work out how to stop having bad dreams, you first need to find out what the cause is, Chris Brantner, founder of SleepZoo.com says.

“Stopping nightmares relies on our ability to pinpoint the cause. For example, withdrawing from medications or alcohol could cause nightmares. Sleep deprivation could lead to bad dreams. Late night snacks, anxiety, and sleep apnea are other common catalysts.

“A good starting point to figuring out what’s going on would be to start a sleep journal. Record bedtimes, what you did before bed, what you ate or drank and when, medications taken, etc. You might also try a sleep tracker like the Sleep Cycle app that will let you know if and when you snored,” Chris explains.

Christine says to try and write down or draw what happened in your dreams to try and work out the cause.

As dreams can also be “day residue”, take a look at what happened the previous day to see if that’s a possible cause too.

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“Once you have figured that out, the best way forward is to work on the source of fear. You can do so by, for example, writing down why you are scared of the said subject or you can work with a therapist if you need further guidance,” Christine adds.

“You can also work with aromatherapy whilst you are writing them down by using an essential oil that helps you to feel safe and relaxed.

“You can also work ahead if you frequently have bad dreams by having a notebook with you during the day and writing down whatever triggers you negatively. That way you give your brain the chance to process during the day as opposed to having to do the heavy emotional lifting during your dreams.”

What do you do to keep nightmares at bay? Let us know in the Comments section below.