Dreams and Nightmares Disorder

Though we all have nightmares at some point in time, some of us have them more often and repeating than others. These distressing dreams, if not treated, can become a lifelong problem.

We all tend to have nightmares during our sleep and some of us have them more than others. In most cases, these just happen occasionally. However, there are also those who have nightmares very often, which cause interruption of normal sleep. Such a condition is categorized as a parasomnia and is called nightmare disorder.

Nightmares are dream sequences of a rather disturbing quality. They are extremely graphic and visual, and tend to wake you up from your sleep. When you have nightmares on a frequent basis, the disorder becomes chronic. A lot of people are unable to sleep at night, worrying that they would have more distressing dreams.

Intense nightmares often cause a disturbed sleep, or may keep the person awake altogether. As these dream sequences unfold, they become terrifying and may cause anxiety. Ultimately, the affected person does not get restful sleep and may feel drowsy during the day.

Nightmares are usually based on distressing themes in which stressful or dangerous events occur involving the person who is dreaming, or the people who are close to them. Usually, the person who has experienced a nightmare is able to recollect all the finer details of the dream when they wake up.

If you have a distressing dream which does not wake you up, it is not considered a nightmare. Some people tend to have more than one nightmare during the night and most of these have a recurring theme. Nightmares only occur when you are in deep rapid eye movement sleep. Generally, rapid eye movement sleep makes up for about 25% of the entire sleep time. This means that you do not have nightmares for more than 25% of the duration of your sleep.

In many cases, nightmares may occur due to a trauma which is received when you are still in your non rapid eye movement stage of sleep. As you go further into your sleep, the events seen in the nightmare may replay with a more vivid detail.

Often, nightmare disorders are confused with other sleep disorders. A person who is having a nightmare may kick and scream, and may also wake up several times a night. This often results in physical injury to the person having the nightmare. The behavior may often be confused with other parasomnias such as sleep talking.

Nightmares are extremely common and can be had by anyone, at any age. Very young children may also have nightmares, and some of them even recall these when they grow up. By the time a child has reached the age of 10, most nightmare disorders have peaked, with recurrent distressing themes. Most of these children tend to keep having nightmares and this becomes a lifelong problem for them.

Childhood Nightmares and Bedtime Fears

The active imagination of a child can sometimes make it difficult to sleep at night when bedtime fears crop up. Young children between the ages of three and six are most prone to have nightmares as fears, such as being in the dark or monsters under the bed, concern them. Research estimates that as many half 50 percent of children have occasional nightmares in early childhood. Nightmares typically involve distressing images which disturb sleep and can create problem with everyday life. Upon awakening from a nightmare, children may be disoriented in their surroundings and will likely seek comfort from parents who are asleep.

Learn more about Childhood Nightmares

If you are interested in finding out more about available treatment for nightmares, call The Los Angeles Sleep Study Institute at 1-855-690-0563 and one of our representatives will be happy to answer any of your questions.