6 Unexpected Things That Give You Nightmares

Suffering from nightmares or night terrors can be extremely stressful. Not only do you start to dread falling asleep, but disturbed rest can have a knock-on effect on your health and mood, too.

There are a number of reasons we get nightmares, and understanding your triggers can help you avoid the terrors and sleep more soundly at night.

So, What Are Nightmares? 

Nightmares are vivid, realistic, and disturbing dreams that shock you awake from your sleep-cycle. They can cause a racing heart, shortness of breath and fear to fall back to sleep – none of which are good for your health or wellbeing! Nightmares tend to occur during our REM sleep cycle (Rapid Eye Movement) and often happen during periods of heightened stress, anxiety or worry.

Aren’t Nightmares Just For Kids?

Nope! It’s estimated that 50-85% of American Adults suffer from the occasional nightmare, but they tend to occur less frequently as we get older. As we age we are exposed to more stressors, but we're slowly desensitized to ‘scary’ imagery and scenarios. As children, we tend to have nightmares about frightening stories we’ve read, or TV shows we’ve seen, leaving us certain there’s a bogeyman in our closet! But as we age, nightmares can range from anything like falling, being chased and attacked, to fear of public speaking, fear of loss, or other worries in life.

Psychologists suggest that anxiety is the main cause of nightmares in adults. If we experience a traumatic event such as the death of a loved one or a frightening incident, we tend to work through these traumas in our sleep.

What Causes Nightmares?

Certain habits have been known to induce nightmares more regularly in adults, and here are 6 of the most unexpected…

1. Falling Asleep With The TV On

Many of us do it, but this bedtime ritual could be a major culprit when it comes to nightmares. When the TV is on as we fall into the first cycle of sleep, it keeps the language centre of our brain activated. This can cause our brain to take things we hear on the TV, distort it and turn it into bad dreams! 

2. Eating Too Much Sugar

Midnight snacks? Think again! It’s not cheese that gives us nightmares, but too much sugar! Sweet snacks can trigger scary dreams if eaten too close to bedtime. The stimulants keep our bran from falling into a deep sleep, leading to distorted memory recall and nightmares.

3. Sleeping On Your Back

The position in which you sleep can actually have a significant impact on your dreams and your nightmares! Sleeping on your back may mean your airways can be distorted, and if this occurs while in REM sleep, it can make you dream of being suffocated, chased or even drowning!

4. Sleep-Inducing Medication

If you’re frequently relying on sleeping pills, you may want to think again. A vast majority of sleep medication can actually induce stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, and nightmares, completely eradicating the need for them in the first place! Before you reach for the medicine cabinet, why not try some natural alternatives, made with premium essential oils that have been proven to send you to sleep, naturally! Our best-selling Dream Lotion will leave you feeling calm, relaxed and drifting into a deeper sleep!

5. Drinking Alcohol

Some of us like a nightcap to help us nod off, but drinking alcohol can induce nightmares and sleep disturbances, rather than help us sleep soundly! When you sleep, your body metabolizes the alcohol to break it down, and this can make sleep more fragmented. During these broken sleep cycles, nightmares can easily occur.

6. Irregular Sleep Pattern

Are you an early bird during the week, but a night-owl at weekends? This irregular sleep pattern can cause a shift in your circadian rhythm, keeping your brain more active at night. A more active brain means the perfect environment for nightmares!

Our Thoughts

No-one wants to suffer from nightmares, but sometimes they're unavoidable. To help you steer clear of these nasty dreams as much as possible, we recommend taking note of these 6 simple things to help rid your sleep of nightmares for good! If you struggle to sleep or often wake up feeling groggy and tired, we have a range of incredible, natural sleep aids that can help you drift into a deeper, more restful sleep.

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