How To Sleep After Seeing Something Traumatic (5 tips)

As a BetterHelp affiliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.

This article will provide a step by step guide on how to sleep after seeing something traumatic. Furthermore, the article will also highlight the consequences of seeing something traumatic on your night time experience and how it affects your sleep patterns. 

How To Sleep After Seeing Something Traumatic?

Here are a few ways to sleep after seeing something traumatic that might keep you up at night:

  • Read A Book
  • Watch A Documentary
  • Talk To A Friend
  • Pep Talk
  • Sleep In Your Siblings Room
  • Turn On Your Night Light
  • Relaxation Techniques

Before we look at these tips on how to sleep after seeing something traumatic, let us look at why seeing something traumatic may prevent us from having a good night’s sleep!

Trauma & Sleep 

Here are a few reasons as to why something traumatic may keep us awake at night!

A Tolling Experience!

Although we may believe that what we saw may not happen to us, we are exhausted after the experience. This is because when you see something traumatic it can emotionally, mentally and physically drain us. If we do something which is gory or vulgar then it can leave a bad effect on our mind. It shocks us and leaves us dazed in a way that we cannot return to our normal selves. We become restless and regret seeing what we saw!

Many studies have stated the effects of seeing blood or murder on our minds. This is why people often cover their children’s eyes before they see something extremely scary or traumatizing because we know it is difficult to forget such things. 

According to studies, trauma has the following affects “Initial reactions to trauma can include exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, agitation, numbness, dissociation, confusion, physical arousal, and blunted affect. Most responses are normal in that they affect most survivors and are socially acceptable, psychologically effective, and self-limited.”

Bad Dreams

Another reason we cannot fall asleep when we see  something traumatic is because we know for a fact that we will have a bad dream or nightmares for the rest of the week! Ever have that feeling when you wake up in the middle of the night because of a bad dream and you know very well that if you fall asleep – which is extremely hard not to at that specific time – you will continue that same dream again! It is funny the same does not happen with good dreams that we so badly want to continue.

Hence, the thing we see itself may not be the reason why we cannot fall asleep but it is the dreams that result from seeing those scary things that keep us awake at night.

Racing Thoughts

Sometimes seeing something scary may kind of traumatize us! This is because whatever we saw was so scary that we cannot erase from our mind what we have seen. As a result our mind is stuck to it and we think about it a bit too much because we are not able to believe we saw something like ‘that’.

The constant thinking is one of the reasons we cannot fall asleep because the thought of that scary thing keeps our mind awake and alert and thus we stay up late as a result.

How To Sleep After Seeing Something Scary?

Here are a few ways to sleep after seeing something scary that might keep you up at night.

Read A Book

Books are one of the best things to help you get your mind off things. They allow you to enter into a parallel universe where you are a new character in someone else’s life – possibly with secret powers that allow you to travel from planet to the other! You see what we mean.

Nonetheless, books help you get your mind off things whether those things are a source of stress or concern for you or in that case a source of fear that prevents you from falling asleep even if it’s late at night and you are extremely tired!

When you read a book, your mind has something new to focus on and hence it is easier to avoid the constant thoughts your brain sends you when you are still thinking about what you saw!

Watch A Documentary

The effects of seeing something traumatic can be many! They can make us upset to the extent that we experience racing thoughts as well as anxiety and an increased heart rate. The best way to deal with such effects is to slowly calm ourselves down.

One of the best ways is to watch a documentary on something that is not stressful; the best types of documentaries can be related to our world and the universe!

Talk To A Friend

Can’t get your mind off things? Call a friend up! You have two options; either discuss what scared you and then move on to another topic. This will help you catharsis and hence get that thing out of your system and also discuss something else. Or, you could just talk about something else to get your mind off that horrible thing as soon as you can.

Nevertheless, talking to a friend is a great way to distract yourself and quickly forget about what was scaring you. Just make sure you talk for long enough and as soon as you start feeling sleepy, shut the phone and fall asleep so fast that your brain doesn’t have the chance to remind you about what you saw!

Pep Talk

Talking to yourself always has many benefits. One of them is helping you become a stronger version of yourself. This is done by convincing your own self that what you saw is of the past and it cannot hurt you in any manner or form thus there is no need to be scared and one can fall asleep.

Although this method may not work for everyone, there is much benefit with this approach!

Sleep In Your Siblings Room

If nothing works, one last option that you have is sleeping in your siblings room. For some reason, when we have someone by our side, it seems impossible to be haunted or scared by that scary thing we saw!

Maybe being with someone assures us that we will not be hurt because we are alone or that that thing will not show up because we are not alone!

Hence, next time you can’t fall asleep, don’t waste time and run to your siblings room and grab a blanket and fall into a comfortable and deep sleep.

Turn On Your Night Light

Light has a powerful influence on us. One of the best things it does – even in movies – is assure us that we will not have to deal with anything scary. Thus, if you feel scared and can’t fall asleep especially because of what you saw, then just turn on your night lamp because it will magically keep those monsters away – yeah right!!

Relaxation Techniques

Another great way to calm oneself down after seeing something disturbing is by engaging in relaxation techniques! This will help lower our fast breathing and the tension in our muscles as well as the stress we are experiencing!

The Consequences

It is important that you avoid anything trigger or situation that will scare you and cause you to not fall asleep. This is because you won’t be able to fall asleep and hence lose the sleep that is necessary to keep you going the next day! 

Sometimes seeing traumatic things leaves a permanent impact on our mind and no matter what we do we just cannot get over it and it becomes a daily struggle to fall asleep. Thus, prevention is better than cure!


This article took a look at a number of interesting yet effective ways to fall asleep after seeing something traumatizing. These included tips such as reading a book, talking to a friend or trying to calm down. Furthermore, the article also specified why we can’t fall asleep and highlighted the effects something traumatizing has on us such as nightmares, the belief it will come to hurt us and our mind thinking about it actively at night. Lastly, the article briefly talked about the consequences of seeing something scary.


What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.