Have you ever wondered why you can’t sleep after watching a scary movie?
Getting to watch a horror movie or reading a scary novel is enough to let you toss and turn while trying to sleep for a few days.
When we watch a scary movie, parts of the brain that are involved in identifying virtual and audible perceptions jump into hyperactive mode. The brain assesses the threats from a horror movie to be real and thus it starts paying attention to the environment in the quest to find threats. This is the reason why people hear footsteps, see a shadow moving by the window, or feel like someone is passing by while watching a scary movie.
As you have just watched the movie and now trying to sleep in a dark room all alone, your brain is still in the state of identifying threats. It is planning scenarios and throwing thoughts in your mind about what potential threats you can face and how they can harm you. So, the brain is focused on thinking about the threats and is in a state of consciousness.
The only way that one can get out of this state of anxiety immediately is by thinking about positive things and try to calm your brain by engaging in lite and soothing activities.
Here are the few effective tips that you can follow to wind down the fear of a scary movie and have a lovely sleep instead.
1. Get your mind focused on something positive.
The number one diagnostic test is to try focusing on something that has a happy and positive vibe to it. Doing this will take your mind off all the anxiety that the horror movie has instilled in your consciousness and helps you to get some sleep.
There are a number of activities that you can do to distract your brain. Think about a special memory that makes you happy like the birth of your first child, the first time you met your wife, or see photos from an unforgettable vacation. You can also listen to some soft music to wash your mind off all the anxiety.
2. Use your imagination and drain off fear.
The mind is the most powerful thing in the arsenal of human beings. I personally believe that imagination has no limit and it can help people get over any negative aspect of life like getting fired from a job, let down by a loved one, or suffering from a loss of finances.
As much as it sounds childish imagining about an animated scenario like how it would be like if I could be a superhero who could travel around different galaxies fighting bad guys and saving the universe or how it would feel to live the life of a superstar. Imagine the scenarios that make you feel special and let your imagination help you cope up with the horror.
3. Try meditating for 10 minutes.
The catch here is to calm your mind and feel better with the most common meditation exercise. Close your eyes take a deep breath and start breathing in and out for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also do this exercise while laying down on your bed.
Another way to fall asleep faster and clear your mind from fear is to count the number of breaths each time as you breathe out. Meditation, deep breathing, and yoga are very effective to neutralize fight or fight responses that may increase the heart rate, sweating, and shivering that causes anxiety and sleeplessness.
4. Watch some comedy videos on YouTube.
Try relaxing your central nervous system by watching some comic videos on YouTube. I would really recommend watching standup comedy videos especially Kevin Hart – I’m Scared of Ostriches, “It Makes No Sense!” – Trevor Noah, and Russell Peters – My Mom Wanted to Pick My Wife. It is a great activity that will moderate your consciousness that had been hyperactive as a result of horror and fear.
5. Make an environment that helps you feel secure.
At the moment when you are going to sleep try to create an environment that makes you feel secure. Some people feel secure when the light is on so just turn on the side lamp if it helps. Leave the bedroom door open if you are feeling confined in your bedroom or close the door, just do whatever makes you sleep comfortably. As you feel secure your brain will gradually calm down that will contribute to falling asleep after being scared after watching a horror movie.
6. Do activities you are passionate about.
We humans just love to pursue our passion. While doing things that really make us happy and grateful, our mind gets into a state of satisfaction. If you are passionate about painting start painting a portrait. Loves to play guitar then start playing. Passionate about reading, read a book that is on a lighter topic or a book that is comical in nature. I simply love to read comic books as it is an activity that I feel conforming to. Reading about superheroes increases my ability to cope up with the fear and make me feel stronger than the fear.
7. Give yourself a reality check.
Take a deep breath and tell yourself with full conviction that there is no need to be scared the thing you just watched is not real and it’s just a movie. Remind yourself that whatever is making you feel scared from the movie it may be a jump scare, a brutal scene, or the face of a scary ghost. It is just a depiction, and nothing had actually happened.
You can also watch behind the scene visuals of the movie to further strengthen your reality check. See the movie as it really happened. Just go to YouTube and check it out. When you will see the ghost talking to the film director about the next scene, moving cameras all over the place, and a table full of snacks the fear would end up in a moment.
8. Get in touch with a loved one.
To overcome fear, the best thing to do is getting rid of the loneliness. It is a very effective technique. If you are with your loved ones, sit with them and tell them about your fears don’t hesitate as it can help you realize how unnecessary your fear is.
If you live alone just video call them and talk about memories that had a positive vibe to it.
Just talk to your parents, friends, or spouse as they are the most important part of your support system.
Getting scared after watching a scary movie enhances your brain activities and the continuous horror in the movie makes your brain more and more active in anticipating and preparing actionable scenarios in reaction to the threat and horror. If you are getting scared more often and had failed to cope up with the horror for days, it is best to consult with a psychiatrist or a practitioner who had specializations in anxiety disorders and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.