Have you recently chopped off your fingers or forgot to wear pants on a date night? If you want to lessen nightmares like these, you might want to follow this research's advice.
While it is not surprising for people who had undergone upsetting events to have nightmares, most people get bad dreams from time to time even without apparent logical reasons.
So, Stephanie Rek at the University of Oxford and team had recruited 846 people from the general population to understand better what might be the causes of these nightmares. Each were asked to complete an online survey that indicates the number of nightmares they've had over the past two weeks and how terrible they were.
Their PTSD risk factors were also assessed together with other aspects of their lives including recent divorces or legal trouble, their tendency to worry, how much sleep they get and their alcohol consumption.
As expected, results showed that worrying about the future or on doing things wrong is greatly linked to the frequency and severity of nightmares. This could be due to the fact that dreams can reflect waking life experiences and that worrying before bedtime feeds negative contents of the dream.
What's surprising is they also found association between episodes of nightmares and having more than 9 hours of sleep per night. An explanation for this is that sleeping longer can increase the late-night rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which is where dreams usually occur.
However, the underlying relationship between worrying is still not clear but can be used to help people have less nightmares. “For example, worry can be effectively treated using cognitive behavioural approaches,” says Rek. “It would be interesting to do more research to see whether these alleviate nightmares.”
Moreover, alcohol and exercise appear to not affect the occurrences of nightmare. “This was a surprise,” Rek says.
Well, guess we have more reason to sleep early and get up early now! Just don't deprive yourself from sleeping as this can have aversive effects as well.
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