There are a lot of people who experience nightmares during pregnancy or shortly after they’ve given birth. They’re scary, vivid, BUT you can do something about them. Here’s how.
(Of course, We’re talking to the women in this post, but you men can feel free to read along and learn something as well). Lots of women find that they experience terrifying bad dreams, nightmares and sometimes even hallucinations during their pregnancy, and they often don’t know what to do about it.
This post will hopefully help you to understand why people have nightmares during early pregnancy (And even later) and what you can do about it, or what you can do to relieve some of the vividness and ‘scariness’ of it all, to make your experience more enjoyable.
After all, no one REALLY wants to wake up at 3 in the morning sweating after a vivid nightmare, do they?
We’ll explain a little bit about these types of dreams and then at the end of the post we’ll give some tips and tricks regarding what you can do to stop having these nightmares. Some nightmares during pregnancy will be unavoidable, but you can certainly reduce the number of bad dreams you have. Okay, so let’s look at what happens during pregnancy and why it could affect your dreams in a negative way..
Interruption of your sleep!
Having a baby will seriously interfere with your sleep patterns, you’ll be up at random times feeling sick, feeling depressed or even just randomly hungry. It’s a largely unpredictable experience, and everyone has a slightly different story to tell afterwards.
What you have to bear in mind is that the body is designed to sleep in a regular pattern, in sync with the sun rising and setting, hence the ‘light’ turning on or off. This cycle physically changes your mind and your hormones inside your body. This is why looking at a screen (artificial light) just before bed messes up your hormones and makes it harder to fall asleep.
When you’re pregnant, your body undergoes serious changes and you find that sleep is a hit and miss sort of thing. This is not just while you’re pregnant either, as even after the baby is born sleep is a thing of the past. You’ll be getting up to feed the baby, catering to it’s cries and shouts at all hours of the day and night.
This messes up your sleep pattern!
It’s important to realize that it’s normal to have nightmares during this time, because your sleep pattern is so out of synch with the world. You’ll be confused, depressed, angry and a whole other spectrum of emotions and feelings. We’ll explain what you can do to make it easier to cope with in a second, for now, just understand that your sleep pattern is NOT healthy whilst you’re pregnant and for a short time after.
You’re undergoing a major life change
Now this is probably the main cause of nightmares during pregnancy, you’re undergoing MASSIVE life changes. Specially when it’s the woman’s FIRST child, the changes are even greater. A woman’s body changes, her mind changes and almost everything about her shifts in order to facilitate the new child and the new life.
These changes certainly have an affect on the mind and also:
- Your thoughts
- Your DREAMS
- Your emotions and feelings
- Your outlook on life in general
And more. It’s good to know that these changes are part of pregnancy and are considered ‘normal’. It’s scary to experience, for sure, but in terms of nightmares and bad dreams, it’s to be expected to a certain degree. Some experience nightmares worse than others, but the majority of women report having some sort of bad dreams or ‘different’ dreaming lives during this time.
The dream symbols are not meant to be taken literally
Following on from the last paragraph, the symbols and physical THINGS in these nightmares and dreams are not really the sort of symbols you’ll want to look into and take literally.
The mind is all over the place during this time and therefore dreaming about having an affair with the milkman (during a dream) doesn’t usually mean anything.
The mind is in a different state and many times you’re not ‘yourself’ when pregnant, at least not all the time. You’re changing and the processes going on inside your mind are complex. In the dream, this may manifest itself as any of the following:
- Other random things
Hopefully you see by now that the types of things you’ll dream about are DIFFERENT to what you normally dream about, and this is where the nightmares can start to creep into the persons mind.
What we’re saying here is that you shouldn’t dwell on dreams during pregnancy and think too much into them, and if you’re a regular dream interpreter, give it up during this time. Nightmares happen for any number of reasons, but here is something to consider..
Why do people have nightmares during pregnancy?
Consider that a pregnant woman is (as we’ve discussed) undergoing physical changes. Now these changes may be subtle, but they may also be very noticeable like a bad leg cramp, stomach cramps, headaches etc..
Now when you’re asleep, USUALLY you sleep in one block of about 8 hours (which can be broken down into various ‘stages’ but you’re still asleep solidly). When you’ve got things like cramps and other physical pains, you’re going to be waking up ‘briefly’ and at random times during the night.
THIS is probably what causes the majority of nightmares, because you’re periodically waking up and then drifting back to sleep, combine this with the mad rush of emotions and sometimes negative or fearful feelings and thoughts in your mind, and it’s the perfect recipe for nightmares. Sounds simple when you think about it, right?
Okay so we’ve looked at WHY it happens, but what can you do about it?
How to stop having pregnancy nightmares
So what can you do to combat the 5 meter high dinosaur chasing you down the road? What can you do to stop these terrifying nightmares?
Nothing. Nothing at all.
No, we’re joking! Of course there’s something you can do! This post would be a little misleading if you got all the way here and found that there’s nothing you can do to stop them, so let’s take a look at the causes, and therefore work out what you can do to remove or reduce the exposure to these causes.
The cause: Interruption of sleep
This is probably the main cause for a LOT of women, the fact that your sleep is being constantly messed with and you’re not really getting a solid block of 8 hours or more in a row to recover and have a normal nights sleep. What can you do about this? Well, there are a few things..
Get some sleeping pills
Now of course, consult your doctor and get a recommendation of the type of sleeping pills you should take, as some are not meant to be taken when pregnant, but there are some natural sleeping remedies you can get as well. Another thing you can do is MEDITATE but we’ll go over that in a short while.
A good set of sleeping pills will not only give you a restful nights sleep, but they’ll stop you having vivid nightmares.
Use it to perform WILDs!
As you find yourself waking up in the night, INSTEAD of just drifting off back to sleep, angry at the fact you’ve woken up (which will only further induce a nightmare), try relaxing, breathing deeply and entering a lucid dream! Just see our guide on WILDs for more information, but this is a great opportunity to use this technique.
The cause: Random thoughts in your mind
This is a big contributor. All the random jumbled emotions and feelings in your mind are not goo for your dreams. Your dreams are primarily there to organize and sort through your thoughts and store them in the correct part of your brain, so when you’ve got a load of vivid and random thoughts running around your head, and you then have a night of ‘bitty’ interrupted sleep, you’re going to have nightmares.
What you can do? Meditate
This is the basis for sorting these thoughts out and trying to remain calm throughout the day. It helps if you have a loving partner who can ‘wait on you’ and take care of you so you’re not left to run around sorting the house out as well as your mind, but if not, keep reading anyway. Meditation with the help of brainwave entrainment can be a great way to calm your mind.
Meditation is the basis of calming your mind and we’ve talked about this before on this site, but just in case you haven’t heard of it,this is for you. When you meditate, you’re clearing your mind of any thoughts and allowing yourself to just ‘be’.
You’re in a state or relaxation and this state can stay with you throughout the day as well. It’s a perfect thing to do when you’re pregnant because you can sort through the massive collection of thoughts and just let them drift away.
For more, (and we strongly suggest you look at this) see our guide on meditation and try practicing the techniques we show there.
Useful tools for stopping pregnancy nightmares
Pregnancy should be beautiful, not scary. Here are some other things you can do to stop having the night terrors:
- Brainwave entrainment – There are certain types of specially made soundwaves that change the way your brain functions, as you fall asleep. You can use these to relax deeper, have more peaceful dreams and much more. Choose the ‘sleep pack’.
- If you’ve got insomnia or you’re having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting restful sleep then you’ll want to go through this sleep optimization program OR if you’ve got only insomnia, this natural cure. You’ll be surprised how fast it works.
- Lucid dreaming can be easily used to stop nightmares. To get started, take our 30 day bootcamp, and instantly learn to lucid dream
- Be patient, and good luck!