Why Do We Have Nightmares? 6 Psychological Causes Of These Recurring Dreams

Do you suffer from nighttime nightmares? Don’t you know why you have nightmares? Find the psychological reasons and how to put an end to them. Recurring nightmares have a meaning.

Why do we have nightmares? Most common reasons

The nightmares They can arise both in childhood and at any later stage in our lives. Although a nightmare is normally common in both adults and children, when these become recurring nightmares we can see it as a warning signal that our body sends us.

What are nightmares?

We can say that a nightmare is that dream that comes to interrupt rest. Or put another way, whenever there is an interruption of rest we can talk about nightmare or anguish dream even when the dream is pleasant.

After having nightmares It is common to wake up with some symptoms of anxiety, scared, sweaty and even crying. Is it the nightmare that causes us anxiety? No, it’s not really that I am distressed by the dream, it is because I am distressed, although I am not aware of it, that I have that dream. Therefore, the anxiety is prior to the dream.

we can all have nightmares since no one is exempt from anguish. It is a structural affect of the human being that sometimes can be acted upon, which is when we notice its symptoms, and other times not. From the psychoanalytic perspective, they are explained as a manifestation of the unconscious, in which through dreams images are released that generate anguish for the subject, their desires, unresolved conflicts that the subject can deny or ignore in their day-to-day conscious life. Through dreams, emotions that the subject does not manage adequately are channeled.

Why do nightmares arise?

He dream It is divided into two stages, REM (rapid eye movement) or rapid eye movements and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) or absence of rapid eye movements, the latter is subdivided into four other phases that vary in duration depending on the maturation of the individual. .

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The nightmares They occur in the REM sleep phase, they may have a physical origin such as poor posture or pain in some area of ​​the body or they may derive from a situation of stress, anguish or a problem that remains to be solved. If there has not been drug intake, poor posture or physical pain, the nightmare may be telling us that our brain needs to process something and is unable to do so.

Therefore, one of the reasons because we have recurring nightmares It is precisely because we cannot process a problem that causes us distress. Whether it is your child or you who has nighttime nightmares, knowing how to avoid having nightmares is to examine the cause of these repetitive dreams.

Why do we have nightmares? 6 reasons

Why do we have nightmares?

To answer this question about the nigthmares, the causes should be the first thing we must analyze. Nightmares in adults are usually spontaneous. But they can also be caused by a variety of underlying factors and disorders.

1. Bad sleeping habits

some people have nightmares after eating a late-night snack, which can increase metabolism and signal the brain to be more active. In addition, you can also have continuous nightmares due to poor sleep hygiene and contribute to resting poorly at night. In the case of children, you may not be realizing that they use devices with screens before going to sleep that are causing them nightmares.

2. Take certain medications

Several medications are also known to contribute to the frequency of the nigthmares Medications that act on brain chemicals, such as antidepressants and narcotics, are often associated with nightmares. Nonpsychological medications, including some blood pressure medications, can also cause nightmares in adults.

3. Withdrawal syndrome

In those cases where a person has stopped using certain substances such as medications or drugs, there is a great possibility that they will experience having nightmares during all the nights in which it has not been consumed. This happens as a strategy of our brain to try to return to the substance that has created a dependency in the subject.

4. Lack of sleep

On many occasions the continuous nightmares They are because people are losing many hours of their sleep. So much so that in most cases in which insomnia or sleep disorders are recurrent, they end up having recurring nightmares.

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5. Psychological factors

In both adults and children, in many cases the meaning of nightmares It is precisely a psychological question. Therefore, having many nightmares can mean that we are facing a psychological disorder (which can be stress, anxiety, depression, among many others).

6. Sleep disorders

On certain occasions the nigthmares They are induced by a sleep disorder. Some of the most common are sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome. In these cases, to avoid nightmares, you must treat these problems derived from a bad dream.

If you think you have any of these causes of nightmares It is important to try to consult with a specialist, be it a doctor or a professional psychologist. Having good mental health goes hand in hand with enjoying a good rest.

What are the health effects of nightmares in adults?

The nightmares They become much more than nightmares when they have a significant effect on your health and well-being. So much so that on many occasions, both children and adults can develop psychological pathology if nightmares are recurrent.

  • Depression and anxiety

Among people who experience nightmares, those who are anxious or depressed are more likely to become distressed by the experience and suffer even more psychological effects. Although the relationship is not understood, nightmares have been associated with suicide.

  • Lack of concentration

Because the nigthmares can have a significant impact on our quality of life, there are many cases in which a lack of mental clarity is experienced. So much so that having many nightmares can affect our way of life.

  • Physical effects

The Lack of sleep which can be caused by nightmares, can cause a number of medical conditions, such as heart disease and obesity.

These are some of the main nightmare effects in our mental and physical health. It is for this reason that if we have many nighttime nightmares it is essential to discover the reason for them.

Ways to avoid nightmares

How to avoid nightmares? What to do to avoid having nightmares?

Although the nigthmares They are caused by an unconscious part of our brain, the reality is that we can act on them. According to psychology, there are some actions that can be a way to know how to stop having nightmares.

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1. Write a dream journal

To be able to be aware of our dreams as much as possible, and thus know what they can mean and understand our emotions, our fears and later work on them. The main thing would be to create a dream diary. That is, any notebook or notebook can serve as a pen, and use it to write down our dreams. If you don’t feel like writing, you can use a tape recorder. The goal is to habituate your brain, to be more aware of your dreams It also allows you to study yourself and realize which dreams or elements often repeat themselves to you.

2. Practice relaxation techniques

Most of the dreams As mentioned above, they are usually related to aspects of our life, thoughts, even if we have watched a movie or some images before going to sleep. We must also keep in mind that our mood greatly influences our dreams, so it is advisable to go to sleep, as calm and relaxed as possible, helping yourself with mindfulness and relaxation exercises.

3. Visualize positive thoughts before going to sleep

It has been shown that if when consciously sleeping you try to visualize on an emotional level, sensations to have in the dream increases by almost 50% so that your dream is more meaningful and deeper. Consider that the sleep cycle usually lasts approximately 90 minutes and you start the cycle again without going through the waking phase unless some stimulus makes you wake up.

4. Take care of your mental health

Throughout the day our brain processes enormous amounts of information. During sleep our brain is still active trying to process all the information it has had access to during the vigil never rests.

How to help children stop having nightmares?

If our child has nightmares One way to help him reprocess them is to ask him to tell it to us as if it were a story. When he finishes the story, we can ask him “from 0 to 10, “How afraid is the dream still making you?” if the answer is a number other than 0, ask him to retell the story as many times as necessary until the fear is equal to 0. If the child is very artistic or likes to draw, ask him to draw a picture of the story and then ask him ” How afraid is the drawing still making you?” If the answer is a number other than 0, suggest that he complete the drawing by adding something that changes the story and continue adding details until the fear equals 0.

The nightmares They are a signal from our unconscious brain that reveals to us that something may be wrong in our life. For this reason, examining them and understanding why we have nightmares is essential not only to improve our lives but also to better understand ourselves.