Common dreams

What Causes Nightmares

What Causes Nightmares

Why do we have nightmares? 

Although they sound similar, there is a distinct difference between bad dreams and nightmares. Bad dreams often occur as part of a night’s sleep, but they pass without causing disturbance. Nightmares, on the other hand, are closely linked to strong sensations of stress and fear. These feelings can lead to a poor night’s sleep and ultimately a feeling of fatigue and general grogginess the next day.  

Nightmares in both adults and children and are most likely to occur during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stages of sleep, otherwise known as deep sleep. We progress from slight sleep into a state of REM throughout the night, which is people tend to experience nightmares in the small hours of the morning. 

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly why we have nightmares and weird dreams, however there are certain factors that are widely believed to contribute to nightmares. These range from eating before we go to bed through to more complex psychological issues. 

Popular theories as to why we have nightmares include: 

  • Stress and anxiety in our day-to-day lives 
  • A one-off traumatic incident such as an accident or being attacked 
  • Consumption of media such as scary films and television programmes 
  • Our own imagination 
  • Medication 
  • Our sleeping environment 
  • Mental health such as depression 
  • Eating before bed 

Garden nightmares versus post-traumatic nightmares 

They key to understanding the cause of a nightmare is to first break down what type of nightmare it is you are having. There are two categories; garden nightmares and post-traumatic. 

Garden nightmares are created purely in our imagination and are as a result, bear little-to-no resemblance to real life. Nightmares where you are being chased by a mythical character or are situated in a fantasy world are classed as garden nightmares.  

Post-traumatic nightmares are linked to a specific event which has happened in a person’s life. These nightmares play back the event to the individual while they sleep. The trauma is often amplified in the nightmare and can be extremely distressed.  

The main difference between these types of nightmare (other than one being fiction and one being fact) is the after effect. Garden nightmares are generally unpleasant at the time, but when we wake up and realise that it was a nightmare, there is a sense of relief and the unpleasant feelings subside. Those who suffer from post-traumatic nightmares do not get a sense of relief as the nightmare causes them to continue reliving a traumatising event. This type of nightmares can prevent an individual from recovering psychologically from the trauma that they experienced.  

Posted by m6beds in Common dreams, Dreams, M6 Beds, Nightmares, Preventing Nightmares
The most common dreams and their meanings

The most common dreams and their meanings

Dreams about falling   

Falling in dreams is very common. The falling dream is commonly interpreted as being afraid of something happening, or that an aspect of your life which is failing. Whether it’s your love life taking a nosedive, your career going downhill or anxiety about a certain situation, dreams where you are falling reveals insecurity.  

On the flipside, if in your dream you are happily free falling without fear, it could suggest that you are feeling confident, are not afraid of change and are ready to embrace what’s ahead.  

Dreams about death 

Another common theme in people’s dreams is death, which can be very disconcerting. It could be a loved one or dreaming that you’re dying yourself. Either way, this kind of dream reflects anxiety, change or fear of the unknown. Like death, changes in life don’t come with a manual for what’s on the other side. Those who are going through a period of uncertainty (such as job loss or divorce) may experience dreams of dying.  

Typically, no matter how weird the dream, one off dreams have little impact in our lives and there is no need to worry about the content. If you find yourself having the same dream over and over again, it can be beneficially to analyse what happens and see if it relates to any issues in your life that need fixing. 

Dreams about someone you know 

What do dreams mean when they involve people? Perhaps it’s a friend, a family member or someone from your past? Although it can seem random, the people you know who appear in your dreams often have a simple explanation. It could be someone you’ve seen or spoken to recently, someone you’re having disputes with, or someone you really love and care about. Either way, it’s likely that you were thinking about them or a situation than reminds you of them as you fell asleep. 

If it’s someone you haven’t thought about in a long time or who isn’t a big part of your life, try to deduce from it aspects such as their personality or their relationship with you to find a meaning. It could be what this person symbolises rather than the person itself. 

Dreams of flying  

Flying can be exciting, liberating and also quite scary. Many of us remember this kind of dream fondly, particularly as children. So what does flying in your dream mean? Depending on how you look at it, flying can reveal positive feelings of freedom, confidence and power –or it can depict your desire to escape.  

If you are struggling to fly in your dream, this is a sign that your feelings are not so positive, and it is suggested people experience these dreams when someone or something is standing in the way of them reaching their goals.   

Posted by m6beds in Bedroom Right For Dreaming, Common dreams, Dreaming, Dreams, M6 Beds, What do dreams mean