Causes of Nightmares

Many people wake up in the middle of the night due to distressing dreams and this causes him/her to wake up forcibly from sleep. This condition happens due to nightmares and most of them have troubles in understanding the difference between night terrors and nightmares. These distressing dreams occur during different stages of sleep. Night terrors usually occur during NREM sleep (non-rapid eye movement). This can cause a person to scream and sometimes he/she may even trash about in the bed. Nightmares occur during REM sleep (rapid eye movement) and many people have difficulties in remembering them.

What Causes this Condition?

  • Nightmares are also known as nightmare disorder or dream anxiety disorder which is a repetitive dream that threatens or frightens the person sleeping.
  • Nightmares can wake the person from sleep in the middle of the night and the duration of the dreams is usually long. Sometimes, they may last for a longer period of time.
  • Most of the time, a person may wake up at the climax of the dream where he/she may die or will be killed by someone.
  • Due to this, a person’s heart may beat rapidly and it may suffer from anxiety and he/she may wake up sweating.

Causes of Nightmares in People of Different Ages

Nightmares in Children

Children mostly suffer from nightmares as they tend to develop different kinds of fears which they do not understand. This is quite common among children and factors like insects, monsters and spiders may cause fear in children. The following are a few other causes of nightmares.

  • Conflicts between parents
  • Fear of school
  • Pre-existing fever or illness
  • Separation anxiety
  • Post traumatic conditions
  • Misinterpretation of an adult conversation
  • Watching horror movies or violent scenes and
  • Fear of unknown sounds or darkness

Nightmares in Teenagers

Adolescents try different things at their age and they go through lot of confusions about life. Nightmares are usually caused due to the tensions of school pressure, puberty, rebellious streak and parental pressure. The common causes of nightmares in teenagers are:

  • Narcolepsy where a teenager falls asleep in mornings.
  • Insomnia which is caused due to anxiety, stress, illness or medications.
  • Sleep deprivation or due to erratic sleep timings.
  • Excess drug abuse and usage of narcotics which trigger nightmares in teenagers.
  • Late night eating which increases the metabolism resulting in nightmares.
  • Sleep apnea which occurs due to breathing problems.

Nightmares in Women

According to a study, both women and men suffer from different kinds of nightmares. Women mostly suffer from nightmares about death of the loved ones, becoming unattractive or being sexually assaulted. The following are a few more causes of nightmares in women.

  • Sleep medications, depression medications and other drugs can cause this condition.
  • Pregnant women mostly suffer from depressing and distressing dreams due to hormonal changes.
  • Excess intake of vitamin B6 can also result in neurological disorder which eventually leads to nightmares.
  • Illnesses like apnea, flu, fever and hypoglycemia can cause nightmares.

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