What causes nightmares?


Almost everyone has a nightmare experience, and we often talk about the nightmares we have. Nightmares are sleep disorders whose main manifestation is horrible content and cause anxiety and fear. It is more common in children and adults, it occurs at any age. Let's have a deeper understanding of it.


What are the common types of nightmares?

Although dreams are strange, according to research, although there are more than 6 billion people worldwide, 12 kinds of dreams cannot be escaped. Among them, people most often dream of being chased, followed by getting lost, falling from a height, ugly in public, and injured. 

In fact, there are three main types of nightmares: being chased or life threatened, feel ugly in public and getting lost or in a completely strange environment. And to a certain extent, nightmares are also a "rehearsal" of fearful horror scenes in the brain.   


  • Among them, the nightmare of being "incompetent", such as being chased or unable to escape, is the biggest problem for people who haunted by nightmares. This type of dream implies that the owner may feel fear in real life, such as fear of being eliminated in fierce competition.


  • Another few people often dream of being ugly in public, such as the "faceless" appearance of nakedness, which indicates that you feel lonely in your heart. It may also be that certain embarrassing events you encountered during the day are further "deducted" in dreams.


  • For strange and accident types, people usually dream that they can fly but suddenly fall from the sky, chased by beasts or monsters, earthquakes, air crashes, etc. This shows that the owner has a sense of loss, in reality, he may wish the things that have not been realized, think that he is a person who has no talents and has not yet exerted his abilities.




Many people think that nightmares are harmful. In fact, from a psychological perspective, no matter whether they are sweet dreams or nightmares, they can help you understand yourself more clearly and detect the real emotions that you have ignored or suppressed in real life. Nightmare is the release of anxiety, fear, shyness, guilt, and other emotions during the day, but it can act as an emotion regulator.


What Causes Nightmares?

  • Psychological factors

Excessive tension and excitement before bedtime, such as children leaving their parents to sleep in a strange environment for the first time, various internal conflicts and anxiety can induce this disease. Listening to horror stories before bedtime, watching horror movies and TV are also one of the reasons.


  • Physical factors

Physical discomfort such as fever, dirty bedroom air, too thick bedding, improper sleeping posture, and chest compressions can be induced. Besides, poor eating habits such as full dinner or too little food and hungry state is also one of the causes of this disease.


In their sleep, children dreamed of life-threatening terror events, such as being chased by monsters and falling off cliffs, etc. The dreams were strange and bizarre. The terrible dreams make children anxious and nervous, frightened expressions, pale, sweating, and rapid heartbeat. Because muscles relax during sleep, they often struggle and seem to be entangled. Nightmares are easily awakened or awakened by dreams. After waking up, they wake up quickly and can clearly remember the dream they just made. It often takes a while to fall asleep. More common in the middle of the night.   


  • Spicy food

A study showed that the two groups of healthy men who ate spicy foods before going to bed and those who did not eat spicy foods awakened more frequently and had worse sleep quality when they took a break from eating spicy foods. This shows that spicy food can increase body temperature and disrupt sleep.


  • High-fat food

Some studies have found that the more you eat high-fat foods during the day, the worse your sleep quality. Foods high in fat may hurt dreams and make people more likely to have nightmares.


  • Alcohol

Alcohol is a sedative that makes people fall asleep for a short time, but once its effect gradually disappears, it will cause people to wake up prematurely. Drinking too much alcohol can also cause nightmares and bad dreams. Those who have experienced alcohol cessation often have nightmares.


  • Drug

Some drugs, especially those that affect neurotransmitters, often affect the frequency of nightmares. Including antidepressants and barbiturates can affect sleep. If you are experiencing frequent nightmares after taking this medicine, please don't forget to feedback it to your doctor and stop taking it. 


  • Disease

Fever diseases such as the flu often cause nightmares. Sleep disorders such as shortness of breath and narcolepsy can also increase the incidence of bad dreams and nightmares.




How to prevent nightmares?

  • Reduces bad irritation. Usually, you should watch more healthy, beneficial, relaxed and happy movie videos or novels, watch less or try not to watch movies or novels that easily form nightmares, and avoid bad stimuli stored in memory. It is best not to overuse the brain before sleep to avoid excessive excitement of the cerebral cortex and causing dreams.


  • Pay attention to your sleeping posture. Generally, taking a right lying sleep is better. When sleeping on your back, your hands and feet are naturally vertical, and the pillows should not be too high. Correct the bad habit of sleeping on your stomach.


  • Prevent physical diseases. Many experiments have shown that physiological and pathological stimuli in the human body may be programmed into dreams. The human body has some slight inflammation, which is often not felt in the conscious state, and the slight irritation caused by inflammation may cause nightmares during sleep. For example, in the dream, someone's throat was pinched, and later she was found to have pharyngitis.


  • Develop good sleep habits. People Should develop a good habit of sleeping regularly before midnight, it is recommended that the elderly choose soft quilts such as silk. Do not do strenuous exercise two hours before bedtime, take a warm bath, bubble feet, can all relieve tension and reduce the chance of having nightmares.


  • Eat less spicy and fatty foods before going to bed. Spicy foods can increase body temperature, and eating before bedtime can disrupt sleep and cause frequent nightmares. In addition, research also shows that the more you eat high-fat foods during the day, the greater the probability that your sleep quality will deteriorate. Also, be cautious about the use of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, which can remain in your system for more than 12 hours and often disrupt sleep patterns.  



We can't control our body completely from nightmares, but what we can do is to follow the above aspects so that effectively reduce the occurrence of nightmares. Everyone is under pressure to maintain a peaceful mindset and try to avoid bad emotions such as tension and anxiety. Most importantly is to keep relax and stay out of trouble. Wish all of us to have a sweet dream!  


If you have any other questions, feel free to comment below and we would like to help you as soon as possible.  


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1 comment

  • Emma Emily

    Nice blog. It will surely help beginners update their knowledge. The efforts you have put in to create the posts are quite interesting. Looking forward to seeing you soon in a new post.


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