You’re haunted by bad dreams.
SOLUTION: The best way to treat chronic, frequent or recurring nightmares, Krakow says, is with imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT). In a nutshell, this involves changing disturbing scenarios from nightmares into neutral or more positive ones. Then you rehearse the “new dream” just before you fall asleep to help reduce or eliminate nightmares. Just three sessions of IRT can significantly improve sleep quality and reduce the frequency of nightmares. If bad dreams are only the beginning of your problems, you’ll need more than positive imagery for help. “Many people have nightmares, insomnia and sleep apnea—what’s called the nightmare triad syndrome,” Krakow says. “It’s a triple whammy associated with depression and anxiety.” To restore quality shut-eye, all three conditions need to be treated individually.
If you suspect a medication you’re on (say, an antidepressant, beta blocker or corticosteroid) is making you wake up in the middle of the night, ask your doctor if you can change the time of day you take it.