Nightmares are quite common in children up to the age of 12 but are more rarely found in adults. The main causes of nightmares in adults are (1) fears, anxieties, worries, and other psychological stresses, and (2) eating too much food too late at night. There may be other physical causes, such as problems with adenoids, or sleep apnea, or nasal crust that doesn't allow adequate breathing. Whenever there is cerebral hypoxia-lack of oxygen and prana to the brain-the person can get nightmares. This can occur even due to insufficient fresh air in the room.
The main cause of nightmares in children IS psychological-fear and anxiety based on frightening images they have seen or scary stories they have heard. So it is important not to feed the child's imagination with dis?turbing images. Keep children busy with creative play; don't let them watch violent or horrifying television programs or read fright?ening stories.
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The child's room should be pleasant and filled with sweetness, with nice music and perhaps some tinkling bells. Bells have a happy sound that children like. You can tell the child, "When there is a bell, monster won't come." And they'll sleep peacefully.
Rather than watching frightening or violent movies, tell children positive, uplifting stories, such as from the Ramayana, about baby Krishna, or any other beautiful, happy story.
Give the child a mini-oil massage before bed. Rub some oil, especially brahmi oil or bhringaraj oil, on the soles of the feet and on the scalp. This will help relax the child.
Sometimes nightmares come as a result 01 bedwetting. To help prevent this, see that the child doesn't drink much for at leas! two hours before going to sleep. Some cumin coriander-fennel tea (again, not just before bedtime) can help prevent bedwetting.
Make a tea from equal proportions of
Drinking a cup of this tea (made from 1 teaspoon of the herbal mix steeped in 1 cup hot water) before going to bed will help create a more peaceful mind and body. This tea is good for children as well as adults.
You can also make a similar tea of equal amounts of jatamamsi and shanka pushpi.
If allergies are the cause of the nightmares, you can help rem?edy them with sitopaladi and yashti madhu. Mix them in equal proportions, and take 1/2 tea?spoon of each with honey twice a day. For children, use 1/4 teaspoon of each.
If you sew an ounce or two of the herb jatamamsi inside a small silk bag and place it under the pillow, its fragrance will help create a tranquil night.
Doing nasya will help. Put 2 to 3 drops of warm ghee or any Ayurvedic nose drops (such as brahmi ghee) in each nostril,
To eliminate nightmares, it can be helpful to know if they are the result of a doshic imbalance of kapha, pitta, or vata, so that the imbalance can be corrected. By analyzing the nature and content of the dreams, it is usu?ally possible to find out.
and inhale (see appendix 3). Nasya is equally effective for children.
Eat dinner before seven o'clock. Eating too late at night may create night?mares.
Yoga asanas, regular exercise, Alternate Nostril pranayama, and meditation morning and evening help to relax the nervous system and reduce stress.
Wearing crystals, or putting some amethyst crystals on the four corners of the bed, may also help. You can tell your child, "Look, I've put these crystals around your bed; it will keep the ghosts and monsters away." They will feel comfortable and will sleep well.
The root cause of nightmares is wrong think?ing: negative imagination, loneliness, isola?tion, fear, disturbed relationships. That is why prayer, positive thinking, positive affir?mations, and positive imagination are the best medications for nightmares.