Information for Preteens:
Body Science, About Nightmares
You sleep in different stages throughout the night. One of these stages is called the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep state. You dream during REM.
Sometimes the dreams are about bad or scary stuff – and that is called a nightmare. Nightmares can be pretty scary. After all, you don't know you're dreaming until you wake up.
- Why do you get nightmares?
- How do you get rid of nightmares?
- What can you do if you have nightmares?
Why do you get nightmares?
Nightmares are your brain's way of dealing with daily stress and processing sadness or trauma. Reading scary stories or seeing scary movies before you go to sleep can also cause nightmares.
If you are taking a medicine and notice that you are having more nightmares, tell your parents.
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How do you get rid of nightmares?
It is impossible to completely prevent nightmares, and almost everyone gets them at least once in a while. Here are some tips on controlling them:
- Try to have a regular sleep schedule.
- Use a nightlight, which can help if being in the dark causes your nightmares.
- Keep your bedroom door open and your window locked and closed.
- Don't watch scary movies or read scary books before bed.
- Try to relax before bedtime.
- Don't eat too much or exercise before you go to bed.
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What can you do if you have nightmares?
If you have a nightmare, talk to a parent – hugs help too. You can also:
- Draw a picture of your nightmare and throw it away.
- Imagine a happier ending when you wake up from a nightmare.
- See a psychologist or psychiatrist if you are having frequent nightmares.
- Have your parents take you to a sleep clinic or doctor for evaluation. If you have nightmares all the time, it could be because of a medical condition. If you have terrible nightmares, doctors can prescribe medicines to help you sleep.
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high school student writer
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
For More Information:
See our Sleep article.
To get help professional help, visit the Sleep Centers site.
Reviewed by: Adolescent Interest Group
Last reviewed: August 2013