4 reliable ways to quickly wake up from a nightmare

Nightmares can be a frightening and unsettling experience, leaving you feeling shaken and anxious. It's natural to want to wake up from a nightmare as quickly as possible, but sometimes it can feel like you're trapped in the dream. Luckily, there are some methods you can use to help wake up from a nightmare and return to a peaceful state.

There are several really good ways to get rid of a scary nightmare. They are associated with so-called lucid dreaming when a person realizes that he is dreaming and can become a director in his own dream. Some psychotherapists teach their patients how to see lucid dreams in order to get cured from nightmares. For example, the producer Christopher Nolan mentioned that he was inspired by his own lucid dreams while working on his movie “Inception”.

Here are the methods that people practicing lucid dreaming are sharing:

1. Make sure that this is a dream.

One of the most effective ways to wake up from a nightmare is to perform a reality check. In a nightmare, things often feel surreal or unusual, which can be a cue to realize that you're dreaming. If you can't remember how you got there or things seem off, it's likely that you're in a dream. Once you realize you're dreaming, you can focus on waking up.

In order to make this, try to switch on the light. This will not work in a dream, the switcher will be going on and off but the light will not be switched.

If it didn’t work with the light, try to look in the mirror or at your own hands. This is an advice from Carlos Castaneda himself, an anthropologist who wrote a number of books among which is The Art of Dreaming. The features of your face and hands will be vague and distorted. Or they may be even not yours but someone else’s.

If there are signs, books, letters or any other texts in your dream, try to read them. This is one of the most popular methods with people practicing lucid dreaming. As in situation with your face or hands, the text will mostly probable be blurred. The words can be changed by other ones or make unreadable abracadabra. Sometimes a simple concentration and realizing that this is just a dream is enough to stop the nightmare and wake up.

2. Close your eyes and open them abruptly.

This is a very popular (almost folk) method that can be often met in website devoted to the practice of lucid dreaming. You have to close or screw up your eyes and open them very rapidly. There is big possibility that you will open your eyes in reality and wake up. If this doesn’t work, try blinking several times.

If all else fails, you can try to wake yourself up from the nightmare. Try blinking rapidly or moving your eyes back and forth quickly. This can help to trigger the body's natural response to waking up. You can also try telling yourself to wake up or visualizing yourself waking up in your bed. This can help to bring your mind back to reality and out of the nightmare.

3. Breathe calmly and deeply.

When you're in a nightmare, it's common to feel panicked or overwhelmed. Focusing on your breath can help to calm your mind and body, making it easier to wake up. Take deep, slow breaths and visualize yourself in a calm and peaceful environment. This can help to shift your focus away from the nightmare and towards a more positive state of mind.

    When we are asleep our brain switches off the commands to our muscles so that they do not twitch and wake up our wives, husbands, cats and dogs sleeping nearby. There are two unpleasant things connected with this absolutely natural and normal mechanism:
  • first of all, it is so difficult to run in a dream (for example, running away from chasing);
  • secondly, this is the cause of sleep paralysis. This is a phenomenon when a person can not move when he falls asleep or wakes up. Very often this scene is united with the feeling of some danger being present in the room.

If you are shackled with sleep paralysis you can try changing the rhythm of your breath. For example, you should start breathing deeper and more slowly. In stead of convulsive fluttering you should try relaxing, on the contrary. Try swallowing or moving your fingers and toes.

4. Face your monsters and change the outcome.

Psychotherapists, who are curing people with repeated nightmares with the method of lucid dreaming, offer their patients writing down their dreams and thinking them over at the daytime. After that the person is supposed to invent a new happy ending to his dream: the monster is defeated, everyone is safe. A ready scenario will be useful when the nightmare will repeat. Psychologists also recommend breaking your nightmare’s pattern.

For example, in stead of running away from the stalker, you can stop and start a conversation. You can try asking who your stalker is and why he is chasing you. This is how you can get from a scary dream to a calm and normal one. And finally have a good sleep.

Sergii Haranenko

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