Psychologist on How to Prevent Post-Halloween Nightmares

Counselling Psychologist, Dr Susie Dawson, offers her five best tips on how to help prevent post-Halloween nightmares, in collaboration with Happy Beds.

The aftermath of Halloween and the new lockdown may mean that children will take longer to get to sleep, or wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares, due to watching too many scary films on the weekend, or even due to just hearing the word ‘Halloween’ and that word having the associations that go alongside it.

On average, children spend 21 minutes awake when they wake from a nightmare, equating to four hours and 11 minutes per year, calculated on the fact that on average, children wake once a month as found by a Happy Beds survey.

Happy Beds spoke to Dr Susie Dawson to find out how parents can help soothe children when they go to sleep, or when they wake up at night.

Bedtime Routine

“Parents and carers can help prevent nightmares by establishing a calming bedtime routine which includes going to bed at regular time and pre-bed activities such as watching stars through the window, taking a bath and having a warm milky drink.”

No Screen Time

“Electronics emitting blue light can inhibit production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. So, ideally tablets, televisions and mobile phones should be switched off at least 30 minutes before going to bed.”

Relax your child’s mind

“Before bed, try spending time together thinking about what made your child feel happy during the day, which helps support a relaxed state of mind and reduce threat responses.”

Having a special cuddly toy on the bed

“Some children really benefit from having a special stuffed toy on the bed which they agree to protect and which also “protects them”. Just like us adults. Many children are afraid of the unknown, so having a night light or a flashlight by the bed can reduce fear if a child is afraid of the dark.

Don’t avoid talking about the nightmares

“It is also helpful not to avoid what is scary during the day. Talking with a child about things they feel afraid of (such as dolls or monsters under the bed) can build distress tolerance skills, but it is best not to do this at night-time or just before bed.”

Happy Beds is an independent bedroom and furniture retailer based in Batley, West Yorkshire. Founded in 2010, Happy Beds originally began as a third-party seller on Amazon and eBay before launching its own domain www.happybeds.co.uk in 2012. 

Based entirely in the UK, all of the Happy Beds’ own products are built to order and sent from its Manchester distribution centre.

Happy Beds’ products have recently been voted as Best Bunk Bed and Best Storage Bed by The Independent, and one of The Best Mattress Guide’s 10 Best Mattresses.

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