Why do I have Bad Dreams/Nightmares?


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Many children can experience bad dreams with nightmares and may often wake up frightened and upset as they can be quite vivid and distressing. Nightmares take place later on in the night during REM sleep (the stage of sleep in which we are most likely to dream). It is also quite a common occurrence for adults to have nightmares.

Nightmares are often caused by an emotional stress and it is the mind working over this that causes the bad dream. Even though the dream itself may have no relevance to an emotional stress you may have in your life, it is just the minds way of mulling over the issue. If you have a recurring nightmare, it is said that if you think about this nightmare during the day, and what you could do to stop the events in the nightmare from happening, this can cease the nightmare from happening again.

Whilst dreams are generally a healthy process during REM sleep, if you are suffering from increasingly bad dreams, and more than several times a week, you may wish to consult a professional. The frequent bad dreams could be a sign of psychological stress. Recurring nightmares generally stem from an insolvable emotional stress, hence why they continue to happen.

If you experience bad dreams quite frequently but they are not recurring, then it is more than likely not an issue to worry about. However, it would be recommended for you to try and de-clutter your mind and reduce the stress that could be causing these dreams.

Read more in the Sleep Disorders & Sleep Problems Information Guide


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