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Nightmares

All our fears and thoughts come out from the subconscious mind in the form of dreams at night and the mind itself seems to enter the subconscious realm during sleep. Fearful dreams are called nightmares, such dreams are usually fearful and intense, frightening dreams which may suddenly lead the dreamer to awaken, the person who has a nightmare is so shaken and scared that he may remain frightened even when fully roused from sleep. Since such dreams tend to be so vivid and concrete in the dream, the person who is awake may still feel scared and may not want to return to sleep immediately.

Children tend to experience such night terrors much more so than adult sleepers. It is often useless to attempts to calm the frightened individual. During an experience of night terror, the experience and dream is often forgotten by the dreamer by the next morning and he or she is not fully awake during the experience itself. Sleepwalking is a behavior that often accompanies such frightful incidents which can be easily inferred from the wide-eyed, unresponsive and incoherent, expression of the individual who is experiencing them. There is every chance that a person may bump into something or perhaps injure themselves by falling down the stairs during a period of sleepwalking and they need to be protected.

Observations and unrealized thoughts or painful feelings which are left unprocessed during the waking hours are felt in the form of dreams and nightmares at night as they seep out from the sub conscious mind-thus these dreams and nightmares exist as a coping mechanism for an individual to deal with tough issues. The rational waking mind is not able to resolve all issues and the nightmares form an outlet for these issues. A very violent movie may leave a hard impression on the psyche unknown to the individual and this can lead to the occurrence of a shock or scare in the mind-these impressions are hidden in the sub conscious mind during the wakeful hours and come out during sleep in the form of night terrors and nightmares. Long periods under some fevers and any length of time dealing with extreme fatigue, or even the excessive use of alcohol are commonly accompanied by the appearance of these nightmares and night terrors and this is also true when the individual is under the influence of certain prescription medications and other drugs.

Compared to adults all children in general experience more nightmares and night terrors, this phenomenon is particularly so for children who are between the ages of four and six, this is so because all adults in general as they mature are much more capable of dealing with scary events and have mentally learned additional means of coping with frightful issues and events whenever they arise-they are also better able to distinguish between reality and imagination. Children who are just beginning to speak tend to be the most affected by nightmares and bad dreams in general. The difference between fiction and reality is an area very hard to distinguish for the majority of preschoolers-this is the reason films and movies have to be rated according to age groups. Fears and troubling issues tend to become more realistic and less imaginary as children reach school age, this then is reflected in their dreams and the frequency of nightmares minimizes correspondingly.

Supplements and herbs

Nightmares may stress the individual and to aid in calming the jittery nerves and to bring some relief from persistent anxiety-the use of various supplements such as the B-complex vitamins is advised across all age groups. These supplements increase the proper functioning of the nervous system and they are known as the anti-stress vitamins, they bring a great deal of calmness to the person and induce a sense of security while relieving stress. Stress and tension is also relieved by the essential minerals calcium and magnesium which are very essential and important for the proper functioning of the nerves and muscles-these supplements in addition allay and reduce the heart palpitations and insomnia which may arise as a result of such problems. When taken just before sleeping, these supplements and minerals will effectively promote restful sleep and calm the person.

Drinking a single cup of herbal tea before sleeping will aid in deep and restful sleep-it will enable the person to truly relax and relieve tension. Any of the herbs given below can be used in the preparation of the herbal tea.

Jittery nerves caused by nightmares can be clamed and relaxed by drinking herbal teas made from herbs such as the valerian, the lemon balm, the hops and the black cohosh, herbal teas of the skullcap and the passion flower, the capsicum, the lady's slipper and wood betony can also help calm anxiety and jittery nerves. A combination herbal tea of these herbs or single herbal teas made from individual herbs can be taken regularly to induce calmness. A single cup of boiling water can be used to steep a tsp. of the herbs for about ten minutes and the resulting tea can be strained and the individual may sip two to three cups of this herbal tea throughout the course of the day as an herbal treatment for jittery nerves resulting from nightmares.

Additional things you may do

Relaxing and recalling the nightmare in detail is an effective and excellent technique that works for many individuals who suffer regular recurring nightmares and bad dreams. This recollection can then be written down on a piece of paper, alternately the person can relax and slowly visualize the nightmare, and he or she can keep changing the content of the nightmare and the way it ends before putting it all down in writing-this technique will erase the nervousness and fear felt by the person as he or she will be forced to deal with it in a rational manner.

Usual dosage

Children's daily dosages

  • Vitamin B complex, age 3 - 6, 10 mg thrice a day; age 7 - 11, 20 mg thrice a day.
  • Magnesium, age 3 - 6, 200 mg; age 7 - 11, 300 mg.
  • Calcium, age 3 - 6, 800 mg; age 7 - 11, 850 mg.

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