Picture this: you wake up from a really great dream, but you suddenly can’t remember any of the details. This is actually quite normal—almost 95 percent of all dreams are forgotten shortly after waking! Now picture this scenario: you wake up in a cold sweat with vivid memories of someone chasing you. You’ve experienced a nightmare, and it’s very common to remember every terrifying detail when you wake up from one.
A nightmare usually happens in the later hours of REM sleep, which is why you usually awaken and have a clear recollection of what happened in your dream. Read on to learn a little bit more about who experiences nightmares, what causes them, and how to deal with them.
About Nightmares and Who Experiences Them
By definition, a nightmare is an extremely vivid and disturbing dream that causes feelings of stress, fear, and anxiety (and when you wake up, you usually remember your nightmare clearly). We all know a nightmare when we experience one, but here are some classic nightmare examples that are experienced universally:
- Being chased or attacked
- Being trapped
- Missing important events
- Seeing the dead
Odds are, you’ve experienced a nightmare similar to the examples above at some point in your life. Nightmares are most common among children and adolescents and tend to become less frequent as you get older. However, adults can experience nightmares as well. In fact, over half of the adult population experiences nightmares on occasion. So, everyone—children, adults, and even pets—have experienced waking up from a nightmare before. Why do nightmares happen?
Causes of Nightmares
Although dreams are pretty random and unpredictable, there are some possible reasons as to why they happen. Nightmares, specifically, are caused by a variety of factors, most of them relating to anxiety and stress. Here are some possible causes of nightmares:
- New life events: Moving or changing schools/jobs can often be stressful and these events have been linked to the occasional nightmare.
- Media: Violent video games, TV shows, and movies have been known to cause nightmares, especially in children.
- Late-night snacking: Believe it or not, research suggests that increased metabolism from late night eating can cause your mind to be more active when you go to bed.
- Medication side effects: Some medications have been linked to frequent nightmares. The most common medications that can have an impact on your dreams are antidepressants.
- Sleep deprivation: Not getting the correct amount of sleep each night can have major side effects on your health and well-being, and frequency of nightmares is found to be one of those side effects.
These are just a few possible causes of nightmares, but sometimes they can happen for no reason at all. Can you prevent a nightmare from happening? Not all the time, but there are some actions you can take to help you recover when you wake up from one.
How to Prevent or Recover From a Nightmare
Here’s one thing we can all agree on: Nightmares are no fun. Luckily, there are some solutions to help prevent a nightmare from happening—or to help calm you down after you wake up from one.
- Watch what you eat & drink: Avoid snacking and caffeine right before bed.
- Relax your mind: Try not to go to bed stressed. Try some meditation or breathing techniques before bed.
- Include pleasant fragrances in your bedroom: Research has shown that certain fragrances are able to help you relax, fall asleep quicker, and keep your dreams peaceful. Try essential oils when you go to bed - check out this list of essential oil fragrances that will help you sleep.
- Stick to a routine: It’s important to practice good sleep hygiene and go to bed/wake up around the same time. Try practicing good sleep hygiene with BedJet’s unique biorhythm sleep technology which allows you to pre-program your ideal sleep temperature for each hour of the night.
And, when you can’t prevent a nightmare, always talk through it! This is key to reduce anxiety and possibly figure out what your bad dream stemmed from. If you’re still too shaken up to get back to sleep, set your BedJet to your ideal sleep temperature and soothe yourself back to comfortable rest.
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