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freqflyer,
Your comment reminded me of a close friend I had in high school. She couldn't eat pickles before bedtime because they gave her nightmares. I guess you could say she got caught in a dream pickle - lol.
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For me, I noticed I get strange/weird nightmares if I have anything sweet to eat after 7pm. Chocolate is the biggest offender in my case :(
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I weaned mom off of her meds. She had severe headaches every day and night terrors started the headaches and night terrors stopped as soon as I cut the meds in half
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Nightmares can be a side effect of some meds. My aunt stopped having them when she stopped taking Aricept.
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When my mom is having a rough night, be it nightmares, hallucinations, or whatever, I stay in her room in my little recliner. I can hold her hand and reassure her I am there and she is safe.
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I am prolly going to be only one to say this...but nightmares are a healthy part of our life. Aint fun when we are having them but all dreams, including nightmares should actually be a part of a healthy persons sleep. You *want* to dream. Dreaming is the brains way of clearing out and making sense of things that occur during waking hours that may have not been addressed. To help you when you wake start a dream journal and also read on lucid dreaming. If you can lucid dream. ...teach yourself to do so and you can enjoy even a nightmare like a tv show...movie or stephen king book...it is all in knowing you are dreaming and most who lucid dream can change dream...like flying away from monster in nightmare, etc x hugs x p.s. this advice is for you.  If you were asking for a loved one then discuss this same thing with them and start a dream journal with them...you telling them, "oh, i know why you dreamed that!" and explaining when you can. Also like our parents did when we were kids...tell them to think of nice things when they close eyes before sleep. Mine was always elephants and giraffes ;) :)
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My ex-husband use to say that nightmares were from becoming to hot while you slept. I've had insomnia since my pre-teen years along with horrific nightmares and although I've never seen his theory mentioned anywhere in my extensive research in getting a decent nights sleep - through my own trial and error I have decided there might be something to it.

So -just a good quality "all weather" down comforter in a cotton duvet cover, tank top and cotton pj bottoms and a cool - current hubbys says too cold - temp in the bedroom, it is.

I can't say it's helped my insomnia but I can say my nightmares have greatly lessened.
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JStacy, what kind of dementia does your loved one have, do you know? There is a particular sleep disorder (RBD) associated with Lewy Body or Parkinson Disease Dementia. There are treatments for that.

Sleep disorders and disrupted sleep and fairly common in dementia.

I agree with MichiganOwl. Having a sleep study may result in a diagnosis that is treatable. I can imagine, though, that the study itself might be too disturbing for many persons with dementia.
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JStacy,

Is the person on medication(s)? Some drugs and/or supplements can contribute to nightmares. Melatonin is one supplement that can contribute to nightmares. Some medications to treat Dementia can also cause nightmares.

As others also mentioned, nightmares or night terrors can also be caused by Dementia. My mother-in-law with severe Dementia was a Sundowner, and she had night terrors - the type where she believed people were going to come after her / us at night.

With the assistance of her physician we were able to wean her off the two pharmaceuticals she was prescribed, and replaced those with natural supplements. Over time, that reduced the frequency of the night terrors, plus her anxiety levels dropped significantly! She had less negative emotional episodes from Sundowning. She passed away at 93 years of age, but at least for the last few years of her life we were able to reduce her emotional misery from the Dementia.
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My husband has them. It is part of his deminta, also can be caused from mini strokes. There are 2 kind of strokes. One is rarely found by doctors, it causes personally change, memory loss, and balance. This stroke is left brain and is only found from a MRI. There is meds that help!
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Get a sleep study done. My nightmares stopped with using a cpap machine.
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Like Genesis I found human contact helped. In my case it was a boyfriend with a history of night Terrors that increased with stress. He was leaving the state and starting his own business. The last two weeks before the move he asked me to sleep nights at his house because he would wake up at night believing he was going to die. Waking up did not help, if he was alone he lay in bed waiting for death to take him. With me there, calm and relaxed, he could accept that he was not about to die and could go back to sleep.
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I have severe, horrible nightmares, which I finally (through intense therapy) found had a root cause in childhood abuse I simply "forgot" (too awful to remember). I was dxed with PTSD and am going through a therapy designed to help me remember the past, walk through it again, and regain power over the thoughts. It's brutal, but it is working.

A drug call "pravosin" (look it up, I am not spelling it right) is one of the first "PTSD" drugs used in war vets. Also for people like me, who fear sleep b/c it's not restful or pleasant. It did work, but it also worked as a diuretic and the last thing I need is getting up 6xs a night to use the bathroom.

I wouldn't "woo-hoo" the dream analysis, as this is kind of what my therapy consists of. Journaling is a good way to begin the path to finding out why you have nightmares.
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At the risk of sounding woo-hoo, you might want to consider dream analysis. You don't need a therapist for this, but reading books on dream symbology would help. Consider making a dream journal and writing down the dreams. Also write how the dreamer felt about the items, persons, creatures, and events while dreaming. Then contemplate what each of these things could symbolize to the dreamer.

Dreams are a way for the unconscious mind to speak to the conscious mind. Shedding light on unconscious feelings can bring peace to the unconscious mind.
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Ever since my DH almost died at Christmas 2015, he talks and moans in his sleep. I never thought of nightmares but I did mention it to his physician who said it was nothing to worry about.

I like the cuddling idea but be careful - the one time I decided to wake Ray, I became part of his dream and he slugged me. While I got a lot of mileage out of it, I never tried to wake him again that way.
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Check to see if a certain food that is eaten before sleeping might be causing it. Something perhaps with chemicals or preservatives. That happened to me. Once I stopped eating the offending food the nightmares stopped. It is worth a try.
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Genesis1 has the best response... being there is definitely much more soothing and personal than adding more pills!! A gentle touch & love goes a long way!!
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Before her passing, my wife had nightmares. I found that pulling her over to cuddle with me while I gently rubbed her temple or arm, calmed her and stopped the nightmare.
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If its night terrors there is medication to help. My Mom would have at least one a week.
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are they your own nightmares or someone elses?
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