Anxiety around sleep; dealing with dreams

Hi all, I’ve posted once before in the more specific thread (losing a parent) but i had a more general question and was hoping someone could offer advice.

I found out recently my dad is nearing the end of his illness and since then (though a bit before as well) I’ve been terrified to go to sleep. When i do i have dreams about him, usually ones where he is sick, though not as sick as he is in real life. They sometimes even seem like hopeful dreams.

I find these dreams incredibly distressing and they leave me sad for ages afterwards. Mornings are so hard because i wake up to the reality of this unbearable pain.

I know i have to sleep. I also know these arent going to stop happening, and my dreams might get worse, and that i can’t control them.

Does anyone have any advice for dealing with the anxiety about bedtime because of this?

Thank you all


This is a difficult one as is a vicious circle, wanting sleep desperately and not wanting to go to sleep because of dreaming. All I can suggest from what I have done is to put the light on when you wake up, bad or sad dreams feel worse in the dark, get up maybe and walk around the house and have a hot drink. Can you sleep with a light on? One of those little nightlights might work. I used to read trashy novels when my Mum was ill, the sillier the better and quite often was reading at 2-3am. From your post I can see you were awake at a similar time. If you read until you drop the book it might work.

Are you now with your Dad? In your other post I think you were on your way to be with him. Something I found reassuring was when a nurse came and sat with Mum so that I could sleep. It meant I knew she was safe and being looked after whilst I had a rest.

There are lots of wiser people than me on this forum who can advise better.


I don’t know if this would work for you ,but I often listen to meditation on YouTube on my iPad using earphones.Some of them are spoken meditation but there are also sounds of the sea , bird song with sounds of the forest etc .I find the latter very relaxing some last for 8hrs.I hope it helps , I find it very restful.Lots of love x

Lack of sleep is one of the worst things and finding what works for you will take time. I tried alternative therapies and they helped, anything is worth trying just to break the cycle. Take care of yourself is what everyone says but it’s the last thing on your todo list. Just keep trying what ever is easiest for you but remember we are here to help and just reading what others have done will take your mind away from the present moment. Sleep well and I do hope you have pleasant