Trauma nightmares can not only rob you of sleep but make you dread going to bed at night. They can become a force that destroys you mentally and emotionally. It's important to learn techniques for handling them so they don't handle you.
I'm reading the August 2009 edition (yes I am a little bit behind in my reading) of Yoga Journal and I am reminded once again of all the benefits yoga has to offer in one's struggle for peace of mind and mental health.
One of the most distressing symptoms of trauma can be the nightmares it evokes. They attack when you are peacefully asleep and off guard. Not being able to get a good night's rest can seriously compromise your mental health and make other trauma symptoms worse. If they persist you may even develop a fear of going to sleep.
When considering the most important elements for mental health, a really basic one is often overlooked. It's not stress reduction, a healthy diet, exercise, healthy relationships, or taking your medications. What is it?
Working with a lot of clients who are struggling with trauma and histories of abuse, anxiety and insomnia are constant problems. Many people have been prescribed medications such as Ambien, Sereoquel or one of the other mood stabilizers for sleep. Many of these medications have been found to have serious side effects. I am not a medical doctor, but a therapist, so I do not make medication recommendations. However, there is a natural, over-the-counter (OTC) medication which I often recommend that people look up and consider: melatonin. What is it and why do I recommend it?
Do you stay awake all night and sleep all day? Do you lie around all the time but never get rested? Do you have trouble getting to sleep? Are you able to get to sleep, but wake up frequently throughout the night? Do you believe you are sleeping long enough, but you still wake up tired?