Dreams- Sleep can be disturbed by dreams repetitive, vivid, and nightmarish. Dreams are theoretically the minds 'flush' of excess activities, thoughts, experiences, fears, and memories. They are the diagnostic the subconscious runs to allow analysis of choices, decisions, and motivations to come to light. They are the psychic messages to the conscious mind addressing unresolved fears or desires. They are connections to the other worlds and realms of this or another universe. They are pure 'junk' with no meaning whatsoever instigated by, as Lewis Carroll observed in "A Christmas Carol" a bit of undigested beef. As both mental and physical reality, the dream world can be felt in both mind and body. A manifestation of this is the condition known as 'sleep paralysis' - which through the centuries has been interpreted as the work of a demon, a witch, a succubus or incubus, a vampire, or a ghost. One feels as if something is sitting on top of them holding them down or sucking the life force from them.
Responses to bad dreams over the eons of time have ranged from exotic concoctions, rituals, simple meditations, prayers, and icons.
Several actions which do play a role in resolving dream problems involve a) being checked over by your doctor for medical conditions which might cause the sleeping problems and getting medical suggestions for improving sleep (more activity, cutting out stimulants, improving diet, etc.). The increase in sleep apnea (which untreated can be life threatening) make it imperative that sleeplessness be first addressed medically;
b) Becoming more self-aware by identifying and recording the dreams over time to detect any patterns in symbols, actions, or messages so you can understand what your inner self is trying to tell you, and;
c) Protecting your sleep space, and yourself, through a ritual or icon you believe will guard you in your sleep from negative influences or forces. This might involve nightly prayers (such as a psalm or The Prayer of St. Michael), readings from a sacred text, lighting of candles or the use of cleansing incense, the use of holy icons (statues, rosaries, crosses, etc.), a blessing over the sleep space, a 'command' for a peaceful night spoken by the one afflicted by sleep problems, and the use of a "Dream Catcher" to capture negative dreams.