Our advice is expert-vetted and based on independent research, analysis and hands-on testing from our team of Certified Sleep Coaches. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission.Reviews ethics statement
Do This to Prevent Nightmares After Watching a Scary Horror Flick
It's spooky season and scary movie marathons are in full force. Here's 5 ways to avoid nightmares after watching.
McKenzie, a Certified Sleep Science Coach and proclaimed mattress expert, has been writing sleep content in the wellness space for over four years. After earning her certification from the Spencer Institute and dedicating hundreds of hours to sleep research, she has extensive knowledge on the topic and how to improve your quality of rest.
Having more experience with lying on mattresses than most, McKenzie has reviewed over 150 beds and a variety of different sleep products including pillows, mattress toppers and sheets. McKenzie has also been a guest on multiple radio shows including WGN Chicago as a sleep expert and contributed sleep advice to over 50 different websites.
'Tis the season of all things spooky and scary. With Halloween right around the corner, Huluween, Netflix's Streams and Screams and other horror movie marathons are in full swing. If you're a big scary movie buff you may be used to the anxiety and thrills you feel when watching. However, some aren't so lucky, and suffer from nightmares as a fight-or-flight response to the movie they watched.
Nightmares are a mortal enemy to sleep and can be a real disruption to getting a full night's rest. They're also just plain unpleasant and anxiety-inducing. If you feel anxiety and stress during a movie, it's possible for those feelings to manifest themselves in your dreams. Research also shows that the negative effects of a nightmare can continue on in your day after you wake up.
Below, we share a few ways you can avoid nightmares and the ill effects associated with them.
When you tuck yourself under the covers, you don't want the scary movie to be fresh in your mind. Try to replace your feelings of angst and fear with joy. Distract yourself from anxiety or uneasy thoughts after the movie by watching something light-hearted afterward. This could be anything from comedy to sports to romance.
Converse about the film after
After watching a horror film, discuss the movie with another person. Particularly how you felt in response to impactful scenes. This can help you release emotions and express yourself, rather than having your thoughts get stuck in your head.
If you're watching solo and don't have another person to talk the movie out with, journaling is a great way to let emotions loose.
Try to lower anxiety before bed
The anxiety you feel after watching a scary movie plays a part in provoking nightmares, so practice a relaxing routine before bed. This can be yoga stretches, meditation or brewing a nighttime tea that reduces stress and promotes calmness.
Avoid snacking too close to bedtime
As well as candy and popcorn pair with a movie, be careful of snacking too close to bed – especially on high-sugar snacks. In a study by the Journal of the Mind and Body, ice cream and candy bars helped generate increased brain waves, leading to nightmares in seven out of 10 participants. The same thing happened when going to bed on a full stomach.
To be safe, make sure you're eating at least three hours before bedtime.
Demystify the movie
Use cognitive behavior therapy to change the way your mind processes the scary movie you watched. Take the negative emotions and thoughts you have associated with the film and turn them into something more positive. To do this, try watching the behind-the- scenes of the movie. This will help demystify the murderer or killer and allow you to look behind the curtain.
Remind yourself that the movie isn't real, it's only a production made with actors and producers to make you feel scared.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.