Nightmares are common sleep disturbances that impact how your teenager feels the next day. A nightmare has the ability to disrupt sleep, leaving your teen feeling tired, restless, moody and emotionally sensitive by the negative memory. If your teen lets you know that she has nightmares that occur every so often, come up with ways to cure her fears. While nightmares are controlled by the subconscious, there are some techniques to try as a parent to minimise the occurrence of nightmares so that your teen gets more peaceful sleep.
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Ask your teenager what his nightmare was about. Allow him to describe it to you in detail, and inquire about how certain events of the nightmare make him feel now. Identify the types of stress going on in your teen's life, and relate them to the nightmare. For instance, if your teen confesses that he had a nightmare about being kidnapped, and you are going through a divorce from your spouse, it could be that your teen's fear of the divorce is presenting itself in the form of a nightmare. Figure out the triggers for the nightmares so you can talk about them with your teen.
Create a relaxing environment at home. Do something fun before your teen goes off to bed, such as playing a family game or watching a funny movie together. Avoid stimulation of a scary or mysterious nature, such as horror films or detective books. Such entertainment could cause nightmares to occur. Instead, choose entertainment of a lighthearted nature.
Encourage your teen to get exercise during the day. Staying physically active causes the body and mind to wind down by the end of the day, decreasing the potential for nightmares and improving sleep. Whether your teen engages in competitive sports, workouts at the gym or yoga, it helps reduce the anxiety and stress that often stimulate nightmares. This is even true for people of all ages.
Create a sleep schedule for your teen. Give your teen a bed time and a wake time, and make this schedule consistent so that her body gets used to the routine for improved sleep.
Give your teen the option of sleeping with a night light. Although this might seem like a juvenile idea, your teen might welcome the thought of having a dim light coming from somewhere in her room or outside in the hallway. Light can help your teen feel safer.
Reassure your teen that nightmares are a normal part of life. If your teen is experiencing chronic nightmares, however, it might be time to visit your physician to find out if there are underlying issues.
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