I have nightmares. I had them since I was small. I complained to my parents and they told me when I grew up the nightmares would go away.....didn't happen. I control the nightmares by lack of sleep. If you collapse into sleep and sleep heavily, you don't remember the dream/nightmares. I start sleeping more and the nightmares return. I go to great lengths to avoid sleeping. I know it is ridiculous but the nightmares are so vivid and terrifying. My counselor suggested that my fear of the nightmares intensifies the severity.....say what? I thought about this over and over. I am familiar with fear intensifying as you try to fight it when I am awake. I hadn't thought about the same thing happening at night. She suggested that I accept the nightmares. Like inviting a friend to sit on a couch with me. I'm struggling with the concept...a friend wouldn't sit on the couch and throw up on me. (Babies do I guess.) So I am attempting to rethink my approach to dreams/nightmares. Another approach to nightmares is what I call 'dream control.' My DH was puzzled that I could teach the children dream control but I didn't seem to be able to do it myself. Dream control is when you wake up from a nightmare then change it. Give the 'bad guy' pink polka-dots. Very similar to Harry Potters Riddikulus spell for deflating Boggarts. http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Riddikulus
Armed with 2 possible solutions. I am going to attempt to get more than 5 hours of sleep a night. I've done it before. I am hopeful about doing it again.