A Nightmare Tale
Picture this if you will. You are on a camping trip with your family and having a really good time. You are teasing and joking with your daughter and preparing a tasty barbecue. Your wife is preparing drinks with your son.
You hardly notice the sinister strangers who have appeared on the scene. You are startled by wild screaming and glance over to see your son lying on the ground in a pool of blood, at the same time your wife is being strangled by one of the attackers. She is screaming at the top of her lungs. You rush to their aid only to be knocked down with a heavy metal bar across the head.
As you fall on the ground grimacing with pain, you watch your wife slowly losing her battle to breathe. You desperately turn to try and see where your daughter is, only to watch helplessly as she runs in the opposite direction, with the machete wielding killer close on her trail. She too is screaming and yelling. You try to scream for help but no sound comes from you mouth.
Panting, and drenched in sweat, you wake up in bed and see your wife sleeping soundly beside you. Just to be on the safe side, you go downstairs and check on your sleeping children.
Welcome to the land of Nightmare
What are Nightmares?
Rem sleep is the stage of sleep where dreams occur. Often, following a bad dream or nightmare, the sleeper will wake up and often vividly remember the dream.
The difference between a dream and a nightmare is that following a nightmare the dreamer usually experiences feelings of fear, terror, distress or acute anxiety.
Often nightmares are accompanied by physical sensations such as sweating, increased heart rate and heavy, rapid breathing.
What Causes Nightmares?
Treatment of Nightmares
If nightmares begin to occur frequently resulting in a disruption to sleep and well being then they are classified as a Nightmare Disorder. If this is the case then it is necessary to seek medical help to determine, or eliminate an underlying cause of the nightmares.
In the meantime, if, like most of us, you just have one or two nightmares the following are measures that you can take:-
- Maintain healthy Sleep Hygiene: For a comprehensive list of Top Tips for a good night’s sleep click here.
- If you discover that you’re nightmares may be linked with a medication that you are taking, then seek medical advice about an alternative, or stopping the medication all together.
- If your nightmares are linked to psychological problems ensure that you get the relevant help and counselling for the underlying condition. This is particularly helpful in cases of anxiety, stress and depression.
- Try not to watch horror movies or read scary books just before bedtime.
- If the nightmares are continuous this may well be a sleep disorder that you may need to have investigated.
Questions and Answers
Are there any other treatments for Nightmares
What is the difference between nightmares and night terrors
When a child experiences a night terror it is much more like a sleepwalking episode. Often, the child will sit up with eyes open and scream or cry but they are not awake. Usually, a child will not remember anything about the incident at all. Indeed, night terrors are scarier for the observer than the sufferer.
Nightmares, on the other hand will directly wake a person from rem sleep. The nightmare will be easily remembered and a child may be frightened and upset.
I keep dreaming that my teeth fall out. What does this mean?
Losing the teeth is a common disturbing dream, and in real life would obviously be a frightening experience.
There are many different types of dream interpretation. One interpretation is that dreaming of teeth falling out represents anxiety connected with transitional phases in life.
So, like a 6 to 7 year old loses their teeth as they leave babyhood and infancy behind, a symbolic meaning of this may be that there is a life change with associated anxiety.