Sleep is a beautiful thing for a lot of people. No matter what a person does, he or she will always succumb to the bed even if they don’t want to sleep. Resting is a phase in everyone’s daily routine which allows the body to recover and regain energy the next day.
Before the discovery of REM or Rapid Eye Movement Sleep, there were three states of consciousness. These stages are wakefulness, REM Sleep, and NREM or Non-REM sleep. Dreams and nightmares occur in both REM and NREM stages.
When people fall asleep, the body becomes relaxed and automatically starts repairing any damage done by a person’s work throughout the day. For a more in-depth look at how sleep helps people, one must understand the three stages of sleep. Here are the three tiers of NREM sleep where nightmares usually occur.
3 Stages of NREM
N1 – The first step is wherein the body begins feeling drowsy. This stage is where the transition of awake and asleep happens. Signals from the brain start to slow down, while muscle activity is still strong but begins to weaken. Most people experience muscle jerking and that familiar feeling of falling.
N2 – In this stage, eye movements begin to stop. N2 is essentially a period of light sleep. Other physiological changes in the body include the slowing of the heart rate. Body temperatures also begin to drop.
N3 – The 3rd step is also known as SWS or slow wave sleep. SWS usually presents slow brain waves often called delta waves. A lot of physical changes happen in this phase. Core body temperature and blood pressure drop even more. The body becomes immobile, enabling the body to sleep much better. Rapid eye movement also begins to fade away in this stage.
Another significant event also happens at this stage as most people experience nightmares when being inside this phase. People in N3 are difficult to awaken and become groggy once they do manage to get up.
In exceptional cases, children in particular experience bedwetting, sleepwalking, sleeptalking, and, nightmares. People of varying ages also experience such symptoms during the N3 period. Special precautions have to be taken into consideration to ensure the safety of those who have such conditions.
Dreams and night terrors are full of mystery and fright. There is no substantial evidence as to why people experience them, a lot of experts are suggesting that stress is a great contributing factor. Individuals who experience nightmares tell weird tales of terror and fright.
The most common night terrors that people experience are falling, chasing or chased by someone or something, snakes, missing teeth, or being isolated.
Although psychologists believe that each of these dreams has their explanation, people often face a lot of uncertainty due to urban legends and myth regarding their dreams.
For the same reason, nightmares cause a lot of stress to people. This fear ends up affecting individuals in their daily activities. Some of these night terrors are so debilitating that a person can wholly change his or herself because of such a bad experience.
A lot of people are finding ways on how to prevent nightmares from occurring during their sleep. Such nightmares are so terrible that it ends up waking people suddenly. This sudden activity can cause hypotension and can make a person feel woozy right after waking up.
Here are some common ways on how can people avoid getting nightmares during a comfortable sleep.
Our brain usually incorporates everyday stimuli into our dreams and nightmares. In theory, if a loud horn causes fright and fear in some people, then those individuals are most likely going to experience night terrors when they sleep on their beds.
The same goes for positive stimuli. White noise, for example, can bring pleasant memories to a person. Examples of white noises are the ocean breeze, raindrops, and crickets chirping in the night.
These white noises can evoke a peaceful state of mind conducive to sleeping.
Don’t watch read or watch something scary before sleeping
A lot of people have a habit of watching scary movies right before going to bed. This behavior causes a lot of individuals to experience nightmares during their sleep. Some people are so unaware of this that’s why they do it again, not realizing that their habits are the one causing the nightmares.
There’s a saying that the greatest enemy a person has to face is his or herself. The brain tends to exaggerate a lot of what a person sees. This exaggeration continues even if the individual is asleep.
For people who have to watch a horror movie or read something scary right before sleeping, imagine a serene and calm environment before closing your eyes.
By doing this, an individual can at least stop their brain from totally believing something frightening.
Making sense of your dream
Whether it's a snake or a monster chasing someone, a person should at least try to make sense of his or her dream. This activity is comparable to that of a self-assessment which is helpful for a person to understand their stress.
Knowing something about a dream or nightmare can significantly help a person identify any “real-life” stressors that they can easily modify to prevent restless night.
Sometimes a person can overlook the medications he or she takes. Drugs and other substances can have psychedelic effects on a person which can significantly influence his or her dreams at night.
Talk to a doctor if you’re beginning to experience weird dreams every night. An adjustment in dosage or a new drug can make all the difference.
Seeking Professional help
As mentioned above, a nightmare can significantly affect a person once it gets out of hand. The effects can be so debilitating that straightforward and everyday tasks such as making a cup or coffee or by just standing up can otherwise become impossible tasks.
In rare cases, it affects people with PTSD-like symptoms. Most individuals who suffer from nightmares suffer from visual and auditory hallucinations. A lot of individuals should not take this problem lightly and they should not begin self-medicating or self-diagnosing.
A lot of times, self-medication and diagnosing brings more harm than good. In such cases, it is advisable to get immediate professional help from licensed doctors and therapists. These people have a lot of treatment plans for specific problems to ensure a slow and sure recovery.
It’s normal for people to experience nightmares once in awhile. What’s not normal is when night terrors are reoccurring with the same themes and in increasing strength. If a person allows his or her nightmare to get the best of themselves, psychological problems begin to manifest itself.
Auditory and visual hallucinations start to be more terrifyingly real due to the lack of sleep that these unpleasant nightmares bring to a person. As such, a person should do everything they can to be free of such a horrible condition.
Author: Alyssa Prout
Alyssa Prout is a writer and a blogger. By profession, she is an experienced interior designer. Alyssa often gives out advice when it comes to decorating and designing private bedrooms. In her free time, she likes spending most of it with her family and her pet cat named Sydney.