How to Deal with Recurring Dreams
Dream Journaling​
May 9, 2023
April 11, 2023

How to Deal with Recurring Dreams

Frequent nightmares can disrupt daily life and affect individuals. Approximately 4% of adults in the United States are affected by nightmare disorders. This article explores strategies for overcoming recurring dreams and gaining insight into their meaning.

Many individuals interpret recurring dreams as an indication of unresolved issues demanding attention. These dreams can be linked to various factors such as stress, anxiety, medication use, or even substance abuse. Although recurring dreams are not always nightmares, unpleasant recurring dreams can have a significant impact on the dreamer's mental well-being and overall quality of life. Understanding recurring dreams involves analyzing common dream symbols and utilizing them for personal growth. Let's delve into some underlying issues that may contribute to recurring nightmares or dreams.

Ensuring Proper Sleep

Inadequate sleep is often associated with experiencing unpleasant dreams. Obtaining quality sleep is crucial for restfulness and promoting positive dream experiences. Several factors contribute to a good night's sleep. For tips on improving sleep hygiene, refer to our article on better sleep practices Tips For Better Sleep (

Managing Stress

High levels of stress —both mentally and physically— in waking life can translate into the dream space. Experiencing stress during daily life increases the likelihood of experiencing nightmares.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Nightmares are prevalent among individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with up to 71% of them reporting such experiences. Flashbacks to traumatic events are common symptoms of PTSD and can manifest as nightmares. Childhood stress and trauma can also contribute to recurring nightmares later in life. Identifying the exact cause of nightmares can sometimes be challenging.

However, even without pinpointing the cause, certain steps can be taken to alleviate these distressing experiences. Keeping a dream journal allows for comparison of recurring dreams and identification of common elements or themes. The most effective approach to halting recurring dreams involves understanding the message they convey and taking appropriate action. Let's explore some methods for addressing such recurring dreams.


Treating underlying conditions like depression and anxiety can alleviate the thoughts and emotions that may be triggering nightmares. Engaging in discussions about dreams with a licensed therapist can help reduce associated anxiety. Some evidence suggests that therapeutic dream interpretation sessions may reduce the occurrence of recurring dreams.

Lucid Dreaming Therapy

Developing the ability to recognize recurring dream patterns can serve as a trigger for achieving lucid awareness. This technique enables individuals to actively change the course of the nightmare during the dream itself, fostering a sense of control and reducing fear. Lucid dreaming can be utilized to overcome anxiety and fear.

Breathing Techniques

When experiencing fear or anxiety upon waking from a nightmare, practicing deep breathing techniques can help lower heart rate and blood pressure. Incorporating calm and meditative practices into the evening routine is known to contribute to positive dream content.

Rewriting the Dream

By reimagining a nightmare into a less distressing or frightening narrative, individuals may find it easier to fall back asleep. Visualizing a new dream scenario can help reinforce the revised narrative in one's mind.


If recurring dreams are causing bedtime to become daunting, it is essential to confront and understand them. While recurring dreams may be a normal part of sleep for many individuals, those accompanied by negative emotions can be deeply unsettling and challenging to cope with. Even recurring dreams that are positive and happy may leave the dreamer questioning their significance. It is worth noting that between 60% and 75% of American adults experience recurring dreams, making it a common phenomenon. Recurring dreams often contain familiar individuals and recognizable dream signs. These dreams may remain consistent or represent recurring scenarios and fears.

Amina Mara
Amina is a lucid dreaming expert and the host of The Dream World Podcast.

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