The reason why we have nightmares is not an absolute and concrete answer, but could a combination of factors.
Nightmares can happen because you’re going through a particularly stressful phase in your life, it might be genetically passed down to you, maybe you recently went through a significant change in your life, or you witnessed a traumatic event, or participated in one.
In this article I’ll be covering
_What Triggers Nightmares.
_What Do Nightmares Feel Like.
_Can Nightmares Become a Disorder?
_How To Get Rid Of Nightmares.
What is The Definition of Nightmares
The definition of a nightmare is a dream that entails having bad feelings, such as fear or high levels of stress and anxiety.
Although is more common for younger people such as children to suffer from it, nightmares can occur at any stage of life, but normally they shouldn’t be a reason for concern.
Generally starting in around the ages 3 to 6 they show a significant decrease when people reach the teenage phase of their lives.
During the adolescent phase, it’s more common for the female population to be affected by nightmares.
But nightmares can happen during adulthood or throughout the entire lifespans.
Having bad dreams is a fairly normal occurrence but if they happen constantly then it could become a disorder, though nightmare disorders are scarce
A disorder by definition is something that affects your life negatively, and have lingering effects, such as disruption of normal ability to function, make you wary of sleeping, and create high levels of stress.
What Triggers Nightmares?
There are various reasons that can be causing you to have nightmares.
You might be feeling uneasy or distressed, experiencing high amounts of fear.
Maybe there are situations you’re going through in your life that are causing you to feel uneasy, bullying, a problem at work, or at school.
A big event in your life, like the passing of someone you know, moving to a different town or country, these feelings of uncertainty can trigger nightmares
These days it seems like everyone experiences anxiety at some level, that’s ok we can deal with it in small doses, but when it becomes too much, you’re more prone to get nightmares.
A traumatic event, that was left unchecked and you were not able to process yet.
for example, a major injury, mental, physical or sexual abuse, being witness to a car accident or participating in one.
Not getting enough sleep and becoming extremely sleep deprived and insomnia have also been linked to the manifestation of nightmares.
We as human beings crave routine, our bodies work better when they’re subjected to the same daily routines, the sudden interruption of normal events can create a sense of confusion and give wake to nightmares.
Certain types of legal drugs or medications can induce nightmares, such as heart medications, antidepressants, etc.
The regular consumption of illegal drugs and alcohol in a regular and excessive manner can cause nightmares.
If you have an underlying mental disorder, such as depression or general mental health difficulties.
Sleep apnea or other sleep-related disorders can also cause the emergence of nightmares.
Outside factors that you should avoid if you’re prone to have nightmares are scary books or scary movies.
Although the vast majority of the population is ok with them, if you know you’re sensitive to this type of entertainment, you shouldn’t indulge in these activities especially close to bedtime.
What Do Nightmares Feel Like?
Nightmares can be linked to family history, you’re more likely to suffer from nightmares if someone in your direct family tree suffered from nightmares before, like a parent, or grandparent…
You’ll know you’re having a nightmare if it becomes more intense and disturbing as it goes if it feels very real and you’re feeling unsettled or upset
Normally you have a sense of insecurity, being threatened, or downright fearing for your life, sometimes the cheating of a loved one can have the same upsetting effects, and be considered a nightmare.
Nightmares are by definition intense, and the likelihood of you waking up from them is very high, if you constantly wake up in the middle of the night you might be having constant nightmares
Ask yourself what is your general feeling when you wake up, are you scared, defeated, irritated, out of patience, extremely nervous, and worried?
When it feels like your heart is about to jump out of your chest, and you sweat profusely.
Nightmares are sometimes easier to remember than normal dreams because of the high emotional level associated with them.
If you wake up in the middle of the night and are so affected by what you dreamt that it’s hard to fall back asleep.
Can Nightmares Become a Disorder?
Yes! if you are experiencing nightmares an elevated number of times
If it’s causing you to not be able to perform your daily duties, severely impacting your ability to function normally, being constantly afraid of falling asleep, because you fear having another nightmare.
If you become obsessed with it and by what you see in those dreams, also if you’re having trouble concentrating and you constantly keep forgetting things due to sleep deprivation and tiredness
If you’re dragging yourself and finding it difficult to accomplish easy tasks due to low levels of energy, and sleepiness during the day.
If your work is being directly affected or your performance at school starts declining rapidly.
If you develop abnormal behaviors associated with sleep or start fearing the dark when it didn’t affect you before
You should definitely seek medical attention if you have a job that involves driving or if, you’re required to drive on a consistent basis.
Lack of sleep is directly linked to mood, not sleeping enough can have devastating effects on serotonin production, which is our happy hormone, without it, you can become depressed or develop an anxiety disorder.
If you are opposed to sleep, because at this point the thought of falling asleep is overwhelming you.
This is the most important reason of all.
You urgently need to contact your doctor if you start developing suicidal thoughts, it’s imperative to contact someone right away if this happens, before suicidal thoughts turn into attempts.
How To Get Rid of Nightmares.
Not every area of your life affects you the same way, it’s wise to reflect on what is bothering you the most and start working on improving that particular aspect of your life.
A great influencer to poor sleep quality is stress, but the worst part is that poor sleep can be causing stress.
So stress causes poor sleep, and poor sleep causes stress, this can become a vicious cycle that you need to break.
On particularly harder days, it’s a good idea to engage in restorative practices like meditation or stress-relieving activities. like a hobby that brings you calmness and peace of mind.
There are a variety of ways you can engage in, to aid you in the release of stress, that can result in better sleep quality and getting a more restful sleep
Taking a warm bath instead of a quick shower can do wonders for your stress levels.
If possible, try to get massages to relax your muscles, when your body is relaxed it sends signals to your brain, indicating that everything is fine.
listening to music has proven to be extremely beneficial when it comes to shifting from a worried mood to a more relaxed one.
What your eyes see directly impact the way you think if you spend your day engaged in stressful environments you’ll automatically become stressed even if it doesn’t affect you directly.
Avoid spending too much time reading the news, most of what’s broadcasted is specifically engineered to cause an emotional reaction.
You can become emotionally exhausted if you put too much emphasis on the negative events happening around the world.
When your day is coming to an end and you have time to sit back and relax, choose lighter movies or tv shows, that give you a good or a neutral feeling.
Do not stare at any electric devices when you go to bed or 30 minutes prior, the blue light emitted by these devices will trick your brain into thinking that:
there’s light therefore it must be daytime, and not time to sleep yet.
What Foods To Avoid if You Have Nightmares?
- spicy food
- fast food
- sugary treats
The information contained in this article is for informational and educational purposes only, not intended as medical or health advice.
Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any health or medical conditions related to the topics we talked about in this article.
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