Is Nightmare Disorder Dangerous to our Mental Health, and How can we Stop Having Nightmares that Disrupt our Sleep?

Everybody knows that a dream is a collection of sights, ideas, emotions, and feelings that occur in the mind unintentionally while sleeping but they can also be terrifying, dangerous, or unpleasant.

A nightmare is when a bad dream wakes you up. They are intense dreams that are frightening, unpleasant, unusual, or otherwise distressing. They happen more frequently during REM sleep, which is the stage of sleep linked with vivid dreams. The second half of the night is when nightmares are more common. Each dream lasts between 5 and 20 minutes, however the dreamer may perceive it to be much longer.

Everyone who thinks about dreams and nightmares has a lot of questions. Have you thought about these questions? If you answered yes, then this blog is for you.

  • What causes us to suffer nightmares?
  • How can we get rid of our nightmares and dreams?
  • How do dreams and mental health interact?
  • Why is it that some fantasies are easily forgotten while others become the cause of our depression?
  • Is it possible to avoid nightmares before going to bed?

What causes us to suffer nightmares?

The rapid eye movement (REM) period of sleep is when nightmares are most common. Parasomnia is a type of sleep disorder characterized by unpleasant experiences when you fall asleep or wake up, according to doctors. It is uncertain what triggers nightmares.

Nightmarish experiences are more common when family members have a history of nightmares or other sleep parasomnias, such as talking while sleeping. A higher risk of nightmares can be caused by a variety of causes, including:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Mental health problems
  • Certain treatments
  • Deprivation of sleep
  • Personal nightmare history
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Eating before bed
  • Fatigue
  • Migraines
  • Pain
  • Medications
  • Misuse of drugs
  • Other illnesses
  • Thrilling books and films

One study discovered that 39% of persons with burn pain had pain in their dreams, which was linked to greater nightmares and more intense daytime pain.

Although the reason of recurrent nightmares is unknown, there may be a hereditary tendency that runs in families. Hereditary risk factors for mental health illnesses associated to nightmares could explain this association.,can%20have%20the%20same%20effect.

How can we get rid of our nightmares and dreams?

We can’t get rid of dreams because dreams aren’t harmful, but nightmares can be, therefore here are some methods to help you get rid of them:
  • Establishing a regular and consistent sleep regimen. It will entail getting enough sleep at night to avoid feeling forced to nap in the afternoon or evening.
  • Caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes are all substances that should be avoided. These things are the source of hallucinations that can be highly damaging to our inside organs.
  • It’s fine to exercise during the day, but not right before night. It promotes proper sleep and gives your body the energy it needs to combat weaknesses such as depression, disease, and anxiety.
  • You should relax before going to bed.
  • Avoid violent or terrifying films, television shows, novels, and video games.
  • A medical illness may cause sleep disruptions in rare situations, and a visit to your doctor is the best method to find out.

How do nightmares and mental health interact?

Some people believe that dreams are our subconscious trying to communicate with us, while others say that dreams are a tangle of random brain signals that are often connected to our past or current activity. Mental diseases can create brain alterations as well as keep people focused during the day. Both elements may influence our dreaming patterns. While the study on dreams and mental disease is alarming, the link appears to be complicated and changes depending on the type of mental disorder.

Why is it that some fantasies are easily forgotten while others become the cause of our depression?

Every individual dream, yet many people do not remember their dreams or nightmares when they wake up. It’s tough to pinpoint why one individual remembers their dreams while another does not. Researchers suggest that people forget their dreams because their acetylcholine and norepinephrine levels change throughout sleep, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Behavioural and Brain Sciences. This study shows that people will not forget their dreams if the levels of acetylcholine and norepinephrine do not change.

We still don’t know why we dream or how dreams work. We do know, however, that everyone dreams, and that most people can remember at least some aspects of their dreams.

The ability to remember one’s dreams is influenced by a variety of circumstances. Those that are vivid, or distressing are more likely to be remembered than dreams that are realistic.

Is it possible to avoid nightmares before going to bed?

While there are a few different schools of thought when it comes to managing terrible hallucinations, controlling nightmares remains mainly unexplored territory. Many individuals don’t find nightmares to be very bothersome, but if they keep you awake longer than you’d like or make it difficult to concentrate, there are a few options for eliminating or lowering their harshness.

As I previously stated, I will now provide you with some crucial pointers to address this issue.

  • Use stress-relieving techniques

Progressive muscular relaxation, which involves tensing and relaxing muscle groups as you inhale and exhale, has been shown to help with nightmares.

“Nightmares excite the sympathetic nervous system, the body’s natural response to impending danger,” Tal explained in an email.

“The parasympathetic nerve system, often known as the rest and digest system, is an intrinsic relaxation system in the human body.” Progressive muscle relaxation and other relaxation techniques can assist in the activation of this system.

  • Maintain proper sleeping hygiene
A good night’s sleep is essential for a happy morning. A good sleep schedule has numerous advantages. It is necessary not only to avoid nightmares but also to maintain great health. Nightmares, according to Martin, happen during REM sleep, which is when our muscles relax, and we dream. Waking up during REM sleep allows for the recall of the dream and the associated distress.

“One of the most successful methods to cure nightmare problems is to get sleep more deeply,” Martin added.

  • Talk about it or write it down

According to some psychologists, talking about your dreams and writing them down is beneficial for reducing mental tension. This could take the form of talking over dreams with a therapist, discussing them with a partner or in a group setting, or documenting them independently.

If you wake up disturbed from a nightmare and can’t fall back asleep, getting out of bed and writing down the dream, or even changing its direction, may be beneficial.

  • Before going to bed, avoid watching or reading disturbing material
Dreams can contain images from whatever thrilling or disturbing content you saw before going to bed.

“Spend some energy connecting with things that are more emotionally neutral or even positive” before bedtime, Martin said, because our evening observations can surface throughout sleep.

During the pandemic, our daily lives are also becoming increasingly frightening. “Reading the news and then going to bed is more likely to cause unsettling and upsetting nightmares than looking through photos from your last family vacation,” she noted.
  • Managing Daytime Stress
The American Psychological Association’s 2013 Stress in America poll found that poor sleep was linked to stress, and poor sleep was associated with higher stress. Take a few minutes to de-stress before going to bed if you’ve had a long day. To see what works best for you, try a hot shower or other ways. Another therapy advised by AASM for nightmares is Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Relieve stress and tension, it entails gradually tensing and relaxing distinct groups of muscles all over the body. It can be done at a clinic or at home with the help of a guided audio track.
  • If necessary, get assistance

If nightmares are making it difficult for you to get a full night’s sleep or you’re having trouble falling asleep due to disturbing dreams, talk to your doctor and/or a psychologist about it. They can determine if there are any underlying issues that need to be addressed and, if so, prescribe the appropriate therapies and drugs.

  • Examine your psychological health
If nothing else seems to be working and you’re still having nightmares, see a therapist. “Nightmares could indicate a broader problem, such as PTSD or a mental illness,” Tal explained. “It is possible to treat nightmares without treating the underlying disease, however treating both the symptom and the disorder may be beneficial.” “Psychological treatments for nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, and mood disorders have made significant improvement,” Tal noted. “Do not be hesitant to get treatment; psychotherapy works, and it is frequently brief and easy to obtain.”

1 thought on “Is Nightmare Disorder Dangerous to our Mental Health, and How can we Stop Having Nightmares that Disrupt our Sleep?

  1. Barbara Harris

    I really enjoyed the article about sleep, dreams and nightmares. Dreams are truly extraordinary .Thank you for the information.

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