Documenting & Researching Night Terrors

Afraid to go to Bed

Many of us experience this after undergoing a series of nights where our night terrors are at their worst. The fear to go to bed is powerful and often overwhelming. It’s more than just a simple fear like a fear of missing your bus. It’s a fear that is scratching at your mind, like a scarab trying to itch, scrape and burrow beneath your skin. It increases anxiety, nervousness, heightens our senses and can even provoke the hallucinations when we’re just about to drift off.

The effect of night terrors can take away all want, yearning, relaxation, recharging, peace, quiet, and settling of sleep. Some of us go an hour on and an hour off to sleep at night in hopes of disrupting the sleep cycle and preventing the night terrors. When worst comes to worst, we will stop sleeping all together. Amazing how fear drives you, even away from the most basic of all needs it can destroy your bodily detection for want of it. When morning comes there is a sigh of relief, “Phew! I made is through one more night.” -which is quickly followed by, “And now I have to go through it all over again.” This is why if you have a loved one who suffers from night terrors to give them the support they need and literally make their lives less stressful. Sometimes the support comes in the format of releasing them and even encouraging them to go to bed when they say they need to, or when they need to leave the dinner party early, or when they need to bake cookies or work out at 12am. Chances are if they say it, they need it. They are the only ones who can feel their energy levels and the vibrations forewarning them about the night to come.

Don’t guilt, shame, minimize or amplify what your loved one is going through. It should be regarded with a level of normalcy, but above all should be regarded thoughtfully. I know for myself when I awake in the morning from a terrible night I don’t want to be talk to, asked about, treated like anything happened. I have always liked peace and quiet until I have settled and had something hot to drink. This can take anywhere from 25-45 min. If someone wants to tell me something about their plans for the day, how things are going for them, whatever, a few sentences never hurts as long as they understand I do not have the mental capacity to actually hear and respond to what it is they are saying. And I can’t stand being asked questions in the morning, especially the question, “How’d you sleep?” Because the answer is always the same, it’s always depressing for me to say it was not very good. I lie about that now, go figure. It keeps the peace and doesn’t provoke any questions for those people who feel the life or death need to know about your dreams. Nothing frustrates me more.

Anyways, back to the fact that you are afraid to go to bed. This is where I was referred by a dream specialist to leave the bed, and go to the kitchen and prepare myself something citrus. This is where I fell madly in love with grapefruits and oranges. Every night before I went to bed, I would prepare myself a citrus something. And sure enough, something about the citrus made me feel cleansed, light and refreshed. I would vouch a good 50% of the time this worked and I either had no night terror or simply a bad dream (which I could usually not remember).

Another thing that worked for me was getting some fresh air. Unfortunately this works best in the summer. I would sit on my deck for 10min some nights and an hour other nights. When I lived in this one apartment building I could see across from me and a few floors down that every night in the summer say around 1am, there was a man who would come out onto his deck and whittle. Except this was no ordinary piece of wood. He had pieces the size of a trunk on occasion. The city was so peaceful. I could hear the fog horns and the freighters, and sometimes I could even hear him humming away some tune while he worked. It brought be a sort of inner delight, quietness and contentment to breath in the still night and watch someone else who was at peace with their work. I did not have terrors those nights.

I have noticed that I can put a time frame on my best hours of sleep. For whatever reason I sleep the best between 4am and 9am, and 1:30pm and 4pm. I never have night terrors when I sleep during these times or nap. I’m not sure why but it seems to work. I did sleep like this for a while when I was working some very strange shifts (except the nap sometimes) and since it worked, I was plainly relieved I could manage things this way! But now I am not doing the same work and am constantly plagued by what tomorrow will bring.

If anyone else has any tips on how they manage their fear of going to bed, I would love to know. This is something that takes on a great many shapes and forms at night.

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