Most of the people of today are contented to say that nightmares are “only dreams” which they mean, it is just imaginary and of no consequence. They’re not worried or anything because dreams are just dreams and it won’t happen in real life. To others, it has been the result of the visitation of the demons and indeed, the word nightmare came from the Anglo-Saxon for goblin and incubus (Laberge & Rheingold, 1990). Some were very affected, scared and becomes paranoid every night when sleeping time approaches.
A nightmare scares the dreamer so much they wake up suddenly in the middle of the night sweating, feeling an extreme fear, heartbeat pounding really fast, and sometimes screaming in fear. They feel discomfort and danger. After they wake up from the nightmare for a minute or so, they’ll think it might be still going on, and it will remain in the mind for a long time. This may cause the dreamer a sleep disorder and a negative emotional response from the mind. Some says that nightmares are some of the most significant and helpful of all dreams.
By dramatizing our worst fears, they sometimes give us the courage to move forward without the anxiety of “what might happen” since we have already lived through the worst in our dreams. Some people that often experiences night terrors might as well think that they don’t have to worry about this but it is advisable to ask the prescribing physician if it is disrupting your mind every night. A nightmare is a vividly unpleasant, often violent dream that awakens the sleeping person (Groliers, Inc. , 1995). It is a terrifying dream in which our worst fears are brought to life in fully convincing details.
Nightmare happens when a dream you are having causes extreme distress. In a nightmare, the dreamer feels as if some great evil is trying to doom the dreamer (in some cases, it is some kind of escape punishment). It is usually significant in that they cause real fear. Nightmare was the original term for the state later known as Waking Dream; and more currently as Sleep Paralysis, associated with REM sleep. Like dreams, nightmares occur during the stages of sleep known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep (Groliers, Inc. 1995). REM phases grow longer in the latter part of the sleep cycle, and the majority of nightmares occur from the middle of the night onward (The HealthCentralNetwork, Inc. , 2011). There are a wide range of events during sleep and wake that are often referred to as “nightmares” and it is wise to learn to distinguish between them (Wilkerson, 2011). Most of what we call nightmares are simply extreme reactions and fear that accompany uncomfortable dreams that occur from time to time in most everyone.
All people, in every age, have the tendency to suffer from these terrors of the night. It involves disturbing themes, images, or figures in our dreams such as monsters, ghosts, wild animals, or bad people. It has the feeling of intense, inescapable fear, terror, distress, or extreme anxiety. Sometimes, the nightmares can be mild and simple such as falling, that wake us up quickly and sometimes, it seems to be so vivid and real that they literally scare us even after we wake up (Harris, 2011). All nightmares are serious warnings for the dreamer.
It is so unpleasant that many times, the dreamer tries to avoid sleeping in order to stop seeing them, but their importance is crucial for his or her safety (Sponias, 2009). They avoid sleeping by making themselves busy or by drinking plenty of coffee. After seeing their bad dreams, some sleepers became paranoid and don’t want to be alone again while sleeping. Children who have night terrors also may have a tendency to sleepwalk or urinate in bed (Wilkerson, 2011). They often gasp, moan, or scream loudly like fighting whatever he/she was dreaming about.
This can be accompanied by hallucination where the child believes that they can actually see the subject of their night terror. When they wake up from it, they’ll run to their parents and tell about his/her nightmare. The causes of night terrors are not well understood, though it appears that night terrors are from a distinctly different stage of sleep. Children usually stop having them by puberty (Wilkerson, 2011). For adults, they are talking loudly or screaming then wake up catching up their breath and sweating heavily. They are unaware of their surroundings and unresponsive to attempts to comfort them.
Nightmares are usually more of a problem for children than adults. Nightmares for children is more of a problem because they are much closer in time to ‘life event` which is the source of their nightmares which causes by birth trauma or other severe early trauma while on the other hand, adults have had much more time to build good defenses against their catastrophic birth pain (Speyrer, 2011). Nightmares and dreadful dreams offer potentially telling clues into the larger mystery of why we dream in the first place, how our dreaming and aking lives may intersect and cross-infect each other, and, most baffling of all, how we manage to construct a virtual reality in our skull, a seemingly life-size, multi-dimensional, sensorial rich nocturnal roundhouse staffed with characters so persuasive you want to strangle them, before they can strangle you (Angier, 2007). According to Sponias (2009), nightmares reflect real dangers existent in the human brain and psyche as well as in the outside world. It has a general meaning of alarm or warning that tries to protect you from something not good that will happen so that you can prepare yourself.
Nightmares may have several causes including drugs, medication, illness, trauma, or they may have no related cause and be spontaneous (Wilkerson, 2011). In both adults and children, nightmares and night terrors can be caused by unresolved psychological conflicts or traumatic events (The HealthCentralNetwork, Inc. , 2011). They are a frequent feature of post-traumatic stress disorder or the stress of a recent disturbing experience in which the person keeps relieving traumatic events in their sleep.
Emotional traumas that disturb the sleep of children can be overlooked easily by adults – such as the loss of a favorite toy or overhearing a loud argument between parents (The HealthCentralNetwork, Inc. , 2011). Sometimes, nightmares appear in people who have blocked traumatic events from their conscious memory, but because the events of your past are always present in your subconscious, they at times can manifest themselves in nightmares (Harris, 2011).
Traumatic events can trigger a long lasting series of recurrent nightmares. Often, nightmare occurs when there is stress in one’s waking life and when major life changes are occurring (Wilkerson, 2011). Stress is another major factor in nightmares. It is caused by such situations as the difficulties in adolescence, moving, and hard times at school or work. Just as stress can manifest itself in physical ways, your dreams, too, are affected by the levels of stress in your life, often leading to nightmares.
Particularly nightmares that have a sense of failure, of being pursued by an enemy, of being captured or unjustly persecuted can be a result of stress (Harris, 2011). Some believe that these things are manifestations of the anxieties that the stress you encounter is placing upon you psychologically. Illness with a high fever can cause a variety of nightmares. Mostly, children are the one who’s experiencing this. Eating much before going to sleep also is a psychological reason, which triggers in the body’s metabolism and brain activity, is a potential stimulus for nightmares.
Also with sleeping in a place such as very tight quarters or low bunk beds or in a position where you are facing a wall or laying into your pillow can often lead to dreams with a smothering or drowning theme as your respond to your environment subconsciously (Harris, 2011). Withdrawing too quickly from alcohol use, or drinking too much alcohol is also one of the cause of having nightmares. The bad dreams which the non-drinking alcoholic may temporarily suffer, are the result of a rebound effect of the withdrawal of the alcohol “medication” which had tranquilized away the effects of severe traumas (Speyrer, 2011).
The traumas from which a drug addict suffers are more severe than those of an alcoholic because a drug addict has a tendency to do same on what he/she saw in his/her nightmare. Thus, alcohol might not be strong enough to tranquilize away the effects off one’s high valence birth traumas. A person experiencing nightmare disorder would have trouble going through everyday tasks; the lack of sleep and anxiety caused by the fearful dreams would hinder the individual from completing everyday jobs efficiently and correctly. Nightmares are dreams that frighten and create anxiety in the dreamer.
Adults typically suffer from fewer nightmares than children. Nightmare makes you lack sleep. This is especially true when you have recurring nightmares, and, worse, you are just alone in your room. Nightmares can wake you up in the middle of the night, and because there is the feeling that it may come back to haunt you again, you hardly go back to bed. According to Johnson (2009), nightmare brings you back to the past where your nightmares may have already occurred a long time ago. After all, it is something you have experienced yourself and this type of dream is called repressed trauma nightmare.
This memory may have long been hidden in the past. Nightmares can also affect your health because when you wake up from a nightmare, it is not often easy to go back to sleep because of the fear that you might dream about it again. This might have scared you so much that you loathe for a bit. This can disrupt your sleeping schedule and leads you to sleep disorders like insomnia. Insomnia refers to several related problems: taking a long time to fall asleep, waking many times or very early, or sleeping very lightly and unsatisfactorily. It might also lead the dreamer a heart attack.
A number of people have actually died because of nightmares. When you have such kind of dream, your heart tends to beat faster than before, causing it to become really tired and slow down (Johnson, 2009). A nightmare leaves a very heavy feeling. It does not have to be about vampires, monsters, aliens, and other creatures but it could also be about a love lost, a broken dream, and other heart-crushing imageries that, even if the situation in your dream did not happen, it will still leave you a very nasty feeling, sometimes of loneliness, anger, and sadness (Johnson, 2009).
Anxiety attack may also happen. If it is not heart attack, then surely, you will develop some form of paranoia or anxiety disorder, particularly if the dreams become too much for you to handle. As strange as it may sound, some of the most important and helpful of all dreams is actually our nightmare. They make vivid and memorable some important thoughts and feelings that we tend to push aside by day, they articulate the nature of conflicts we face, and highlight the connection between present challenges and past history.
Nightmares also can provide early warnings about potential for future problems if one continues in the same course of action. By dramatizing our worst fears, they sometimes give us the courage to move forward without the worry of “what might happen” since we have already lived through the worst in our dreams. Nightmare are often training grounds and tests and sometimes, they are warnings, in any case your nightmares are trying to keep you informed in case of an actual emergency or help you formulate a good line of defense if you have had a problem before with something (Paul, 2011).
By the medical investigation, the studies of dreams have estimated that about 75% of dream content or emotions are negative (Wikipedia, 2011). Two definitions of “nightmare” is a dream which causes one to wake up in the middle of the sleep cycle and experience a negative emotion, such as fear. (Wikipedia, 2011). This type of event happens on average once per month. They are common in young children, most common in teenagers, and less common on adults. Fearfulness in waking life is correlated with the incidence of nightmares.
Nightmares usually diminish in frequency and intensity over time. Recurring nightmares may indicate an ongoing problem that the child is having difficulty resolving. A child who is losing sleep and whose fears persist during day-time hours may benefit from the help of a pediatric psychotherapist in developing coping strategies for the stress and anxiety expressed through the dreams. Nightmares also offer the same opportunity that other dreams do, to investigate the symbols and imagery for life enhancement.
According to Wilkerson (2011), the challenge in the last few decades for the dream work movement has been to teach a variety of methods that replace the old phase “It was just a dream”. For treatment, it is useful to encourage young children to discuss their nightmares with their parents or other adults, but they generally do not need treatment. The child’s ability to understand that the nightmare is not real and that it is an event happening only within their own mind increases with age. The nightmare reflects real fears and stressful circumstances present in the child’s waking life.
A parent’s willingness to listen to and sympathize with a child’s fears provides a necessary validation of the child’s experience and helps to calm the child’s anxiety. Very young children who lack the verbal skills to describe the frightening dream may require more reassurances that they are safe and more time in the comforting presence of a parent or caretaker before they are ready to return to bed. If a child is already suffering from recurrent or disturbing nightmares, the aid of a therapist may be required (Wilkerson, 2011).
The therapist may have the child draw the nightmare or describe it and he/she could also talk about the frightening characters, or fantasize changes in the nightmare, in order to help the child feel safer and less frightened. Whatever may be the underlying reason why nightmares happen; there are a few things that you can do to help minimize the occurrence of these negative dreams like being calm and sleeping in a relaxing atmosphere can help ease anxiety or stress that you may experience throughout the day to help keep that stress from entering into your sleep (Harris, 2011).
It is also recommended that you follow a regular fitness routine, including aerobic exercise if possible. By this, you will find yourself able to fall asleep faster, having a deeper sleep and waking up feeling more refreshed. Taking a relaxing bath before bed and using natural sounds, such as calming waves, to help drown out street noise can all help you to create a peaceful place for you to sleep. If you have nightmares that are frequent and reoccurring that interfere with your quality of sleep or prevent you from getting an adequate amount of sleep, then speak with a healthcare provider to discuss other options (Harris, 2011).
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