7 Causes of Nightmares You Need to Know About


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Nightmares are often caused by unresolved emotional issues, traumatic experiences, or fears that have not been dealt with. But there are other causes as well, some of which you may not be aware of. Here are seven causes of nightmares that you need to know about.

1. Sleep Paralysis

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If you find that you are often woken during the night by a feeling of fear and dread despite having no recollection of frightening dreams, it’s possible that you may suffer from sleep paralysis. This causes an inability to move or speak during episodes of wakefulness when falling asleep or waking up. It can be distressing as you may feel that you are being held down or attacked by incubus.

It causes a feeling that someone — or something — is sitting on your chest, restricting your breathing as well as the flow of blood to the brain. In fact, many people believe this to be true and suffer anxiety attacks associated with sleep paralysis sufferers thinking they’re dying. Sometimes, you may even feel that your soul is being removed from your body.

This causes the feelings of paralysis, suffocation and hallucinations/visions of a person trying to harm you while you’re paralyzed. Once it’s over, many people believe they’ve been visited by evil spirits or ghosts and suffer anxiety for weeks after an incubus attack.

2. Difficult childhood

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Did you have a difficult childhood? A study of patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder has found that more than half of them have sleep disturbances, in the form of nightmares or insomnia, that are associated with their trauma. This is true even when they’ve had psychological treatment for PTSD. By analyzing the types of dreams, researchers believe they may be able to identify causes and develop better treatments for people with nightmares.

3. Medication

A variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause nightmares as a side effect. Some even contain warnings that state “may cause drowsiness” — which means you’re at risk of having sleep paralysis. The causes for this are unclear, so if you find themselves waking up often enough to remember their dreams it’s important to speak to your doctor about the causes of nightmares and what medications may be responsible.

4. Alcohol

Alcohol causes dehydration, which can lead to sleep problems such as insomnia. It also causes disrupted sleep cycles that can cause nightmares. Alcohol causes sleepwalking, night terrors, insomnia, and parasomnia such as sleep talking — all of which have the potential to cause nightmares.

5. Stress

Stress causes tension in the muscles of our body that can lead to muscle cramps or spasms while you’re sleeping. This causes extreme discomfort and pain for some people, which causes them to wake suddenly in the night. For others, stress causes vivid dreams or nightmares that often lead to sleep paralysis when they’re in the REM phase of sleep.

6. Tobacco

Tobacco causes blood flow problems and can reduce levels of oxygen in the body — both cause bad dreams and disrupted sleep cycles that can lead to nightmares. But, tobacco causes so many other health problems that its relationship with sleep and nightmares is often forgotten.

However, this causes blood flow problems and can reduce levels of oxygen in the body — both causes bad dreams and disrupted sleep cycles that can lead to nightmares. But, tobacco causes so many other health problems that its relationship with sleep and nightmares is often forgotten.

7. Stressful events in life

Experiencing a traumatic or stressful event causes high levels of anxiety and worry, which causes stress and tension in the body and mind. This causes sleep disturbances, disrupted sleep cycles that can lead to nightmares. It also causes post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — which causes recurrent nightmares that are often associated with past events.

Making lifestyle changes can help reduce or eliminate causes of dreams and nightmares. Stressful events in life could be reduced by practice of relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, etc. And, if no causes have been identified for your nightmare disorder, a consultation with a sleep specialist should pinpoint the causes of nightmares and help you find the relief of a good night’s sleep.

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