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Not able to sleep and regular nightmares

I don't know if this is the right forum for this since it falls into a lot of different categories, but here it is:

I have been having a lot nightmares and haven't been able to sleep a full night for the past year. The nightmares weren't too often, but they were often enough to be noticeable, and I don't believe I had many over the summer; the nightmares really started more frequently around winter break. When my final year of college started last fall, I would only have occasional nightmares when I was sleeping alone, and I would be fine if I was spending the night with my boyfriend (we started dating in the early fall after being good friends for years). However, for the past two- three weeks, the nightmares have been every night and I wake up in the early mornings very scared. I have even been getting them now when my boyfriend is in bed with me, which takes away my "safety net" for having a full nights sleep.
For my sleeping patterns, I usually wake up at 1, 3:30, 5:30, 7am, then finally at 8:00am every night. On better nights, it's only once. On nights that are worse, it's every hour starting at 1:30.

The dreams are always someone is out to get me, or really bloody and having to deal with pulling things, like insects, out of my skin or people/ me bleeding everywhere from cuts after being attacked, or a devil/ monster themed. They are all very detailed, vivid dreams. When it involves my skin or body, that part that was injured in my dream hurts when I wake up.

I was sexually assaulted over a year ago and I do believe it's linked to that. However, I also did suffer a really bad concussion this past fall... do you believe the nightmares are from that in some way?
Even after the assault, I wasn't having nightmares as often as I am having them now (I had them a lot at first, but then they slowed down). I was having more trouble sleeping and staying asleep, but I thought I solved that by working on my self-worth/ confidence after going to regular therapy through my college. I was feeling very happy and during the late spring last year, all summer and then into the fall. During that time, I wasn't having too many issues dealing with sleep.
I just don't know what is going on or how things are actually connected (like if my concussion months ago actually is contributing to the sudden increase of nightmares and sleeplessness).

I'm really tired and getting very frustrated about this. Even though I try to ignore it, I don't think I can anymore. Any thoughts on what is going on and what I can do?  
2 Responses
6726276 tn?1421126668
I'm glad you got therapy thru school. Free group support is also available thru NAMI web site. Has a Dr ever put you on medication? It may be worth checking into just until you can start to sleep all night on your own.  
Some people take melatonin for sleep.
  Keeping a journal helps. Get everything out before bedtime. Limit TV.
Go for some exercise to tire yourself physically.
  Stop eating early in the day. Just have a really light early dinner. Even digesting food can be problematic for sleep. If you drink liquor, stop that for awhile too.    Let us know.   Pamela
Avatar universal
Your nightmares are probably related to your concussion and the sexual attack as psychological trauma are commonly at the bottom of the. Have you considered getting some deep psychotherapy? Melatonin might be tricky as it has been found to also increase stress hormones and is involved in inflammation and metabolic disturbances (see http://www.supplements-and-health.com/tryptophan-side-effects.html ).  Eating a salty snack, taking a magnesium supplement and B vitamins, and drinking a glass of milk before going to sleep may be helpful.
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