It seems counterintuitive, but with a suggestion powered by hypnosis nightmares can be appreciated as having a beneficial purpose.
One of my teachers, hypnotherapist and psychologist Dave Dobson, wondered about the biological purpose of dreaming. We know from scientific studies that the first dreams of the evening rehash the events of the day, during the next series of dreams deeper issues in our lives come into play in the dreams. Dave concluded from that research that dreams served to release tensions and concerns that had accumulated in the body over the day, and over the years. He called dreaming an “emergency pressure release safety valve”.
So Dave encouraged his clients to respond to nightmares with the thought, “Thank you unconscious mind for completely releasing all of those unpleasant feelings.” One of the beneficial effects of doing that is that it becomes easier to return to restful sleep. I know that both from my own experience, and the reports of my clients who follow Dave’s suggestion.
By saying, “thank you” to her unconscious mind for a nightmare in the way described above, we naturally release the unpleasant emotions. Then we can relax and go back to refreshing sleep. This is a simple indirect self hypnosis technique called reframing. The emotional energy of our gratitude gives the unconscious mind the energy to make the release of the stress and unpleasant emotions thorough. Without the acceptance of the suggestion that the emotions would be gone for good, some little bits may remain.
Of course, if we have a pleasant dream, we can always say, “Thank you unconscious mind for the lovely dream. Please give me some more of them.” This is another suggestions or request that will make pleasant dreams more frequent.
Please try this simple technique for yourself. With a little self hypnosis nightmares lose all their power to prevent pleasant, refreshing sleep.