Health news
Health news top Health news

   Login  |  Register    
Health News Make AMN Your Home PageDiscussion BoardsAdvanced Search ToolMedical RSS/XML News FeedHealth news
  You are here : > Healthy Sleep Centers > Your Guide to Healthy Sleep

Disturbing dreams

Dreams & NightmaresJul 28, 2007

Sometimes dreams involve highly emotional content that disturbs the dreamer. Fear is the most common emotion involved. But these dreams also may involve anger, disgust, embarrassment, or other negative feelings.

These are some of the most common themes of bad dreams:

  • Being in danger  
  • Being alone or trapped  
  • Facing natural forces

These dreams are disturbing because they seem real. They tend to become more intense as they unfold. The memory of a bad dream can bother you as you go about your day.

A bad dream that causes you to wake from your sleep is called a “nightmare.” A nightmare disorder may develop if you have repeated nightmares that cause emotional distress. Nightmares almost always occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, or “stage R sleep.”

Research shows that ongoing nightmares can have negative health effects. Studies have linked nightmares to these problems:

  • Disturbed sleep  
  • Sleep avoidance  
  • Daytime anxiety  
  • Depression  
  • Suicide

Like other dreams, nightmares tend to reflect your daytime concerns. They occur more often when life events cause you to feel anxious or stressed. Nightmares often occur as a result of a traumatic event. In the dream you may experience the traumatic event all over again.

Nightmares are more common in children. Women also are more likely to report them than men. It is unclear if men have fewer nightmares, or if they simply recall and describe them less.

Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W, editors. Principles and practices of sleep medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2005.

Lee-Chiong TL, editor. Sleep: a comprehensive handbook. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons; 2006.

Provided by ArmMed Media

Email this to a friend Bookmark this! Printable Version


We are pleased to let readers post comments about an article. Please increase the credibility of your post by including your full name and email.

All comments are reviewed by our editors before they are posted on the site. Just keep it clean, kids. Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.

   [advanced search]   
Interactive Quiz:
1. The most common form of contraception used by couples in the United States is
Intrauterine device (IUD)
Permanent sterilization

Health Centers

  Physiological Basis of
  Sleep and Wakefulness

  - NREM sleep

  - REM sleep

  Sleep Disorders

  - Dyssomnias

  - Parasomnias

  Childhood Sleep Disorders

  Sleep and Sleep Disorders

  Common Sleep Disorders

  Healthy Sleep

  Sleep and gender

  Sleep and obesity

  Classification of
  sleep disorders

  Timing of sleep

  Sleep hygiene

  Sleep and age

  Structure of sleep

  What Is Sleep?

  What Makes You Sleep?

  What Does Sleep
  Do for You?

  Types of Sleep

  How Much Sleep Is Enough?

  Top 10 Sleep Myths

  What Disrupts Sleep?

  Good Night's Sleep

  Is Snoring a Problem?

   Sleep Apnea

   Restless Legs Syndrome




   Common Signs

   Susceptible to sleep apnea

   Do You Have
  a Sleep Disorder?

» » »

Health Centers


Health news

Health Encyclopedia

Diseases & Conditions

Drugs & Medications

Health Tools

Health Tools

   Health newsletter


   Medical Links

   RSS/XML News Feed


Your Guide to Healthy Sleep
Add to My AOL

Add to Google Reader or Homepage