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Why do you have nightmares?


Night is a time to relax and recharge for the next day. It’s hard when fear and anxiety hit you.

Alcohol, drugs and supplements

A night at the pub can be fun, but it sucks when you try to get some sleep afterward. According to Phil Lawlor, a sleep expert, at first, you can sleep soundly, but as the blood alcohol level drops, the opposite happens. You will not be able to sleep deeply and wake up more in the middle, leading to more REM (drowsy state, rapid blinking of the eyes), causing nightmares.

Antidepressants and pain relievers can also increase the frequency of bad dreams. There’s so much we don’t understand about the brain, the increased levels of neurotransmitters, says Verena Senn, Emma Sleep expert who has studied sleep and the brain for nearly 15 years. limit the dopamine it provides, causing changes in the way we dream.

Melatonin, a supplement that can help you fall asleep, can also cause bad dreams. “There is no conclusive evidence on how melatonin affects our dreams. However, there is a link with high melatonin levels causing nightmares,” says Lawlor.

How to fix: You can still drink alcohol at night (if it’s good for your health). According to Lawlor, just take it at least four hours before bed.
You need to consult an expert on issues related to drugs and supplements.

Quality sleep helps the brain function better. Photo: freepik

Quality sleep helps the brain function better. Image:Freepik

Eat before sleeping

A bedtime snack can be harmful. The reason is that the body will have to work hard to break down the food and will send a signal to the brain, asking to be more active, leading to nightmares. According to Lawlor, food can disrupt sleep through night sweats and acid reflux. Sugary foods and spicy foods can trigger more brain waves.

Expert Verena Senn agrees with this view. She believes that eating before bed is a habit that definitely disturbs sleep and can cause nightmares.

How to fix: Eat your last meal 2-3 hours before going to bed.

Anxiety and stress

Anxiety and stress cause pain or anxiety, which leads to nightmares, says Lawlor. Your subconscious will turn fearful thoughts into scary and unpleasant dreams.

“During sleep, limbic activity (a group of connective structures located deep in the brain, responsible for controlling emotions and behavior) is elevated. …Limbic activity is heightened, especially during sleep. is located in the amygdala (the part of the brain that processes emotions) during REM sleep, which in turn can exacerbate the intensity of emotions experienced in dreams, causing nightmares.

How to fix: Get enough sleep because lack of sleep can lead to both stress and nightmares. Don’t read a scary book, movie or game before going to bed.
Exercising, meditating, journaling, and seeking counseling can also help you feel more comfortable at night.

Lying on your back while sleeping

According to Lawlor, studies have shown that people who sleep on their backs are more likely to have nightmares. “Sleeping on your back can make it hard to breathe. When you’re in REM, the lack of air can trigger nightmares, such as being chased, suffocating or drowning,” says Lawlor.

The fix: Sleep on your right side. You can change your sleeping position without realizing it during the night and that’s okay.

With all these tips, just do what you can. It’s about progress, not perfection.

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