Can’t Sleep After a Scary Movie? Here’s What to Do | Myza (2024)

A horror movie with friends may seem like a good idea at the time – a fun thrill ride at the cinema – until you get home that night. When your adrenaline is going after watching a film, it is easy for your imagination to run wild. It can be difficult to relax and get into sleep mode when you’re having anxiety about who could be in your house, or what’s under your bed.

Even when you can get to sleep, quality sleep is not guaranteed when you’re scared. Going to sleep with anxiety means that you’re likely to be at risk of nightmares or interrupted sleep. It is only when you address your feelings of fear before bed that you can achieve peaceful sleep. Going to bed straight after being scared by a movie sets yourself up for a bad night.

Talk About The Movie – Even to Yourself

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The best way to move on from something is to process it properly. To prevent frightening images from plaguing your mind at night, it’s best to purge them from your conscious mind. To do this, try talking about what you just saw, especially anything in particular you found frightening.

You could chat about the film with someone you just watched it with, or someone you see before bed. This can be done in person, or if you can’t, texting a friend is an equally good option. Even talking about it to yourself can really help with processing.

Writing down what happened in your notes section on your phone, or journaling about it if you’re a journal writer, can help it stop buzzing around your brain. Even looking up the plot of the film online helps you accept and process what you just saw.

Watch Something Lighthearted

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Another way to speed processing along is to move on from the images you’ve seen and replace them with something else. Even if you don’t have much time before you need to go to bed, watching something short and lighthearted can help you fall asleep faster than going to bed earlier.

A singular episode of your favourite comedy series, some silly reality television, or even just a funny online clip can help set you in a better mood. Going to bed checking for dangers around you is not a good headspace to be in before sleep. Reminding yourself of how fun the world can be is a better way to go.


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Good, calming exercise will help put the mind at ease before bed. This will help tire you out by getting out all your adrenaline while putting you in a sleepy state for the night. Our guide to exercise before bed offers examples of exercise that promote mindfulness while helping to tire you and your body out without stimulating yourself further. This will help clear your mind of frightening thoughts while purging that adrenaline from your system.

Sleep With The Lights On

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Do you remember having a nightlight when you were younger? Well, this is a similar idea – and there’s no shame to it. If you really think the dark is going to continue you fear and make you feel paranoid, it is better to sleep with lights on. You will probably fall asleep earlier and have a better quality sleep. Keep your room light on, or even just a smaller light, like a lamp. If you can see there are no dangers in your room, you will feel much more relaxed.

Go Behind the Scenes

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If you want to really establish in your mind that the film isn’t real, go online. See if you recognise any actors from the film from another project by looking them up. This helps to confirm to your mind that the people involved in the movie are okay, and there is no harm. Read or watch any behind-the-scenes videos or information about how the film was made, and how they used makeup or effects to create the images that frightened you.

Can’t Sleep After a Scary Movie? Here’s What to Do | Myza (2024)


Can’t Sleep After a Scary Movie? Here’s What to Do | Myza? ›

Breathing exercises are also a great way to release negative thoughts and fears. Deep breathing is effortless and something you can do while lying in bed. The key is to breathe deeply and exhale slowly while releasing physical tension.

What to do if you re too scared to sleep after a horror movie? ›

There are, however, some expert tips you can try that will help your mind relax and drift off quicker.
  1. Talk about it and rationalise. ...
  2. Face your fears. ...
  3. Watch the movie bloopers or behind the scenes clips. ...
  4. Distract yourself and relax your mind. ...
  5. Amend your surroundings. ...
  6. 1 Tree planted with every order.
Apr 24, 2023

What to do if you can't sleep because of something scary? ›

Breathing exercises are also a great way to release negative thoughts and fears. Deep breathing is effortless and something you can do while lying in bed. The key is to breathe deeply and exhale slowly while releasing physical tension.

How to recover after a scary movie? ›

Taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, listening to calming music, and practicing some light yoga are great ways to wind down. Watch a funny movie or TV show. Use laughter to help distract your mind and forget the scary movie.

How do you calm yourself down after something scary? ›

But here are 9 calming techniques that do work – and they work quickly at that.
  1. Just breathe. ...
  2. Close your eyes and count to 10 slowly. ...
  3. Chew a piece of gum. ...
  4. Phone a friend – preferably a funny one. ...
  5. Smell lavender. ...
  6. Curl up with your cat or dog. ...
  7. Listen to calming music. ...
  8. Exercise your body.
Feb 6, 2024

How to sleep after seeing something traumatic? ›

Avoid rigorous exercise an hour before wanting to go to sleep. Complete a routine about 30 minutes prior to the time you want to fall asleep. This could include activities such as taking a warm bath or reading or doing relaxing exercises, such as progressive muscle relaxation or mindfulness.

How do you sleep after a scare? ›

Try meditation.

“When worries persist, try progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness or meditation,” says Dr. Sharma. There are several mindful breathing techniques that can help with stress. Try out a few to see which strategy works best for you.

What is somniphobia? ›

What is somniphobia? Somniphobia is the extreme fear of sleep. People with somniphobia may worry or obsess throughout the day about how they can avoid sleep. They may be afraid of what happens when they do fall asleep, such as having a nightmare or sleepwalking.

How I cured my Somniphobia? ›

12 practical tips for overcoming sleep phobia
  1. Be consistent. Consistency is essential to good sleep hygiene. ...
  2. Establish a bedtime routine. ...
  3. Exercise regularly. ...
  4. Keep naps short. ...
  5. Reduce caffeine intake. ...
  6. Create a restful sleep environment. ...
  7. Avoid stressors before bed. ...
  8. Practice meditation.

Why won't my brain let me sleep? ›

Those reasons range from bedtime habits and stress to chronic pain or mental health disorders. Some ways to help you fall asleep include doing relaxing activities or using soothing sounds. If at-home remedies don't help, it's best to see a healthcare provider for persistent sleep problems.

Why is it hard to sleep after horror movie? ›

Scary movies tap into primal human responses, triggering stress and physiological reactions. The release of stress hormones interferes with restful sleep, reducing deep sleep and REM sleep.

What to do after watching a traumatizing movie? ›

Distract your mind with an uplifting TV show, movie, or book. An easy way to stop being scared is to distract yourself. Immediately turn on a different movie or TV show, and make sure it's a lighthearted subject with a positive tone. This way, you'll focus on the good and not feel worried and anxious.

Why do I feel weird after watching a scary movie? ›

It's all about what happens in the body when we're watching scary movies. During horror movies, our brains release adrenaline, which prepares our bodies for stressful situations. Our sympathetic nervous system responds to the threat and throws us into the "fight or flight" response.

What to drink to calm nerves? ›

5 best stress-relieving beverages
  • Coconut juice. Who would have thought that coconut water helped to compensate for water and mineral salts in the body as well? ...
  • Chamomile tea. ...
  • Ginger juice. ...
  • Dark chocolate. ...
  • Fresh mixed fruit and vegetable juices.
Feb 24, 2021

What is post movie depression syndrome? ›

The syndrome that also known as PSD will makes you feel blue. You don't know what to do. Suddenly, life's seems so flat, like you have no purpose anymore after finishing that series/movies. Kevin Foss, founder of California OCD and Anxiety Treatment Center said that the sadness is due to a connection with the story.

How to relax quickly? ›

Relaxing the mind
  1. Take slow, deep breaths. Or try other breathing exercises for relaxation. ...
  2. Soak in a warm bath.
  3. Listen to soothing music.
  4. Practice mindful meditation. The goal of mindful meditation is to focus your attention on things that are happening right now in the present moment. ...
  5. Write. ...
  6. Use guided imagery.

Is it normal to be scared after a scary movie? ›

Horror movies are designed to throw us into fight or flight mode and elicit emotions like fear and stress. Sometimes it can last even after the movie ends. That can cause panic attacks and interfere with sleep, which amplifies anxiety symptoms.

Why do I feel scared after a horror movie? ›

Why is that? When we get scared, our brain's immediate response is to go into fight-or-flight. Our hearts race, our muscles tighten, we jump, we scream. When we watch a horror movie, it stimulates the brain and it responds with the physical and emotional sensations we call fear.

How to get rid of scary thoughts before bed? ›

Try this: Place a hand on your heart and feel its rhythm. Breathe in deep for 4 seconds, then take a long, slow breath out. Repeat this pattern until you can feel your heartbeat slow down. Your thoughts should soon ease up as well.

Is it bad to fall asleep to horror movies? ›

A new study suggests watching horror movies might be less advisable than indulging in other forms of entertainment just before bedtime. According to recent research, horror movies do exactly what they are supposed to do when it comes to a good night of sleep.


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