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

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

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

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.


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

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

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.

By Bethany Gemmell

Content Writer at myza

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