7 Tips That Teach You How to Have Nightmares 

Some people crave the rush a nightmare brings as it pulls your mind into a realm of terror. Some even wonder how to have a nightmare by self-induction. You can even use them to confront fears, if you know what you are doing. Pushing your mind to induce a lurid dream takes focus, but it can be done. You may even be able to control their intensity.

How to Have Nightmares

1. Sleep Facing Down

Research has found that individuals who sleep with their face down have a greater chance to have nightmares about being smothered, incapacitated or tied up. However, it has also been found that the chance of a sexual-type dream increases as well.

If lying face down does not work for you, the next best position for nightmares is sleeping on your back or left side. However, for some people, their sleeping position does not affect their ability to dream at all.

2. Consume Specific Foods Before Bedtime

People believe that eating fatty, spicy or salty foods before bedtime will induce bad dreams. However, there are conflicting views about this. Some think these foods will impede the dream process by disrupting your REM sleep. They may even prevent you from falling to sleep all together, thus thwarting your nightmare attempts. On the other side of the spectrum, some researchers believe these foods can cause more vivid dreams. Results vary per individual, so you can just have a try.

3. Give Yourself a Little Scare Before Bed

How to have nightmares? Listening to a scary bedtime story, watching a horror flick or playing an eerie game before bedtime may cause you to have nightmares. Your mind loves to play tricks on you and if you scare yourself a little before lying down, it may cling to those emotions.

Another way to bring on the same effect is to think about or look at a picture of something you are scared of. An example would be an image of a spider if you suffer from arachnophobia. You don’t want to scare yourself too much; otherwise you may hinder your attempts to fall asleep at all.

4. Try Vitamin B6

While there is not conclusive evidence, some think consuming vitamin B6 might make dreams more vivid and realistic. One possibility may be its effect on your brain, which increases your ability to remember your nightmare or enhances the process of dreaming.

It is important to note that an adult should not consume more that 100 mg of vitamin B6 per day. The dosage is 80 mg for children aged 14-18 and 60 mg for children aged 9-13.

5. Take a Melatonin Supplement

Studies have found indications that taking a melatonin supplement may cause bizarre or realistic dreams. When trying to figure out how to have nightmares, consider adding it to your diet. Even if it does not induce bad dreams, it may cause a new type of dream journey or experience for you.

Melatonin is considered safe for the most part and is usually taken in doses up to 20 mg per day. You should speak with your doctor before adding it because of possible allergies or interactions with different medications. Also, use with caution if you are pregnant.

6. Consume Small Amounts of Alcohol, Caffeine or Nicotine

Consuming too much alcohol, caffeine or nicotine can ruin your sleep, but in small quantities it may bring on the nightmares you seek. If you decide to try this method, start with small amounts and stop once you cannot fall asleep or wake up throughout the night.

If adding these substances to your diet before bed makes you tired in the morning, stop consuming them. Less sleep, especially if you toss and turn, can actually impede your dreaming. 

7. Focus Your Mind on Fear-Inducing Topic

As you fall asleep each night, concentrate on something that can cause anxiety or perhaps even fear. By focusing your mind on this topic every night, you increase your chances of dreaming about it. Your brain may even continue to analyze the situation, resolving any conflict you have with the topic.


  • Never consume or abuse a drug just to induce a dream or nightmare. You may cause serious or irreversible damage to your body.
  • Experiencing regular nightmares may increase your anxiety or cause constant fatigue.
  • If you suffer from a mental illness, you should not induce nightmares. Whether you take medication or not for your disorder, attempting to cause lurid dreams may negatively affect your mental and emotional state.

Interesting Facts About Nightmares

1. Nightmare Can Scare You Without Being Scary

When considering how to have nightmares, remember not everyone scares the same thing. If you are scared by a nightmare where you are being chased down the street, a similar dream may not scare to another person. There is usually a strong emotional tie, in the form of panic, anxiety or fear, to the topic of a dream to make it scary. Often, no tie means no fright.

2. Nightmares Are More Likely During Active REM Sleep

Nightmares can happen anytime during sleep, but are more likely to occur during the latter half of your REM sleep. REM, referring to rapid eye movement, is when you are close to consciousness, especially during the second half of the cycle. Because of this, your dreams or nightmares appear to be more vivid and pronounced.

3. Nightmares Hang on for a Bit After You Wake Up

Bad or negative experiences or emotions tend to stick with us longer than the positive ones. Because nightmares occur immediately before you wake up, you hold on to them a bit longer than a regular dream. Some individuals can remember a bad dream even for decades.