Throughout the historical time, dreams have fascinated children, adults and psychologists alike. And there is no question that your dreams have some sort of significance. But what exactly is that?
Dreams are complicated and can make you experience emotions as if you were awake. Sometimes, you may have a good dream, sometimes you end up getting a nightmare.
You don’t care about good dreams but you sure as hell get affected by nightmares and pray not to feel like that again.
But you know you can actually control your dreams and not have nightmares at all.
For that, you first need to understand the implications of a bad dream in your day to day life.
What are Bad Dreams?
According to psychologists, dreams are projections of our unconscious mind and thoughts. They reveal hidden motivations and emotions. So, you can very well understand that it’s not about what you see in the dream, it’s more about how you ‘feel’ in the dream.
And if you go by nightmares, fear may be the most common emotion you can associate with. However, a bad dream can also make you feel sad, confused, feared or disgusted as well.
You might not remember what you saw, but the feeling of dread remains with you long after you have woken up from a bad dream.
And according to researchers, physical aggression is the most prevalent theme in nightmares, along with death, health, and threats.
If you are a man, you are more likely to involve themes of natural disasters and war. On the contrary, if you are a female, you may have a higher frequency of interpersonal conflicts.
Effects of Nightmare
Having a nightmare on a daily or even frequent basis can cause a lot of problems in your everyday life.
Be it lack of sleep, or absence of concentration, you can never really feel energetic and fresh if you face this often.
Although psychologists believe that each of these dreams has their explanation, you may often face a lot of uncertainty due to urban legends and myth regarding their dreams.
But, whatever the reason be, it sure does trouble you, and the implications of nightmares can be felt all along.
These are the most common effects of having frequent nightmares:
1. You become depressed
A good night’s sleep is as important as your daily meals. As a result, if you are struck by bad dreams on a frequent basis you start losing interest in everything.
This further starts hampering your work, behavior and also your physical appearance. If you don’t take care of yourself and do something about it, soon you would find yourself taking medications for decent sleep.
2. You develop Insomnia
Nightmares ruin your sleep, and no matter how exhausted you are you don’t wanna sleep. If this happens, you try and stay up to watch TV etc, but that really can’t go on for long and you know that.
This leads to further loss of sleep and it reaches a stage when even if you try you can’t. This can cause some serious trouble and have a lifelong effect on your health.
3. You are always anxious
Bad dreams trigger anxiousness in you and you don’t seem to be yourselves. Most of the time you are agitated and irritated because you lack some decent sleep.
It may also occur that you can’t seem to concentrate on any particular task. You always seem to be distressed about the dream experience and suffer even more psychological ill effects.
4. Your mental health deteriorates
Nightmares can severely affect your mental health. It’s not that you will go crazy or something, but you will really feel changes in your overall health. You tend to lose your appetite and crave a lot of caffeine.
This further adds up to the existing problem of sleep deprivation and you end up stressing your mind to a further stage. You might start experiencing hallucinations and get freaked out for no reason.
5. You can have heart diseases
It’s not that if you have nightmares, you will have heart disease. But, if you keep experiencing bad dreams for a prolonged period of time, you are more likely to become a host of several heart-related diseases.
You may start feeling a heavy chest and symptoms related to another heart-related distresses. As a matter of fact, doctors suggest undergoing a full heart checkup for those who have trouble sleeping.
6. You may develop suicidal tendencies
It’s no joke that bad dreams can turn into something much more malign and evil. There have been researchers that prove the effect of frequent nightmares. You would be shocked to know that bad dreams have the capability to develop suicidal tendencies in you.
These tendencies develop overtime and surfaces all at once. It might burst out as a suicide attempt, so it’s better that you see your doctor and receive a correct diagnosis and prompt treatment.
How do you deal with Nightmares?
When it comes to the treatment of bad dreams, you have several options to start with. You can begin by making some basic things in your day to day life and see the effects as you follow them over time.
1. Take the help of White Noise
You can ward off those evil dreams by listening to some white noise. It is basically a soothing and familiar voice which you usually hear at night. It could be the sound of crickets chirping, raindrops or any other sound that comforts you.
When you sleep, your brain usually incorporates everyday stimuli into your dreams and nightmares. You can take the help of white noise to have a positive stimulus that can help your brain to turn a bad dream into a good one.
2. Follow a good sleep routine
Following a good sleep hygiene can help you bring down the frequency of the nightmares to a minimum. You just need to make a few changes to your sleeping habits.
Start by making sure that your sleeping room is cool, dark and quiet. Keep all the electrical appliances (laptop, VCR, TV, Alarm clocks)away from your sleeping area.
Before you go to sleep, try and take a warm shower.
Also, maintain a healthy food habit and stay away from nicotine and caffeine just before you hit the bed. Also, you can keep an essential oil dispenser or spread an aromatic smell in your sleeping area for a good sleep.
3. Don’t read or watch horror before bedtime
It would be really silly if you have bad dreams on a frequent basis and you watch ‘Conjuring’ just before bedtime. You need to put that horror story book away and don’t you dare watch any ghost stories.
It will have a drastic effect on your upcoming bad dream and you will end up regretting why you read or saw the horror story in the first place.
Make sure you keep your mind far from horrifying images and thoughts if you need a good night sleep.
4. Try to make sense of your dream
It is as simple as the fact that if you don’t understand what’s going on, you freak out. When you start making sense of your dream, you tend to freak out a little less.
Knowing something about a dream or nightmare can significantly help you to identify any “real-life” stressors that you can easily modify to prevent restless night.
5. Try yoga and sleep meditation(not medication)
Yoga and sleep meditation can help you fight those terror-filled nightmares. What you need to do is, start practicing light yoga before bed-time.
This will basically help you de-stress yourself and make it easy for your brain to drift into a sound sleep. Moreover, this will also keep you away from being affected by any bad dreams because your mind is in a peaceful and calm state.
6. Take the help of an Expert
If you still feel that you are not able to cope up with your nightmare problem, try and seek medical advice from an expert. You will receive proper guidance and required medication to help you sleep.
The sleep medications are highly powerful and mess up with your health if you don’t take it in the advised proportion. Hence, never try and purchase any medication without the approval of a medical expert.
Most significantly, don’t feel embarrassed to bring the issue up because nightmares aren’t kiddish. It can have a drastic impact on your waking life and social stand. But, with healthy lifestyle habits and few required changes, you can succeed in minimizing their impact.