Meaning of Nightmares and the Impact It Has on People

This content will be discussing the meaning of nightmares and the impact it has on people who have it. Everyone seems to recognize nightmares to be some sort of bad dreams which none of them pray to have or endure during sleep in the night. Therefore, a nightmare is an unpleasant dream that can cause a strong emotional response from the mind, typically fear but also despair, anxiety or great sadness.

However, psychological nomenclature differentiates between nightmares and bad dreams; specifically, people remain asleep during bad dreams, whereas nightmares can awaken individuals. The dream may contain situations of discomfort, psychological or physical terror, or panic.

Moreover, scientific research shows that nightmares may have many causes. In a study focusing on children, researchers were able to conclude that nightmares directly correlate with the stress in children’s lives. Children who experienced the death of a family member or a close friend or know someone with a chronic illness have more frequent nightmares than those who are only faced with stress from school or stress from social aspects of daily life.

Meaning of Nightmares and the Impact It Has on People

Having discussed the meaning of nightmares or bad dreams above, the correlating focus of this article now is to dissect the influence which nightmares now have on the people. Since nightmares are always followed with sweats, heavy breathing, and a little bit of restlessness. Subsequently, below is the meaning of nightmares and the impact it has on people around us:

The Influence Nightmare Has on People

Here are some of the effects that bad dreams can leave on the people who have them:

  • Sleeplessness

Nightmares, especially recurrent nightmares, can have a significant impact on a person’s sleep. People with nightmare disorder are more likely to suffer from decreases in both sleep quantity and quality.

Sleep problems can be induced by nightmares in several ways. People who have nighttime disruptions from nightmares may wake up feeling anxious, making it hard to relax their mind and get back to sleep. Fear of nightmares may cause sleep avoidance and less time allocated to sleep.

  • Mental Health Problems

Nightmares or bad dreams may exacerbate mental health conditions that can worsen sleep, and insufficient sleep can give rise to more pronounced symptoms of conditions like depression and anxiety. There have been many reported cases of people who repress memories of childhood abuse. They have no recollection of the abuse, but after many years, they begin to have nightmares. When they seek counseling because of the nightmares, their repressed memories start to come to the surface.

  • Anxiety

Not only did nightmares not stave off anxiety, but people who reported being distressed about their dreams were even more likely to suffer from general anxiety than those who experienced an upsetting event such as the divorce of their parents. It is well known that stressful experiences cause nightmares, but if night­mares serve to diffuse that tension, troubled sleepers should have an easier time coping with emotional ordeals.

Causes of Nightmares

  • Stress or anxiety. Sometimes the ordinary stresses of daily life, such as a problem at home or school, trigger nightmares. A major change, such as a move or the death of a loved one, can have the same effect. Experiencing anxiety is associated with a greater risk of nightmares.
  • Trauma. Nightmares are common after an accident, injury, physical or sexual abuse, or other traumatic event. Nightmares are common in people who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Sleep deprivation. Changes in your schedule that cause irregular sleeping and waking times or that interrupt or reduce the amount of sleep you get can increase your risk of having nightmares. Insomnia is associated with an increased risk of nightmares.
  • Medications. Some drugs — including certain antidepressants, blood pressure medications, beta blockers, and drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease or to help stop smoking — can trigger nightmares.
  • Substance misuse. Alcohol and recreational drug use or withdrawal can trigger nightmares.
  • Other disorders. Depression and other mental health disorders may be linked to nightmares. Nightmares can happen along with some medical conditions, such as heart disease or cancer. Having other sleep disorders that interfere with adequate sleep can be associated with having nightmares.
  • Scary books and movies. For some people, reading scary books or watching frightening movies, especially before bed, can be associated with nightmares.

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