Are Your Nightmares Causing Sleep Loss?

October 5, 2012  |  sleep problems

Are you having sleeping issues because of your nightmares? Have they been constantly disrupting your sleep?

Although it is more prevalent in children, nightmare do also occurs in adults. In fact, fifty pecent of all adults experience nightmares from time to time. Two to eight percent among all adults are gravely troubled by their nightmares. While that may be a small percentage of all adults, you may most certainly be one of them.

Nightmares: What Are they?

Nightmares are terrifying dreams that normally include illusory harm or danger. They tend to scare you until you wake up from your deep sleep.  Nightmare subjects differ from one person to another. The most common among adults would be resemble the following:

  • You are running at high speed because something or someone harmful is chasing you. You are running out of breath because you just could not keep up.
  • You are just a few inches away from falling from the top of a building or a cliff.
  • Any traumatic experience you have encountered may haunt you. The petrifying event seem worse in your dream and may keep on repeating during your sleep.
  • Someone kills you or a member of your family.

When Do Nightmares Occur?

Nightmares commonly happen during REM or rapid eye movement. It is the phase of your sleep when the majority of dreaming come about. Since REM sleep stage gradually lengthens as the night advances, you may be awakened by your nightmares at dawn.

Are Nightmares The Same As Night Terrors?

Both nightmares and night terrors may cause you to get up due to intense horror. Yet, they are still two different things. Unlike nightmares, night terrors strike during the earlier stage of your sleep. When you experience night terrors, you do not usually remember why are so frightened when you wake up. This is because they are not really experienced as dreams, but as feelings.

What Causes Nightmares?

There are many common causes of nightmares among adults, and these are some of the following:

1. Medications. Medicines affecting the substances in your brain, just like narcotics and anti-depressants, may contribute to your nightmares. Other medications that may cause nightmares are blood pressure drugs.

2. Withdrawal. When you are fighting your addiction to substances like tranquilizers and alcohol, or when you change your medication, you may experience withdrawal. Withdrawal may involve pain, discomfort, and even nightmares. When you experience any of these withdrawal symptoms, consult your doctor.

3. Sleep Deprivation. Although sleep deprivation is already a sleep problem itself, it may still cause your nightmares.

4. Eating at Night. Do you like having midnight snacks? Do you eat your dinner very late at night? Eating close to the hours of sleep boosts your metabolism and makes your brain more active.

5. Psychological Factors. Psychological factors that may cause nightmares include depression, anxiety, and PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder).

If you constantly experience nightmares and are troubled by them, you may want to check if any of these factors above are true to you. Some of these factors can easily be avoided – such as sleep deprivation or eating at night.

If you suspect psychological factors to be the cause of your nightmares, try to seek help as soon as you can. Remember that sleep is very important so you should do what you can to improve your sleeping condition right away.


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