8 Things You Need To Know About Nightmares
In honor of Halloween, the scariest day of the year (not counting your end-of-year work review), we’ve rounded up a list of essential facts about nightmares. You have nothing to fear, except your unconscious mind.
1. Women report having more nightmares than men
According to a review of studies, women tend to report more frequent nightmares than men. Experts aren’t sure why, but it may have to do with women’s ability to recall dreams better than their male counterparts, and other factors, like insomnia, which women also report at higher rates.
2. Most nightmares have similar themes
Falling from great heights, being chased, confronting savage beasts or monsters, being naked in a public setting—most people have had some iteration of these nightmares, research shows. A new discussion topic for the water cooler?
3. People are more likely to be victims than perpetrators in their nightmares
A recent study found that only one percent of people were the aggressor in their dreams. Clearly, most of us enjoying being the good guy.
4. Kids are likely to have night terrors
Screaming. Flailing. Sleepwalking. Aggression. These are some of the characteristics of night terrors, which can be more intense than nightmares, and affect about 40 percent of children. The good news: Kids forget them once they’re awake, and most usually outgrow them by their teenage years.
Source: Mayo Clinic
5. You may feel paralyzed during a nightmare
A dark, menacing presence appears in your room in the middle of the night. You struggle to scream or run, but you’re stuck in bed, motionless and powerless. It’s called sleep paralysis. It happens when you’re disturbed during the REM dreaming phase of sleep. In addition to being unable to move, people often report having scary visions. Experts believe your body is paralyzed as a defense mechanism to avoid injuring yourself during a dream. Um, thanks?
6. Night owls tend to have more nightmares than early birds
Yet another reason to go to sleep on time: Research shows that people who stay up late may pay the price with more nightmares, compared to early birds. Scientists can’t say why, but it may be that staying up late has been associated with other nightmare-inducing factors, like high levels of stress and sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
7. Stress can lead to nightmares
No surprises here—if you have a tough time coping with daily stress or have experienced a traumatic event, you can end up taking that burden with you to bed. Goal: Make stress management a priority.
Source: Mayo Clinic
8. Violent nightmares could indicate future health issues
One study found that violent actions, like kicking and screaming while asleep, may be correlated with brain disorders, such as Parkinson’s and dementia later in life. See your doctor if you have these symptoms.