I’ve been dreaming a lot about being kidnapped lately. It normally happens when I’m stressed and anxious.
Sometimes dreams are just dreams, but more often than not, they’re a sign that something is not ok.
In fact, dreams about kidnappings can be linked to some pretty serious things like stress, sleep deprivation, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you’ve been having the same dream as me and you’re wondering why, here is a list of 10 possible reasons you’re dreaming about being kidnapped:
1) You’re stressed
When we’re really stressed, the mind tends to reflect that stress in our dreams.
According to an article in Mayoclinic, “Sometimes the ordinary stresses of daily life, such as a problem at home or school, trigger nightmares. A major change, such as a move or the death of a loved one, can have the same effect. Experiencing anxiety is associated with a greater risk of nightmares.”.
When we sleep and dream, our minds are in an unconscious state. It’s like a mini-vacation from life where the brain can process things without any interruptions.
During this time, it can feel as if we are actually experiencing whatever is going on in our dreams, which in the case of kidnapping, can be quite scary.
But the reason for such a dream is actually stress.
The stress will accumulate until you can’t take it any longer and that’s when it will be reflected in your dreams.
2) You’re feeling insecure in real life
Another reason you may be dreaming about kidnapping is that you’re feeling insecure in real life.
If you think you may lose your job or like your marriage is over, you’re living in constant fear that something important that you depend on will disappear. That insecurity will often manifest itself when you’re sleeping, in the form of nightmares.
This is the reason why you may be dreaming about being kidnapped. You’re feeling like your security is threatened and you’re afraid of losing something important to you.
3) You’re afraid of death
One thing to note about why people dream about things that are scary like kidnappings is that they can actually be symbols of death or trauma.
If someone close to you has passed away recently, if you were in an accident, or if you had a health scare, you’re bound to think about your own mortality. And death is a scary concept, it’s the ultimate unknown.
And when the mind starts to think about death, there are many ways to deal with these thoughts including through dreams. One of those ways is by having nightmares about being kidnapped.
4) You’re sleep deprived
If you’re not getting enough sleep at night because of a busy schedule or just not going to bed at a normal bedtime, it can affect your dreams.
If this happens for a long period of time, it’s possible that your dreams could start reflecting that lack of sleep.
“After a period of insufficient sleep, a person often experiences a REM rebound, that can trigger vivid dreams and nightmares.” – Eric Suni, Sleep Foundation
Thus, sleep deprivation will often result in nightmares and it’s possible that the dreams you’re having about kidnappings are actually a sign that you aren’t getting enough sleep.
5) You have post-traumatic stress disorder
“PTSD and nightmares are intertwined in such a manner that nightmares strengthen PTSD symptoms, and PTSD in turn causes nightmares.” – A El-Solh, Management of nightmares in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder: current perspectives
If you’ve experienced a traumatic situation in real life, there’s a chance that it could be playing out in your dreams.
This is known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a form of anxiety disorder where people experience nightmares and flashbacks of their traumatic events.
And to cope with this horrible experience, they will often dream about seeing themselves go through it again and again.
If you’ve been through an experience where you were in danger and if it was a traumatizing event, these memories can get stuck in your head.
If you were kidnapped in real life or went through a similar trauma, you’ll keep going back to the event in your dreams.
It’s important to see a specialist if you have PTSD. Therapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy) can be combined with drugs (such as antipsychotics or antidepressants) to help you manage your symptoms and have a better quality of life.
Please don’t try to get through it alone. There are so many support groups for people suffering from PTSD.
6) You’re feeling trapped
One of the most common reasons people dream about kidnappings is that they feel trapped in their real life.
Many people have jobs and relationships they don’t want but are afraid to leave because they can’t afford to start over.
If you’re feeling trapped in real life, you may be having dreams about being kidnapped because it’s a way for your mind to deal with that feeling of helplessness.
7) You’re feeling a loss of control
People who feel like they have no control over their life are more likely to have dreams about being kidnapped.
Whether you’re at your job and feel that you have no say in what happens there, or if you’re in a relationship where you feel like your partner controls the both of you, it can lead to nightmares about being trapped by another person.
I feel a loss of control every time I turn on the news. Will there be war? Will we have enough heat to stay warm this winter? Will the inflation ever stop? It’s enough to give anyone nightmares.
8) You feel vulnerable
People who feel vulnerable in real life are more likely to dream about being kidnapped.
For example, I grew up in the countryside of a very unsafe country where robberies, murders, and kidnappings were commonplace.
When my family got robbed in the middle of the night, I started to have nightmares. Often, I dreamt that the robbers that broke into our home would kidnap us.
To this day, when I feel a little vulnerable, I dream about being kidnapped.
Here’s the bottom line: If you’re afraid of being hurt in your real life, if you’re living with someone who’s violent or abusive, or if you find yourself in a vulnerable position, it’s almost certainly going to be reflected in your dreams.
9) You’re afraid of moving to another country
One of the most common reasons people have dreams about being kidnapped is because they’re moving to another country.
While it may sound silly, moving to another country can be a scary experience. Not only do you have to leave behind your friends and family, but you have no idea what the country will be like.
The country could be completely different from what you’re used to and that could cause a lot of anxiety. That anxiety will almost always manifest itself in your dreams, in the form of nightmares about being kidnapped (taken somewhere against your will).
10) You’re afraid of getting married
Finally, if you’re a woman and you’re feeling nervous or even hesitant about your upcoming wedding, you may dream about being kidnapped.e
The thought of marriage is terrifying for many people and if you’re having second thoughts, your dreams will reflect that.
You may dream that your fiancée is taking you away against your will or even that you’re being kidnapped by a strange man.
Pre-wedding jitters are normal, but if this feels like something bigger, you should probably talk to someone to try to get to the bottom of what’s going on. You don’t want to end up marrying someone you’re not in love with.
How to get rid of nightmares and sleep better
When you have too many things going on in your life, sleep can be the first thing to suffer.
Stress, anxiety, and fear are all natural human reactions to external stimuli. And when we don’t let those feelings out, they often manifest themselves in our dreams as nightmares.
It is perfectly normal to have nightmares from time to time. However, if the frequency of your nightmares increases or the intensity increases, it might be time to make some changes in your life and get rid of those nightmares.
Follow these 10 tips to get rid of nightmares and sleep better:
1) Eat healthily and drink a lot of water
Did you know that our bodies are made up of about 60% water?
Water is necessary for our survival and for many of the body’s functions. When we don’t drink enough water, it harms our health, including our sleep patterns.
A lack of water in the body results in less hydration in the brain. This can cause sleep issues like nightmares, insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, and waking up earlier than needed.
The less sleep you get, the less your body has the time to repair itself and reset itself to be able to function normally the next day.
Eating a healthy diet rich in water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables is not only good for your body but also helps you sleep better at night.
2) Get enough exercise
Sleeping well is not just about spending eight hours under the sheets. It is about resetting your nervous system and your brain for the next day.
Exercising each day can help you do that.
You see, physical exercise triggers the production of certain hormones in the brain that promote relaxation and calmness.
The higher the level of these hormones in your body the more relaxed and sleepy you will feel.
Physical exercise also helps you sleep better by promoting the release of growth hormones.
These hormones are responsible for repairing and regenerating the tissues in the body, including the tissues in your brain that are responsible for sleep.
3) Use a sleep-inducing scent
The olfactory bulb is a part of the brain that is responsible for detecting scents. And it is closely linked to the part of the brain that is responsible for regulating our sleep and wake cycles.
Aromatherapy is one of the most popular ways of inducing relaxation and helping people to sleep better.
A few years ago I got myself an essential oil diffuser and I’ve found it to be very helpful in getting me to relax before going to sleep.
Choose a scent that is known to have a relaxing effect on the human mind and a sleep-inducing scent such as lavender. Then, place a few drops of the scent in your diffuser near your bed.
In my experience, doing this each night before bed can greatly improve your sleep.
4) Do some breathing exercises before bed
Breathing exercises not only help you to relax and calm your mind, but they also improve the flow of oxygen into your body.
This flow of oxygen and reduction of carbon dioxide in the body is one of the primary factors that induce sleep.
There are many breathing exercises you can try before going to bed.
Personally, I like to lie flat on my back and breathe in to a count of five – one, two, three, four, five – then breathe out to a count of five – one, two, three, four, five.
I also try to stay present during the exercise.
When my thoughts start to wander, I focus on my chest and belly expanding; on how warm the air feels going in, and cold going out, and on the sound the breath makes.
I do this for about ten minutes and after that, I’m out like a baby.
5) Record your nightmares and identify what triggered them
You may think that nightmares don’t mean anything, but in fact, they are a form of dreams that are often trying to tell you something important.
If the frequency of your nightmares increases or you start having nightmares that you never had before, it is important to keep a journal next to your bed and record every detail of your nightmares.
This will help you to identify what triggered them.
So, if you are having nightmares more often than usual, start a dream journal and see if it helps you to reduce their frequency.
6) Meditate and practice self-awareness every day
Meditation is not only beneficial for those who experience stress and anxiety. It is also beneficial for people who have trouble sleeping.
Actually, it’s good for everything, and even if you don’t have a problem it will benefit you.
It has been shown that meditation increases serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating our mood and sleep.
“Neurotransmitter manipulation shows that an imbalance in serotonin may cause simultaneous depression and sleep disorder symptoms.” – J McClenathan
People who suffer from sleeping disorders often suffer from low levels of serotonin. This makes it difficult for them to sleep. Meditation can help increase serotonin levels and make it easier for people to sleep.
Other types of self-awareness exercises that can help you sleep better are yoga, visualization, or positive affirmations.
These types of exercises help you to calm your mind and focus on your breathing. They also help to relax your body and calm your thoughts so you can sleep better.
7) Practice yoga
Yoga isn’t just about getting into shape.
Yoga has many health benefits including improving your sleep, reducing stress and anxiety, improving your mental and physical health, improving your immune system, and improving your digestion.
With all these benefits and hundreds of free yoga classes online, it’s hard to find an excuse not to do yoga.
8) Try light therapy
Light therapy is a type of treatment that uses light to improve seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as well as other health conditions.
Compared to other types of sleep therapy, light therapy is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve sleep quality.
Improving the quality of your sleep, it can also help reduce the frequency of nightmares (such as being kidnapped).
According to Danielle Pacheco at Sleep Foundation, “Light therapy can be helpful for people with insomnia, circadian rhythm sleep disorders, and some types of depression.”
9) Don’t eat too much before going to bed
Here’s the thing: Eating too much before going to bed can cause gastrointestinal distress that will make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
It can also cause pain and discomfort in your stomach, which can cause nightmares.
The best food to eat before going to bed is a light snack with something high in protein, fiber, and tryptophan if you want to improve your sleep quality.
Avoid heavy and greasy foods before bed unless you want to have bad dreams.
10) Learn how to recognize when you are in a dream state
Dreams are the way your mind deals with the stresses and problems that exist in your life.
The emotions you feel during the day will show up in your dreams. Nightmares are dreams that are so extreme that they scare the person who is dreaming with such intensity that they are unable to fall back to sleep.
Dream awareness can help you recognize when you are dreaming, and you can change the direction and outcome of your dreams.
If you have recurring nightmares, you can use this technique to change them into positive dreams by focusing on taking control of the situation.
11) Change your mindset by learning how to be more positive
Finally, if you want to get rid of nightmares and have more pleasant dreams, you have to learn how to be more positive.
When things in your life get stressful, your mind has two ways to deal with them: You can choose to keep thinking negatively and, as a result, your nightmares will remain or even become more frequent and intense.
Or you can choose to learn how to be more positive and reprogram your way of thinking.
Try to find a solution to your problems instead of worrying and complaining about them. Take control and your sleep will improve.