Why do you have nightmares: 7 main reasons

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Woke up in hor­ror in the mid­dle of the night, your heart jumps out of your chest, and your body is cov­ered with cold sweat? Every­thing is clear: these are night­mares! They are well known from 2 to 8% of peo­ple. And it seems you are at risk!

Terrible horror: 5 facts about nightmares

Night­mares can hap­pen any­time, to any­one. Before them, both adults and chil­dren are defense­less. Unlike pic­tures of pop­u­lar films and block­busters, when the char­ac­ters rush around the bed and scream in their sleep, real night­mares deprive a per­son of voice and free­dom of move­ment.

As the sleep med­i­cine spe­cial­ist says Anisa Das, night­mares vis­it us dur­ing the phase of REM sleep, when all the mus­cles of a per­son, with the excep­tion of the eye and those involved in the breath­ing process, are par­a­lyzed. There­fore, you can­not get up and leave.

If you fight off a non-exis­tent oppo­nent and scream, then you are already awake. And this is anoth­er dif­fer­ence between a night­mare and sim­ple dreams — a per­son wakes up in the midst of a ter­ri­ble dream. What oth­er hor­ror facts should you know?

    Children often have nightmares. Most of all, they disturb babies 3–6 years old, and the peak of bad dreams falls at the age of 10 years. Up to 50% of children experience severe nightmares that cause them to wake up their parents.
    nightmares for adults dream too. According to various estimates, from 50 to 85% of adults report that they sometimes dream of “horror films”. But the older the person, the less often this happens.
    Women have nightmares more often than men. At the same time, there is a theory that nightmares help solve problems in real life or prepare for them. Psychologist Beacon College in the USA, AJ Marsden says that pregnant women or mothers of children of the first year of life often have bad dreams involving babies, and women of older children live situations in which something happens to their child. According to the expert, such dreams call mothers to responsibility, better care for children.
    Nightmares often haunt people with mental disorders. According to statistics, they are typical for 75% of patients with post-traumatic syndrome and 50% with borderline personality disorder.
    Despite all the horror of what is happening, nightmares are an inspiration for writers. For example, night dreams Stephanie Myers formed the basis of the bestseller “Twilight”. Who would have thought!

Why do we have nightmares?

Why do we have nightmares?

Despite the fact that sci­ence has been study­ing night­mares for hun­dreds of years, there is still no exact answer to the ques­tion of why they dream. But there are rea­sons that often con­tribute to their appear­ance. Read more about them below!

Reason 1: Anxiety and stress

Some­times it is dai­ly stress that leads to the appear­ance of “hor­ror movies”. So anx­i­ety about study­ing or get­ting a new job can man­i­fest itself. Big events, like mov­ing to anoth­er city or part­ing with a loved one, can also esca­late hor­rors, like quar­rels with neigh­bors on the site or a sud­den seri­ous ill­ness among loved ones.

Reason 2: Injury

If a per­son once faced a strong trau­mat­ic event, it can remind of itself all his life. This may be phys­i­cal vio­lence, such as beat­ing; inti­mate nature — rape; or get­ting into a traf­fic acci­dent. Any acci­dent can become a “cat­a­lyst” of hor­rors.

Experts explain this by post-trau­mat­ic syn­drome and remind that it can (and should) be treat­ed. The right ther­a­py brings back good dreams.

Reason 3: Circadian Rhythm Disruption

Reason 3: Circadian Rhythm Disruption

Often night­mares and just bad dreams become com­pan­ions of peo­ple who work day and night. The cir­ca­di­an rhythms of the body are dis­turbed: today at 9 o’clock in the morn­ing the body requires high con­cen­tra­tion and atten­tion, and tomor­row at the same time — a relaxed state and sleep. Brings night­mares and lack of sleep, as such.

Anoth­er com­mon rea­son is going to bed at an unusu­al time, as a result — a per­son toss­es and turns for a long time and can­not fall asleep, and when he final­ly falls asleep, he falls into his worst night­mare.

Reason 4: Alcohol

If a per­son abus­es alco­hol, night­mares are not uncom­mon for him. The use of psy­chotrop­ic sub­stances and the use of smok­ing mix­tures can lead to the same end of the day.

A healthy lifestyle gives good dreams, and bad habits — bad.

Reason 5: Heavy meal before bed

Lit­er­ary crit­ics say that the plot of the nov­el “Drac­u­la” was a dream of its cre­ator Bram Stok­er after he had eat­en a very heavy meal before going to bed. Whether this is true is not known for cer­tain, but the fact that heavy food before going to bed brings not the best dreams is a fact!

Snack­ing before bed speeds up the metab­o­lism, which in turn makes the brain more active. The result of brain activ­i­ty and imag­i­na­tion is bad dreams.

Reason 6: Health condition

Reason 6: Health condition

Night­mares can also accom­pa­ny cer­tain dis­eases of the body. In this case, the treat­ment of the under­ly­ing dis­ease also relieves the night ter­rors.

Reason 7: Scary movie, book or game

Some­times hor­ror creeps into our dreams after read­ing a scary book or watch­ing thrillers and hor­ror movies, espe­cial­ly if you do it before bed. Bad dreams often hap­pen after par­tic­i­pat­ing in bloody video games.

i love you, love, romance
i love you, love, romance
i love you, love, romance
ai generated, horror, scary
ai generated, horror, scary

But real events are not always reflect­ed in dreams. Researchers Tufts Uni­ver­si­ty, locat­ed in Mass­a­chu­setts, USA, ana­lyzed the dreams of Amer­i­cans after the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks. And although it turned out that the total num­ber of night­mares increased, falling “twin tow­ers” and crash­ing planes did not dream of peo­ple.

Expert com­ment

Tim­o­thy Legg, psy­chol­o­gist, psy­chi­a­trist

Lifestyle changes can help reduce the fre­quen­cy of your night­mares. Prac­tice these things:

    exercise at least three times a week
    limit the amount of alcohol and caffeine,
    engage in relaxation techniques before bed, such as yoga or meditation,
    Set a sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning.

If your child often has night­mares, invite him to talk about them. Explain that these dreams can­not harm him. Besides:

    follow the established sleep routine,
    help your child relax with deep breathing exercises,
    try with your child to “rewrite” the end of the nightmare, making it a happy ending,
    give your child soft toys, blankets, or other items for comfort at night,
    use a night light and leave the child’s bedroom door open at night.

Expert com­ment

Eric Suny, med­ical jour­nal­ist

You should talk to your doc­tor about night­mares if:

    nightmares happen more than once a week.
    they affect your sleep, mood and/or daily activities,
    accompany the initiation of a new therapy.

To help your doc­tor under­stand how night­mares affect your health, you can start keep­ing a sleep diary that tracks your sleep and sleep dis­tur­bances, includ­ing night­mares.

By Yraa

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