Nightmare Scenario

Bad dreams can do more than ruin a good night's sleep. Scientists are finding new ways to control them--and improve the health of mind and body

Illustration by Lincoln Agnew for TIME

On a good night, I get five hours. Like 60 million other Americans, I suffer from insomnia. But I have a peculiar kind of sleeplessness: most nights, it is nightmares that wake me. Some are petrifying--a spectral beast is about to kill me--and some are mere stress dreams: I turn in a story that is just a blank page. For years, I thought nothing could be done about my nightmares. After all, dreams are encased in the unconsciousness of sleep. Right?

Maybe not. Recently, researchers have begun to discover not only that we can learn to have fewer nightmares but also...

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