Thoughts about nightmares and buffering at bedtime.

I’ve been having nightmares regularly for several months. Periodically this happens for reasons I’m not sure why. I’ve noticed I’ve been going to bed later and later and buffering like crazy when I would normally sleep. I finally figured out I’m avoiding sleep because I want to avoid the nightmares. Unfortunately this is having an effect on my ability to function as well the next day, but I’ve noticed after dark, after the rest of my family goes to sleep I’m thinking, “I don’t want to go to bed. I’m tired of nightmares. If I don’t sleep, I won’t have them” followed by another barrage of thoughts about how ridiculous not going to bed is and how I need to get up earlier and sleep better, and the result is anxiety which adds to my not sleeping. I don’t know how to feel ok about nightmares. They feel very real. Last night I dreamed that my 4 year old had died, then I woke up very frightened, believing that it had happened, wondering if my dreams were warning me, being a helicopter parent, worrying every time he was eating that he was going to choke. I know a dream is a series of thoughts that create pictures in my brain that I experience as real sensations. I dream in full color, 5 senses reality. Unfortunately lately this 5 senses reality includes death of children, people attempting to kill me, getting separated from my family, really dramatic stuff. I wake up feeling terror in the morning and at night I’m up late reading, scrolling, looking up something obscure on google, eating toast, chatting with friends on Skype or on the phone in an earlier time zone. Anything to avoid sleep. I know I need sleep. And it always happens eventually. I know the nightmares aren’t provable reality and if they were prophetic, all kinds of terrible things would happen now, but to my brain, none of that matters. I need to talk it into being willing to stop buffering and agree to sleep, even if it’s going to experience nightmares.