Nightmares Part I

Mon, Jul 6, 2009


Nightmares are nothing but dreams, which create a powerful and very unpleasant emotional reaction from a person who is asleep.

What triggers nightmares?

The following events could trigger nightmares:

·         Eating before bed

·         Feeling of pain

·         Being a part of a fearful danger

·         Participating in unpleasant events

·         Fearing of something or someone

·         Sensation of drowning

·         Experiencing death

·         Falling from the height

For those who have been exposed to any dramatic event in their life, that event may be displayed in their dreams and create nightmares. It is common for nightmare victims to become awaken and continue suffering the episode, being unable to return back to sleep for a period of time, sometimes for the whole night.

Nightmares could happen to anyone. Occasional nightmares are quite common, however, when nightmares become persistent and can obstruct your sleep, there is a time to make an appointment to your family doctor or sleep consultant.


It has been proven by thorough studies that nightmares can be primarily addressed to physical events, such as:

·         High fever delirium

·         Reducing amount of oxygen by facing down on a pillow (most of the time creating drowning dream)

·         Psychological causes: trauma and stress

Nightmares in Children

  • Almost all children experience nightmares, which happen from time to time in.
  • Nightmares are most common in children 3-6 years old, which coincides with a period of time when normal fears develop and a child state of mind.
  • Studies show that about 50% of kids, 3-6 years-old, are having nightmares, which bother not only them but also their parents sleep.
  • Nightmares create undesirable or frightening dreams disrupting kid’s sleep, being a result of other problems as a reflection of their regular life, from recent movies, or books.

When Nightmares Start?

From the previous post, “What is Sleep/REM Sleep”, we know that our regular sleep consists of 2 important stages: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM). Both of them alternate in 90 to 100-minute cycles. We also know that our dreams happen during REM sleep. Sleep clinics around the world concluded that nightmares usually happen in the middle of the night or close to the morning when REM sleep is more often than not.

How Bad are Nightmares for Children?

Nightmares are usually bad dream that include imaginary and non-existent danger or simply a threat to the kid. The kid’s dream could be about scary situation or about dangerous places. Generally speaking, when children have been asked, they say that their nightmares are mostly disturbing images, fearful places, or strange figures such as animals, ghosts, monsters, or bad people. Children usually keep relatively quiet and do not jump around while experiencing nightmares. When they awaken, they quickly calm down and usually remember their dreams.

What Should I do to Stop My Kid’s Nightmares?

  • The best treatment for your child when a nightmare occurs is try to comfort your kid in any way you like.
  • Speak with your kid in a soft but convincing voice.
  • Explain to the kid that you are in very close proximity.
  • See if you can convert the nightmare dream into something funny or non-existent, such as movie stunt.
  • Next time around you kid will be able to overcome the fear of the nightmare.

Preventing Nightmares
Preventing all bad dreams is almost impossible task for the parents, however, several things could be very helpful. Even you do not really know what kind of stress your child might be facing during the day, you can help your kid to chill out before going to bed:

  • Start with a bedtime schedule of simple events exactly at the same time.
  • Make sure that your child feels safe and comfortable by reading and talking with your child they fall asleep.
  • You can apply a special night-light or just sing a nice song every night.nightmares prevalent
  • Explain to your kid that nightmares dreams are not real.
  • In case when nightmares prevalent more than twice per week for the past few months, medications are not recommended or not helpful. Consult your family doctor or a child psychologist for remedies.

Watch video: Nightmare Disorders

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