Nightmare disorder is a disturbing dream associated with negative feeling ,such as anxiety or fear that awakens you. Nightmares are common in children but can happen at any age. Nightmares may begin in children between 3-6 yrs old and tend to decrease after the age of 10. During the teenage ,girls appear to have nightmares more often than boys do.
Most of the people used to talk about the benefits of good sleep for good health. After the full day hard work,a good sleep make you recharge t get up refreshed and ready for another day.
If one is dealing with anxiety or other life challenges , quality sleep can help you feel more capable of facing your stressful times, but when anxiety creeps into your dreams, sleep might not gives you that restful relaxation for body and mind.
Anxiety Dreams can make you feel so much disturb and stressed as you wake up with more anxiety feeling in the morning. Those dreams make you think over that something bad is about to happen.
Nightmare Disorder is characterized by often visions of nightmares ,causes distress ,disrupt sleep,causes problems with daytime functioning or create fear of going to sleep.
You are more likely to have a nightmare disorder the second half of night. Episodes are generally brief, but they cause you to awaken and returning to sleep can be difficult. A nightmare usually involve following features –
• Your dream seems real and is very upsetting as dream unfolds.
• Your dream awakens you and makes you feel scared, sad or disgusted.
• Your dream storyline is usually related to threats to safety and survival.
• You feel sweaty or have a faster heartbeat.
• Your dream causes you so much disturbance that you cannot be able to get back sleep easily.
Nightmares are considered as disorder if you experience –
• Frequent occurrence of nightmares.
• Major distress during the day or bedtime anxiety about having another nightmare.
• Problems with concentration or memory or you can’t stop thinking about images from your dreams.
• Daytime sleepiness or fatigue.
• Feeling problems in functioning at work or school or in social situation.
• Behaviour problems related to bedtime or fear of the dark.
Nightmare disorder is known as parasomnia in medical terms – a type of sleep disorder that involves undesirable experiences that occurs while you’re falling asleep,during sleep or when you are waking up. The exact cause of nightmares is not known. It can be triggered by many factors including –
• Stress or anxiety –
Like problems at home or at school or death of loved one .
• Trauma –
It happens usually after an accident , injury , physical or sexual abuse or some other traumatic event.
• Sleep Deprivation –
Changes in your schedule that causes irregular sleeping and waking up times.
• Medications –
Medications like antidepressents ,BP medications ,drugs for Parkinson’s or to help stop smoking drugs – can trigger nightmares.
• Substance abuse –
Alcohol and recreation drugs use or withdrawal can trigger.
• Scary books and movies –
Reading scarybooks and watching horror movies especially before bed time can trigger nightmares.
• Other disorders –
Depression and other mental disorders may be linked to nightmares.
Risk Factors –
Nightmares are more common when family members have a history of nightmares or other sleep parasomnia such as talking during sleep.
• Excessive daytime sleepiness.
• Problems with mood such as depression or anxiety .
• Resistance to going to bed or to sleep for fear you will have another bad dream.
• Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.
There are no tests routinely done to diagnose nightmare disorder. Nightmares are only considered a disorder if disturbing dreams cause you distress or keep you away from getting enough sleep.
• Medical Treatment –
If nightmares are associated with an underlying medical conditions , treatment is done for that disease preferably.
• Try something relaxing –
A relaxing activity can help put your brain back into sleep mode. You can try –
• A warm drink
• Quiet music
• A soothing podcast
• Reading your favourite book
• Breathing or meditative exercises
Just keep your lights dim and try to avoid watching TV or scrolling your phone ,since that can wake you up even more.
• Don’t look at the clock –
You will most likely have an easier time getting back to sleep if you don’t worry about what time it is and how long you have been awake.
• Preventing anxious thoughts –
While you can’t always avoid anxiety completely, you can do a lot to manage anxious thoughts. Reducing day time anxiety can benefit your overall health ,but it can also help you get better sleep.
• Start a calming bedtime routine –
A routine of activities that help you wind down and relax before bed can help you get better sleep. You can try – Reading, listening to music, meditating , taking a bath.
•Avoid stressful or upsetting activities before bed –
Like looking for your decreasing finances or recalling your bad experiences.
• Talk about your problem –
If you have an Anxiety Dream that keeps coming back, telling someone about it can help. Sharing things that frighten or disturb you with someone you trust can often reduce the impact of these feelings.
Anxiety Dreams generally just mean you are dealing with some stress ,but they are still no fun. Try looking at them from a different perspective .They help you recognise stress in your life. Taking steps to cope with anxiety can help these dreams disappear, if you have trouble managing them alone ,you can take help of a therapist.