While many theories about dreams remain unverified, many researchers agree that nightmares could be a sign of a physical health issue. During REM (rapid eye movement) sleep all dreams occur, which is critical to mental health. When REM sleep is disrupted due to stress, hormonal changes, or respiratory issues, nightmares are a frequent result. The content of your nightmares isn’t what you should look out for but, the frequency. Grandparents.com let us know what nightmares may try to tell us:
Heart Disease: One study found increased nightmares and poor sleep were a linked to an increase in irregular heartbeats and spasmodic chest pain, in both elderly women and men. Typically, most heart attacks occur in the early morning when people are in REM sleep cycles, as it can be stressful.
Parkinson’s and other degenerative diseases: People who physically act out their nightmares, displaying behaviors such as crying, punching, kicking, and screaming, are at risk for developing Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases according to 3 published studies.
Psychotic Episodes: Children who suffer from night terrors or have frequent nightmares could be at an increase risk of psychotic experiences in adolescence. One study found that nightmares and being bullied are connected as experiences during the day are still being processed at night triggering physiological stress responses, both are known to increase the risk of developing mental health problems.
Sleep Apnea: An increasing frequency nightmares about not being able to breathe may be the way your mind is trying to tell you that you have sleep apnea. Speak to a licensed physician about getting tested as sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing while sleeping. It has been linked to numerous other serious health conditions.
There are several options that you can try to get rid of nightmares that aren’t a sign of an illness. Speak with your doctor about hypnosis, imagery reversal therapy, and medication if your sleep is constantly being disrupted by nightmares or weird dreams.
I never knew that and I have been having sleep issues latly, hence the time I’m reading this, 3:55 am.
Good morning Susan! We are glad to have your feedback yet sorry those sleep issues have been keeping you up so late. While we have plenty of sleep tips for many different situations, our “How to Get Back To Sleep At 4AM” blog is perfect for the next time you have those late sleep woes! Have a great weekend and let us know how those tips work for you!