‘Tis the season of all things spooky and scary. With Halloween soon approaching, Huluween, Netflix’s Streams and Screams and other horror movie marathons are in full swing. If you’re a big scary movie buff you may be used to the anxiety and thrills you feel when watching. However, some aren’t so lucky, and suffer from nightmares as a fight-or-flight response to the movie they watched.
Nightmares are a mortal enemy to sleep and can be a real disruption to getting a full night’s rest. They’re also just plain unpleasant and anxiety-inducing. If you feel anxiety and stress during a movie, it’s possible for those feelings to manifest themselves in your dreams. Research also shows that the negative effects of a nightmare can continue on in your day after you wake up.
Below, we share a few ways you can avoid nightmares and the ill effects associated with them.
For more ways to feel safe when you’re going to bed, here’s how to sleep with your pet the healthy way and a science-backed tip to help calm a worried mind.
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Talk it over with another person
After the horror movie, discuss the movie with another person and particularly how you felt in response to impactful scenes. This can help you release emotions and express yourself, rather than having your thoughts get stuck in your head.
If you don’t have another person to talk it out with, journaling is a great way to let emotions loose.
Have a cheerful movie to watch afterward
When you tuck yourself under the covers, you don’t want the scary movie to be fresh in your mind. Try to replace your feelings of angst and fear with joy. Distract yourself from anxiety or uneasy thoughts after the movie by watching something light-hearted afterward. This could be anything from comedy to sports to romance.
Relax and distress before bed
The anxiety you feel after watching a scary movie plays a part in provoking nightmares, so practice a relaxing routine before bed. This can be yoga stretches, meditation or brewing a nighttime tea that reduces stress and promotes calmness.
Avoid snacking too close to bed
As well as candy and popcorn pair with a movie, be careful of snacking too close to bed – especially on high-sugar snacks. In a study by the Journal of the Mind and Body, ice cream and candy bars helped generate increased brain waves, leading to nightmares in seven out of 10 participants. The same thing happened when going to bed on a full stomach.
To be safe, make sure you’re eating at least three hours before bedtime.
Demystify the movie
Use cognitive behavior therapy to change the way your mind processes the scary movie you watched. Take the negative emotions and thoughts you have associated with the movie and turn them into something more positive. To do this, try watching the behind-the- scenes of the movie. This will help demystify the murderer or killer and allow you to look behind the curtain.
Remind yourself that the movie isn’t real, it’s only a production made with actors and producers to make you feel scared.
To get more help with improving your sleep, check out how to make the perfect playlist for sleep and try these seven natural aids for insomnia.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.