What are Nightmares?
Nightmares are one type of dreams which you do not want to remember in you walking life but instead you remember them. They are so realistic that they scare you and disturb your sleep. They even have physical effect like increased pulse rate and faster heart beat due to fear.
Nightmares are more common in children than in adults. The reason it that frightening dreams occur during REM sleep. That is Rapid eye movement. Nightmares generally start at the age of 3yrs. Between to 3-6years children have many nightmares till 10 yrs. Teenager do have nightmares, in this age group girls get more nightmares than boys. Adults comparatively have less freaky visitors.
Second half of the night or towards the early morning hours when there is REM sleep is the time when most of the dreaming takes place. Rapid eye movement or REM sleep stimulates regions in the brain that are used for learning. During REM sleep, the brain sends various signals at random.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also be a common reason, why people experience very scary and recurrent nightmares.
Sometimes Nightmares don’t just wake you up but also leave you with many effects. It can lead to anxiety, disturbed sleep, headache and even fever. The effect depends on how badly it has left you scared and stressed.
The mysterious and unsettling phenomenon of nightmares is not due to any underlying disease, but if they become frequent it can lead to serious sleep and psychological disorders.
Please understand nightmares are common not the nightmare disorder.
Most of the countries have folklores and mythological interpretations of nightmares.
There are mythological characters like ‘Mare’ or ‘the Old hag’. It is considered that they sit on the sleeper’s chest is when the person has nightmares.
Falling of teeth, failing exams, being naked in public, running late for important work or even falling from hights fall into the category of nightmares, any dream that disturbs your emotions and sleep are called nightmares.
Nightmare are mostly signs of underlying insecurities, anxiety, fear or depression.
If there is some history of substance abuse, trauma, scary movie or sleep deprivation can also trigger nightmares.
When to meet a medical practitioner?
- If you are so scared and do not feel like going to bed
- There is already an issue with mood disorder or anxiety
- The person is contemplating Suicidal thoughts or even suicidal attempts
- Taking some medications which affects sleep pattern
- While undergoing Alcohol or Drug withdrawal
Can you control these nightmares?
No one has control on dreams. May be good or bad. But when something like nightmare starts haunting any family member, we want to control it.
It’s not 100% full proof to get rid of nightmares but following steps can help to some extent
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. That is eat healthy and exercise regularly
- Have a disciplined sleep pattern.
- 20-30 minutes of Meditation before sleeping surely helps in giving a peaceful sleep
- Don’t watch horror movies and read horror stories to kids for bedtime. If a folklore has a bad ending tweak it.
- DO NOT scare kids with willy winky or kaala baba, it stays in their mind deeper than you think.
- Say a prayer or gratitude for all the good things you have in life.
Do remember one thing, we do not have control on the scary dreams, but we can surely be more compassionate towards the person getting them. He is already scared and anxious a warm hug and few minutes of attention won’t harm you but can help the person get back to normal.
When a child has a scary dream, do not scold them at that moment for reading ‘Goosebumps’ or watching ‘FNAF- Five nights at Freddie’s’ before going to bed. They just need surely and a tight hug to know they are safe.
That’s all for Nightmares today, hope you are not bothered by these. Tomorrow we discover one of the most common nightmares- Falling
Have you fallen in your dreams? I am sure you had one of these. Let’s see what other people have experienced.