Nightmares a Window into the Troubled Mind


We do experience imaginal thinking when our minds are in trouble. We also do experience images in the form of dreams and nightmares when sleeping.


We tend to dream and have nightmares and wake up in the middle of the night. Though we dream about good things like flying, getting rich, and having fun,  sometimes we get nightmares in which we feel terrified, experience horrific mental images during sleep, and so on.

The rule for the direction of the mental states is that it's a mental disorder that echoes the darkness higher than the light. Therefore, our dreams and imagination gain nothing from darkness and the absence of light, but rather fear, despair, and detachment.

While dreams can be described as certain feelings, imaginations, or ideas that involuntarily arise in the mind during different stages of sleep, nightmares are known to be unpleasant dreams which may cause despair, terror, sadness, and anxiety. We gain knowledge about the underlying situation in life in the form of vision from an illumination of the subconscious mind through dreams and nightmares.

Mythological concepts and descriptions come to many people when it comes to terrifying dreams. We are trapped in a lifelong dream inflicted onto the mind by external reflection and daily experiences.

We may experience fear, waking up during sleep because of a nightmare. Here is a Scientific description of the reason for bad dreams.

Bad dreams often happen during the stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement (REM). The exact reason for such dreams is not known.

Nightmares can be triggered by many factors.

There are many causes of nightmares ranging from life disturbing experiences to diseases and sleeping disorders.

  • Stress or anxiety. 

Stress due to what we experience daily may contribute to this situation. Problems at home or school, a serious change of great impact on one's life such as the death of a loved one, or a great loss in life may cause an effect on an individual. Experiencing anxiety is linked with a big risk of having bad dreams or nightmares.

  • Trauma 

Nightmares as terrifying dreams normally may occur after an injury, sexual or physical violence, accident, or other traumatic incident. People who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are likely to experience terrifying dreams.

  • Sleep deprivation. 

Changes in plans disrupt the sleeping timetable. Disturbed sleeping and waking times or having less than normal time to sleep. This can increase the risk of having nightmares or bad dreams. Insomnia is related to an increase in the risk of having terrible dreams.

  • Medications and drugs as well as alcohol.

Some drugs including certain antidepressants, blood pressure medications, beta-blockers, and drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease or to help stop smoking may lead to nightmares.

Substance abuse. Alcohol and recreational drug use or withdrawal may also lead to nightmares.

  • Depression and other mental health problems.

These disorders can be linked to nightmares. They happen accompanied by some medical conditions, such as heart disease, dementia, or cancer. Having other sleep disorders that disrupt adequate sleep may also be linked to having nightmares.

  • Scary books and movies.

To some people, reading scary books or watching frightening movies, especially before bed, can be associated with nightmares.

  • Conscious Intellectual Reality or Cognitive Style.

The repetitive negative thinking during day time and before going to sleep due to worrying too much about the future can bring fear and doubtful ideas to the mind which leads to nightmares.

  • Fever 

Sick people may experience fever characterized by high body temperature. This condition may cause intense dreams and mental visions during sleep.

Moreover, frequent nightmares may happen due to serious mental health conditions especially post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD) which affects our daily lives. We can feel exhausted during the daytime, have mood disturbances, have problems concentrating, have bedtime anxiety, or are reluctant to go to sleep due to fear of experiencing bad dreams. 

These techniques can help to reduce the frequency or severity of nightmares.

  • Writing and talking about and expressing the stressful life situation or experience. Talk to a doctor or a friend about it, and seek medical help.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene. Such as having enough time to sleep. Good ventilation and little light or total darkness in the bedroom and so on. Sleep to rest your mind and body.
  • Avoid drinking or eating right before bed.
  • Have mind-body practices such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, and so on.

Generally, nightmares do involve the brain. The power of dreams and nightmares is that the brain communicates something happening in the waking life of a person. They are activities of the subconscious mind. 

So, when we experience nightmares and dreams we must examine what is going on in our lives in terms of mental health and overall well-being.

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