Why do we have night­mares? From a med­ical point of view, dis­turb­ing dreams are just a sleep dis­or­der. At the philis­tine lev­el, they often try to find a secret mean­ing in them, and char­la­tans will­ing­ly use this desire. At the same time, the caus­es of dis­turb­ing dreams are very mun­dane, devoid of any kind of mys­ti­cism, and get­ting rid of them is quite real­is­tic. Med­AboutMe spoke with psy­chother­a­pist Mark San­domier­sky about choos­ing an action algo­rithm.

Sweet sleep food

Even in the absence of dis­ease, spicy or fat­ty foods, alco­hol, cer­tain drugs, a late heavy din­ner, espe­cial­ly if it includes spicy, fat­ty and sweet foods — all this leads to meta­bol­ic dis­or­ders and increased brain activ­i­ty. Overex­ci­ta­tion and super­fi­cial sleep with night­mares also caus­es the use of cof­fee and alco­hol. Often, anti­de­pres­sants, sleep­ing pills, and some oth­er drugs have a sim­i­lar effect.

Step one: Avoid the above foods and drinks. In case of side effects of med­i­cines, con­sult a doc­tor.

Uncomfortable sleeping conditions

Uncomfortable sleeping conditions

The cause of night­mares may be insuf­fi­cient­ly deep sleep, upon exit­ing which, in an inter­me­di­ate state between sleep and wake­ful­ness, ter­ri­ble dreams arise. This con­di­tion can be pro­voked by uncom­fort­able air tem­per­a­ture (too cold or hot), strong smells and sounds, bright light, uncom­fort­able body posi­tion. And if a per­son still watched some heavy movie in the evening or read unpleas­ant news, then a rest­less night is guar­an­teed.

Step Two: Elim­i­nate the phys­i­cal stim­uli that can cause you to wake up pre­ma­ture­ly. Ven­ti­late the room at night, main­tain a com­fort­able tem­per­a­ture of 18–21 ° C, hang thick cur­tains in the bed­room. Con­scious­ly approach the arrange­ment of the bed, make a choice in favor of mod­ern mate­ri­als and tech­nolo­gies of sleep prod­ucts. It is bet­ter to stay on anatom­i­cal mat­tress­es and pil­lows. For exam­ple, foam mat­tress­es flex in all direc­tions, adapt­ing to the nat­ur­al curves of the body and any of its fluc­tu­a­tions. Thanks to this, such a mat­tress helps to increase the phase of deep sleep, as well as reduce the like­li­hood of unwant­ed awak­en­ings.

Anoth­er impor­tant point is the rit­u­al of prepar­ing for sleep. Choose activ­i­ties that are pleas­ant for you: calm music, a warm bath, herbal tea, a walk, read­ing, etc. Turn off all gad­gets, com­put­er and TV an hour before bed­time.

Problems and sleep

Problems and sleep

Unre­solved issues. The expert believes that night­mares help over­come inter­nal con­tra­dic­tions. In his opin­ion, they are asso­ci­at­ed with the search activ­i­ty of the brain, which in such a clear alle­gor­i­cal way is look­ing for a way out of the prob­lem sit­u­a­tion: “The solu­tion seems to be unac­cept­able or impos­si­ble from the point of view of ordi­nary log­ic, there­fore it is usu­al­ly forced out. The sub­con­scious scares us to attract atten­tion and makes rid­dles to bypass inter­nal cen­sor­ship, ”the expert notes.

Step three: if you had a night­mare, look for use­ful clues in the dream, they can become an unex­pect­ed key in solv­ing life’s prob­lems.

Stress as a cause of poor sleep

Stress. Strong emo­tion­al expe­ri­ences, even if they are pos­i­tive, can unbal­ance. The cause of dis­turb­ing dreams can be quar­rels or oth­er trou­bles, as well as a wed­ding or the birth of a child. One way or anoth­er, these events knock a per­son out of his usu­al rut, and if he failed to process new infor­ma­tion dur­ing the day, the brain con­tin­ues to do it at night. The con­tain­ment of emo­tions is also fraught with con­se­quences, the psy­che will inevitably look for a way out for them in a dream.

Step four: in order to relieve inter­nal ten­sion, learn to relax. Today, there are many tech­niques, includ­ing yoga, med­i­ta­tion, breath­ing exer­cis­es and much more. Choose the one that is clos­est to you. Psy­chother­a­pist San­domier­s­ki sug­gests try­ing the tech­nique of “vac­ci­nat­ing” against night­mares: “It is impor­tant to learn how to cre­ate them in your own imag­i­na­tion, grad­u­al­ly mak­ing them less and less fright­en­ing. Tech­ni­cal­ly, it looks like train­ing before bed in a state of relax­ation, in the expec­ta­tion that the formed con­nec­tion will work. We should not for­get about phys­i­cal activ­i­ty — when the mus­cles work, the stress hor­mone is destroyed.

Dreams as signs of illness

Dreams as signs of illness

Dis­eases. Some­times night­mares are body sig­nals that warn of latent bod­i­ly dis­eases, up to very seri­ous ones, for exam­ple, organ­ic brain dam­age. Night­mares often occur with depres­sion, pan­ic attacks, high lev­els of anx­i­ety, which can also be trig­gered by stress. A spe­cial case is post-trau­mat­ic syn­drome, which is caused by dra­mat­ic events: vio­lence, an acci­dent, the death of a loved one, etc. In this case, the sleep­er sees sto­ries from his own life and relives them again.

Step Five: If relax­ation tech­niques have not helped you, you should con­sid­er seek­ing help from a ther­a­pist or neu­rol­o­gist and under­go­ing a com­pre­hen­sive exam­i­na­tion for var­i­ous dis­eases.

So, we hope we man­aged to prove that there is noth­ing mys­ti­cal about night­mares and show how to deal with them on your own. We wish you pos­i­tive emo­tions and only pleas­ant dreams! Be healthy!


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