Nightmares: Explaining Your Worst Dreams

By on January 31, 2013

Everyone has experienced a nightmare of some kind in their lives. While many nightmares are somewhat mild and offer situations like falling sensations, being chased, or failing a test, other nightmares are much more terrifying and feature horrible creatures, a sensation of drowning, and other terrible situations that cause a person to wake up in a cold sweat. Although no one knows exactly why nightmares occur or where they come from, there has been much research on the topic that help explain why nightmares could occur and a few simple techniques that might deter the presence of nightmares in your life.

The trouble with nightmares

Nightmares are a common problem that plague children and adults alike. Generally, after a nightmare, a person will awake with a racing heartbeat, in a cold sweat, or with a feeling of general fear or insecurity. Children often cry after experiencing nightmares. Frequent nightmares can disturb a person’s sleep, leading to other problems in life related to poor sleep patterns.

Potential causes for nightmares

There are a variety of causes for nightmares. A stressful situation will often trigger a nightmare, such as unpreparedness on a test, or the inability to outrun a dangerous situation. Other triggers can include eating food that disturbs your digestive system at night, chemical stimulants from drugs or medications, sleep deprivation, and other health problems like depression or anxiety. Children seem to have more nightmares during life changes and in times when they feel insecure, such as after a divorce or traumatic experience in real life.

The health affects of nightmares

Nightmares can cause a variety of health problems in children and adults. The main problem associated with nightmares is a lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause a variety of problems during the day, such as reduced productivity, potential weight gain, and an overall feeling of lethargy. Nightmares can also cause anxiety and stress throughout the day from the memory of the nightmare.

Tips for overcoming nightmares

Medical professionals offer a variety of tips for overcoming nightmares. Nightmares related to health problems, such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, can be treated with sleep medication. General stress or anxiety nightmares can be treated with lifestyle changes. Try meditating for a few minutes before bed, stretching with yoga poses, or other stress-releasing techniques. Regular exercise and a steady routine can also help prevent nightmares. Children may find a security object or a small light in their room cuts down on the frequency of nightmares.

While nightmares affect everyone at some point in their lives, they should not control your life. If you are suffering from frequent nightmares, consult with your doctor or a sleep professional. Your doctor can help you identify potential triggers that may be causing the nightmares and prescribe lifestyle changes or medication that can help reduce the frequency of nightmares in your life. There is no need to allow bad dreams to control your waking hours as well as your sleeping hours.

Writer Biography

This is a guest post by Lindsey Mcmahon, a part-time guest-blogger and a full-time private tour organizer. Her main interests are health and travel, with an occasional focus on their intersection with technology and food. She currently works for OZmattress, the first choice for people looking for a mattress sale.

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