Research & Analysis

What do nightmares tell us about our health?

Washington: Turns out, nightmares are an indicator of mental health problems, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.Nightmares are classified as dream sequences that seem realistic and often awaken the person. Though fear is the dominant emotion felt during nightmares, according to a study, sadness, anger, confusion, disgust, frustration or guilt were also common.

The study, published in the journal Sleep, analysed nightmares of 351 adults and found that the most frequently reported theme was physical aggression, followed by being chased and the presence of an evil force.But if bad dreams start frequenting your nights, it could be a sign of health problems. An estimated 2 percent to 8 percent of adults can`t get rest because terrifying dreams wreak havoc on their sleeping patterns.

A phenomenon called REM sleep behaviour disorder, in which a person acts out aggressive dreams by screaming, moving around or jumping out of bed could also predict neurological diseases like Parkinson`s. “We don`t know an awful lot about dreams or nightmares beyond what Freud and some of the other psychoanalytic and psychodynamic tutors told us,” Jason Ellis, a researcher told. Struggling to fall asleep again would create a vicious cycle of worry. Fretting about job performance or whether not feeling like normal self or wanting to socialize because of one`s fatigue, added further stress.

 

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