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A nightmare is defined as a frightening dream – a very unpleasant experience producing a feeling of terror or anxiety. They feel intense and vivid. And can cause sleep deprivation leading to health issues such as depression, obesity, and heart disease.
Nightmares most often occur during the rapid eye movement phase – in the early hours of the morning. They can set your heart pounding from fear. And can have a significant impact on your well-being. You may wake up feeling sad, angry, or guilty.
Find out more about what causes nightmares and how to stop having nightmares here…
Nightmares can be triggered by a range of underlying factors and disorders. The most common causes are:
Nightmares are different experiences to night terrors. They happen during different stages of sleep – nightmares occur during REM sleep, while night terrors generally happen in the lighter stages, or non-REM sleep. Nightmares cause you to wake immediately.
Night terrors, on the other hand, are difficult to wake up from. And can be accompanied by screaming, sleepwalking, or thrashing around in bed. Symptoms of night terrors include sweating and an increased heart rate, alongside dilated pupils and hyperventilation. They usually last for a minute or two.
When children experience night terrors they stay in a deep sleep and are unable to recall the event.
REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder (RBD)
Rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder is a parasomnia where dreams are acted out. Behaviours can be violent in nature and can result in injury. You may be totally unaware of these actions – and they’re often related to attack themes being chased by people or animals.
REM sleep disorder is characterised by a temporary lack of muscle paralysis and the different distinctions between states breaking down. Neurological barriers don’t function properly resulting in the acting out of dreams with violent and frightening outcomes – causing possible self-injury or harm to your bed-partner.
An abnormal and persistent fear of going to bed causes anxiety and worry about having nightmares. This lack of sleep can cause insomnia to develop which can become a threat to your well-being.
According to research there are 10 common bad dream scenes and these are:
Why do we have bad dreams? Latest surveys indicate that bad dreams may actually be helpful in moving a person on after a traumatic event. Nightmares can be a positive emotional release from reactions to experienced stress. And have the ability to process stressors.
Being haunted by disturbing incidents may be beneficial as there aren’t any associations with health problems in these cases.
More than 90% of patients suffering from RBD are male and the disorder usually starts over the age of 50. And the development of Parkinson’s disease – a neurological disorder – has been linked. Other evidence suggests that specific environmental risk factors include pesticide exposure, smoking, or a previous head injury.
Studies have found that adults with certain personality traits such as distrustfulness and emotional estrangement are more likely to experience chronic nightmares.
How to stop bad dreams can be discussed with your doctor which can lessen the frequency. The treatments include:
How to get rid of nightmares can be achieved by making some lifestyle changes. You can actually create healthy sleep habits just by improving your bedtime routine. Here are a few helpful tips:
Because lack of sleep has significant health implications you may need extra support. Products to help you sleep include:
Lynda Ishida My job is to write but my hobby is to research the latest tech innovations, especially for health & wellness.