I have really bad nightmares. Is there anything I can do to get them to stop? – Hunter* Almost everyone has nightmares from time to time. But some things can contribute to persistent bad dreams. For some people, medicines, alcohol, drugs, lack of sleep, fever, or anxiety sometimes cause nightmares. Often, though, nightmares seem to be triggered by emotional issues at home or school, major life changes (such as a move), trauma, and stress — even if what happens in the nightmares seems unrelated to your life. What Can Help? Try to eliminate bad dreams by: Setting a regular sleep schedule. It should include enough sleep at night so you don't feel the urge to take afternoon or evening naps. Cutting out caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes (especially late in the day). Exercising during the day — but don't work out right before going to bed. Relaxing before falling asleep. But avoid violent or scary movies, TV shows, books, and video games. In rare cases, a medical problem may cause sleep disturbances — and for that, a visit with your doctor is the way to go. If something is really bothering you, if you're anxious or fearful, or if you continue to have bad nightmares, look into seeing a counselor or a psychologist. Getting to the root of an emotional problem could solve the nightmare problem. *Names have been changed to protect user privacy. Back to Articles Related Articles Stress & Coping Center Visit our stress and coping center for advice on how to handle stress, including different stressful situations. Read More Common Sleep Problems Sleep problems can keep some teens awake at night even when they want to sleep. If that sounds like you, find out what you can do. Read More Yoga for Stress Relief Yoga can help reduce stress because it promotes relaxation, which is the natural opposite of stress. These tips for teens can help you tap into yoga's stress-reducing benefits. Read More How Much Sleep Do I Need? Teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. But you might not be getting it. Here's why - and tips for getting more shut-eye. Read More Stress There's good stress and bad stress. Find out what's what and learn practical ways to cope in this article. Read More 5 Ideas for Better Sleep Insomnia can be a big problem for teens. Read our tips on getting a good night's sleep. Read More Why Exercise Is Wise Getting the right amount of exercise can rev up your energy levels and even help you to feel better emotionally. Find out why. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.