What is a Fever Dream? How is it Different From Other Dreams?
Written by Dreamcloud Editorial Team
Last Updated on Mar 06, 2023
Dreams always have a fascinating quality associated with them. Sometimes, they can be intriguing, and other times downright bizarre! But it is believed that dreams are a snippet from our real-life experiences. But some dreams occur when you suffer from an ailment, which can be extremely scary and disturbing. They are known as fever dreams and are similar to nightmares. Today, we are here to tell you everything you must know about them and how you can prevent fever dreams. Read ahead to know more!
What is a Fever Dream?
As the name suggests, a fever dream is a dream that you experience when you have a high fever and they are said to be the most vital type of dream that takes place during the REM sleep stage. Let’s understand more.
When bacteria or viruses attack our body, our immune system is called to fight this battle. This is why the core body temperature shoots up from the normal temperature, which is 97 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Most pathogens cannot sustain the body's high temperature, and this is your body’s way of fighting them.
Some symptoms you experience during a fever include chills, body aches, and even weird dreams that can feel extremely intense, known as fever dreams. But don’t worry, fever dreams are not dangerous. Since it occurs during the REM sleep stage, your arms and leg will be paralyzed temporarily, preventing you from acting out while you are asleep.
What are these vivid dreams meaning? Now, a vast amount of research is still required on this subject. But there have been some intriguing facts so far. A study published in 2013 by the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management had participants note the dreams.
One participant had recurring dreams that they have experienced during their adolescence. Another participant noted that their fever dreams sharply turned positive to negative. As per that study, some go through weird fever dreams is because of the overheated brain that may not be functioning optimally. This is the fever dream meaning.
When do they occur?
As an adult, when you hit the sheets, you go through almost six sleep cycles. That said, the most peaceful sleep cycle is when you enter the Non-REM sleep, which is the majority of your sleep. And while dreams may occur during any sleep stage, it is most common during the REM stage. Now, coming to fever dreams, they also occur during the REM stage and are usually negative and may feel you leaving overwhelmed.
Your body generally develops a fever due to a myriad of ailments, such as bacterial or viral infection, tumor, heat exhaustion, and more.
What Happens During A Fever Dream?
What causes dreams? How do dreams work? Dreams occur because our brainwaves are active during the REM sleep stage. And according to experts, the forebrain is responsible for the dreams we see. But fever dreams are different. While they occur during the REM stage, most people who have experienced a flu dream describe it as unpleasant.
In an online study, 164 participants and almost 100 reported experiencing fever dreams. Usually, these dreams are related to temperature and overall well-being. Most participants described the fever dreams to be scary and averse.
In one study conducted in 2016, it was seen that almost 94% of the participants reported having nightmarish and weird dreams. In another study, researchers examined people suffering from a high fever; almost 11% of participants displayed fever dreams as one of the symptoms. During this study, a participant noted having both comfortable and distressing dreams. Generally, fever dreams cause adverse emotions due to bizarre and unpleasant scenarios.
Do Fever Dreams Have a Meaning?
Fever dreams have no meaning attached to them but are a symptom of high fever. But in most cases, people see the elements they are currently experiencing in their dreams. It can be something related to health, temperature, or heat. As mentioned earlier, while the majority of people tend to experience negative fever dreams, you can also have good dreams. And bad or good fever dream meaning is none.
How to Prevent Fever Dreams
While fever dreams are temporary, they can be truly disturbing for some. Now, there are no guaranteed cures for the same, but a few tips can help you combat them greatly by curbing your body temperature. So, how to stop fever dreams? Take a look.
Don’t neglect your medication
When you are suffering from a fever or hallucinating because of the same. The first thing you must do is visit a doctor. Self-medicating is not advisable as your doctor will be able to understand the root cause of your fever to ensure you take the right medication. And you must take them on time, as prescribed to bring down your fever.
Opt for a lukewarm bath
Lukewarm baths can be a great way to reduce your body temperature. However, always go for a quick bath so that it won’t tire you easily and will also prevent you from catching a cold. You can also opt for a sponge bath if that’s easier.
Rest is essential
You feel tired, sore, and even irritable when you suffer from a fever. Therefore, rest is essential to ensure you speed up the healing process and feel better soon. When we say rest, sleeping as much as possible is best. Here, avoid watching TV, reading a book, or listening to music, basically, anything that can strain your eyes and your mind. If you need music, opt for something soothing.
Consume lots of water
When you suffer from a fever, your body loses a lot of water, and dehydration can be a risk. Therefore, it is best to consume lots of fluids, like water and even fruit juices. This can help you with a fever.
Use a humidifier
This is for those who live in dry areas. When the weather does not have any moisture, it can irritate your airways. Thus, using a humidifier can be beneficial here.
Eat light meals
When you are suffering from a fever, your body becomes weak, hence, digestion also becomes difficult. And any stomach discomfort won’t let you rest, which is essential to get rid of your fever. Therefore, consume light meals, such as chicken soup, toast, warm milk, and more.
Keep your room cool
Keeping the room cool keeps you comfortable and hence, you are able to rest easy. But make sure you don’t make the room too cool. The ideal temperature to sleep is between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wear light clothing
When you have a fever, comfort is key. Therefore, wear light and loose clothing. Also, if you wear too much or excessively warm clothing, it can make you feel more ill.
Try to avoid too much noise
A silent and calm room can keep you comfortable. You can also use noise-canceling headphones. Here, avoid loud music and too much noise as it can lead to headaches and strain. During the daytime, keep the windows and curtains closed to calm the atmosphere.
How Are Fever Dreams Different From Other Dreams?
We all tend to dream every single day. They are like short movie scenes our mind creates. They are not very vivid and not everyone remembers them when they wake up. However, with fever dreams, that’s not the case.
Fever dreams are not only intense but they can also be highly unpleasant, almost like a nightmare. One of the reasons for this is when you are ill, you don’t have any social interactions and experience too much heat and you are all by yourself. Also, when you have a fever, falling asleep easily is difficult. Some of the most common types of fever dreams are;
- One of the recurring dreams is spatial disorientation. Here, you may see things like moving walls, melting objects and even places suddenly changing their size. You may suddenly feel extremely claustrophobic or experience vertigo.
- Your dreams may also be related to illnesses, such as you are experiencing a fever or suffering from pain.
- You may have threatening dreams involving dogs, stones being thrown, or even terrorists.
- Since you are engulfed in high temperatures, you may also have heat-related dreams. For instance, you may see the sky on fire or objects melting.
- Sometimes, a fever dream may feel like a bizarre or weird movie where nothing makes any sense.
- In some cases, you may experience such strange dreams that you may remember even after you are all well.
Fever Dreams vs. Lucid Dreams
Fever and lucid dreams can be quite different from one another. Fever dreams are intense and weird dreams that can feel disturbing sometimes. They occur as a symptom of high fever. Whereas, lucid dreaming is when you can navigate through your dreams and steer them to your liking. In some cases, during the fever dream, you can become aware that you are in a dream and control the narration of the same.
Lucid dreaming can be practiced by anyone. It needs practice. They are not just a way to control your dream but also fetch several advantages, which include;
- It helps combat anxiety
- Betters your motor skills
- Enhances creativity
- Elevates your problem-solving skills
However, there are a few things common between lucid and fever dreams. Here, both have a higher recall value. It means, even after you wake up, you can easily remember them. And they occur during the REM sleep stage.
Fever Dreams vs. Nightmares
Fever dreams and nightmares can seem very similar. As aforementioned, fever dreams can be terrifying and leave you distressed. These dreams have no meaning and can feel very bizarre. While nightmares too share this characteristic, the reasons why they occur are fully different. In fact, fever dreams can sometimes be categorized as nightmares. Some of the symptoms you experience during a nightmare are;
- They can seem extremely real and intense
- They jerk you out of sleep
- You may feel anxious and angry and feel scared to go back to sleep
- You are able to remember the dream completely
- It fills you with negative emotions
Fever dreams occur due to high body temperature and is a response your body produces to fight pathogens. They go away once your fever goes down. However, nightmares occur due to conditions, such as anxiety, stress, PTSD, and mental health disorders. To help you get rid of nightmares, proper treatment becomes necessary. That said, if you have nightmares once in a blue moon, it can be due to a scary movie or reading something disturbing.
Fever dreams occur when a person suffers from flu, leading to high body temperature. However, it is not a compulsion. But if you have been experiencing fever dreams, it is not permanent and gets better when the fever goes down. However, if you are experiencing recurrent fever dreams, making it difficult to fall asleep, make sure you speak with your healthcare provider immediately.