What are the Best Psalms to Read When You Have Bad Dreams? (7 Best Psalms for Bad Dreams)

As a child, I was plagued with nightmares. My parents helped me by incorporating the Psalms into my evening routine, which dispelled the fear that gripped me before bed.

Recently, during a Bible study, a parent asked which Psalms would help calm his son, who had frequent nightmares. Owing to my experience and theological background, I offered to help him find the best Psalms to ward off bad dreams.

That discussion inspired me to share what I’ve learned with anyone wondering which Psalms to read after having a nightmare in this post.

7 Best Psalms to read when you have bad dreams

Psalm 3:5

“I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.”

David composed this Psalm when he fled from Absalom, his son. He was in distress because those closest to him betrayed him.

However, in this verse, David reminds himself of God’s protection and sustenance. These comfort him as he sleeps.

You can use this Psalm when faced with trouble that robs you of your sleep.

Psalm 4:8

“I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.”

In this Psalm, David calls out to God for deliverance. His enemies mock and pursue him, making him afraid. However, he chooses to trust in God’s protection as night falls.

This Psalm is a potent prayer for those who feel vulnerable.

Psalm 17:15

“As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”

Here, David prays for God’s protection and vindication. His enemies were closing in on him, making him afraid. In this verse, David acknowledges that though he dies, he will rise again to see God.

This Psalm is perfect for those plagued by nightmares about death.

Psalm 23:1-2

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.”

This well-known Psalm declares the Psalmist’s confidence in God’s provision and protection. It’s perfect for children and adults battling anxiety, which manifests in nightmares.

Psalm 42:8

“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.”

This Psalm acknowledges God’s love amidst David’s trials and suffering. He is depressed and sad; in his condition, he cries out to the Lord for comfort and salvation.

He acknowledges God’s guiding hand by day and comforting embrace at night. This Psalm is perfect when facing depression and hopelessness, which robs you of a good night’s sleep.

Psalm 91:1-2

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'”

This Psalm comforts those who are afraid. The Psalmist promises rest to those who seek refuge in the Almighty. It’s perfect for those facing oppression, which causes them sleepless nights.

Psalm 127:2

“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to[a] those he loves.”

This Psalm highlights the futility of human efforts without God’s blessing. It reminds you to trust God, even when it seems everything is under control.

This Psalm is perfect if the stress of everyday life robs you of your sleep.

How to use the Psalms to cancel bad dreams

7 Best Psalms for Bad Dreams
How to use the Psalms to cancel bad dreams. Image source: Pixabay

You can pray through these Psalms before bed to cancel bad dreams. Sleep experts believe you need a tired body and a quiet mind to fall asleep.

Many people struggle with the second requirement because of life’s struggles and stress. These Psalms can help you quiet your mind before bed, which lets you sleep soundly.

Can you pray these psalms for children when they have bad dreams?

Yes. You can pray these Psalms for children when they have nightmares. Incorporating them into your children’s evening routines can help them sleep peacefully.

A favorite for many is Psalm 23; its imagery and relatability make it perfect for young children who can’t sleep because of nightmares.

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