Top 10 Causes of Nightmares

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It is common to have dreams at night and at some point in life every one of us has faced nightmares.  When theses nightmares often come to a person, it can create serious problems. Bad dreams are generally an indication of problems people face in their day to day life. If you are still unknown of the reason which causes nightmares then this article will help you understand the causes of nightmares.


1. Anxiety and Stress

Stress is a common part of a human being’s life and some amount of it is also good for us. Stress and anxiety are caused due to many reasons like work, problems in relationships and some other bad life event. All these factors can add up and result in stress, which can cause nightmares and horrifying dreams. The easiest way to stop nightmares caused due to stress is to stop all the negative and unproductive thoughts. Doing yoga, exercises and even meditation can help with the bad dreams. Anxiety can be reduced by breathing in and out slowly and if despite of these efforts your anxiety does not reduce then consulting the doctor can be a solution to it.

2. Spicy Foods and bedtime snacks

According to research done by the International Journal of Psychophysiology it was proven that consuming spicy food, especially before going to bed can trigger nightmares. Not only eating spicy foods, but eating anything before going to bed can lead to bad dreams. The reason behind that is eating food enhances the metabolism of the body and also increases the temperature, which leads to poorer quality of sleep. The increase in temperature of the body causes an increase in the activity of the brain, which results in the fluttering of eyes behind the lids and causes nightmares. So make sure not to eat spicy food and do not eat before going to bed if you are suffering from recurrent nightmares.

3. Alcohol

Boozing is a major reason behind nightmare. It enhances the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which is the main reason behind nightmares. People who drink alcohol are more subjected to nightmares. Excessive drinking of alcohol affects the sleep cycle to a great level. Another cause of nightmares can be abruptly withdrawing from alcohol. If you have a regular habit of drinking, then consult a doctor to help you through it.

4. Drugs
Intake of drugs, especially cocaine can lead to nightmares. Cocaine results in increase of anxiety. Though it increases the flow of feel good hormone in the body, but its use can cause addiction and this addiction can result in nightmares. New drugs provided by your doctors like antidepressants and narcotics can be a major reason behind bad dreams. Once the drug is flushed out of the body, its effects also reduce and the nightmares can be stopped. Beta blockers and medicines use to treat Parkinson’s disease can also lead to nightmares. If you are experiencing nightmares due to intake of any medicine, consult your doctor.

5. Scary books and movies

It is common among children to see a bad dream when they watch a scary movie or read a horror book. You might find it entertaining to watch zombies and ghosts screaming to scare the people, but you might not be aware of the fact that the bad dreams you see are the result of these scary movies. Reading horror books just before sleeping can also trigger nightmares. Horror movies cause spooky nightmares as doctors say that what we do before going to sleep influences our dreams.

6. Sounds

It is very common that when your alarm clock rings you often wake up experiencing yourself stuck in a building caught in the fire with fire alarms blazing all around you. According to doctors sound can get inside your brain even when you are sleeping and can trigger nightmares. It is advisable to keep the noise around you shut down when sleeping to have a sound sleep. Horns and loud music throughout the day can cause headache and depression, which are also leading causes of nightmares.

7. Illness

It is seen that illness can cause nightmares especially when your sickness is accompanied with a rise in temperature of the body. Women are subjected to more nightmares when they are going through the menstrual cycle. Diseases related to sleeping problems like narcolepsy are also known to increase the occurrence of bad dreams in many people. If you are experiencing frequent nightmares then it is advisable for you to consult a doctor or a therapist to stop the occurrence of bad dreams.

8. Traumatic Experiences

Recurrent nightmares can be a result of bad experiences like a war or some violent crimes. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which is a result of fear of injury or other event can also lead to nightmares. Violent crimes can cause very horrifying nightmares which can wake you up in the middle of the night. Survivors of wars are found to be the people most affected by PTSD and nightmares caused by them. People often suffer from nightmares of their bad experiences and flashbacks from the bad memories which can be stopped by consulting doctors.

9. Depression and pressure

Another very common reason of nightmares is depression and pressure in people. Nightmares are more common in people suffering from depression. Nightmares and depression are interconnected. Nightmares can cause depression and depression can cause nightmares. Pressure due to many reasons can lead to stress and depression, hence contributing to nightmares. Be it any kind of pressure, mental or physical can lead to tiredness and stress. People who consume anti-depressant tablets are more subjected to bad dreams. To avoid nightmares it is very much important to treat depression and pressure by keeping the negative thoughts away from the mind.

10. Loss of someone

The main reason of nightmare can be loss of a loved one. When we feel lonely or alone our mind becomes pressurised which leads to nightmares.  Studies conducted by the International Association for Study of Dream have suggested that people who have lost someone special in their life are more subjected to bad dreams. Insecurity or a failed relationship is also a major cause of nightmares. To avoid this it is important for you to learn that it is important to move on in life if we want to live happily.

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