Top 10 Horrifying Facts About Nightmares

10 Causes and Meanings It is thought that guilt, sadness, and confusion are the causes of nightmares, rather than fear

Quite a few nightmares are also linked to feelings of anxiety When your teeth fall out, it could represent the fact that you are anxious about how others judge your personal appearance Storms show a feeling of a lack of control, and if you miss a big event in a dream, it could mean that you are anxious about failing in something Dreams tend to be more negative than positive in nature This is thought to be an evolutionary trait that allows our brains to work through negative emotions or problems that we face, helping us build psychological defenses

09 Hallucinations Hypnagogic hallucinations happen in the moments between wakefulness and sleep They cause you to hear voices, feel phantom sensations, or even see strange people in the room People have often reported seeing animals or insects crawling up their walls Even though they are technically dreams, these hallucinations have a profound effect on people, as they are indistinguishable from reality

Many artists, writers, and scientists have stated that hypnagogia increased their creativity Salvador Dali, Isaac Newton, Nikola Tesla, and Beethoven mentioned it Even some alien close encounter experiences have stemmed from the hallucinatory lights and sleep paralysis experienced in this state 08 Sleep Paralysis How scared would you be if you woke up in your room to feel something beside you, or had it on top of you, crushing the breath from your body? And when you try to move you realize your whole body is paralyzed, every muscle lifeless

The panic that sleep paralysis causes cannot be underestimated It occurs when your brain wakes up, aware of the REM cycle of sleep being over, but your muscles remain asleep and unresponsive to your brain’s commands The choking presence common in sleep paralysis was called the ‘Mare’ in Northern European folklore Linked to the succubus [suck-you-bus] and incubus [in-kew-bus], she was known for riding people in their sleep, crushing their chests and trying to strangle them And this is where we get the word ‘Nightmare’ from

07 Night Terrors Night terrors cause a dreaming person to sit bolt upright, with their eyes wide open, yelling and screaming, as they are still trapped in their nightmare The person will sometimes act out their dream, kicking and punching, or trying to run away as if being attacked by something People have caused injury to themselves and others through their actions in this state In 1943 Joan Kiger began fending off ‘shadowy figures’ during a night terror, and while sleepwalking she shot and killed her father and 6-year-old brother

William Pollard, a known sleepwalker, dreamed he was being attacked, only to awake and see that he had bludgeoned his daughter to death with a flashlight 06 A Nightmarish Warning It has been found that certain people, who act out their nightmares by kicking and screaming, could be suffering from the early stages of brain disorders The violent dreams are a form of warning from the brain In a study of 27 people suffering from a disorder that caused strong violent nightmares, 13 developed dementia, 12 Parkinson’s disease, 1 Parkinson’s dementia, and 1 person multiple system atrophy, a similar disease to Parkinson’s

So if you suffer from bad dreams often, then it may be a worrying sign 05 Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death When members of the Hmong [mong] people in Laos suddenly started dying in their sleep, they started their own mythology of ‘dab tsuam’ [da cho]: a jealous hag-like woman that would sit on their chests, stopping them from breathing It is now known that a genetic irregular heartbeat that couldn’t be detected earlier was responsible for their deaths However, it is also thought that because the Hmong believed so fiercely in the dab tsuam, this would cause them to have night terrors about the woman, which would put such a strain on their heart that it would set off their genetic defect

This would kill them in their sleep, seemingly without explanation These events inspired the classic horror film “A Nightmare on Elm Street” 04 Deadly Premonitions Imagine you had a dream in which you died Now imagine if the next day’s events around you started to follow those of your nightmare

There are numerous unexplained cases of nightmare premonitions Abraham Lincoln dreamed of walking into a room in the White House where a corpse was being guarded, and the guards told him it was the president, who had been assassinated This was just days before he was shot and killed 9/11 victims spoke out about nightmares of a terrorist attack, and there were 19 precognitive dreams about the Titanic sinking One Titanic ticket-holder, Mr

Middleton, had recurring dreams of a huge vapor eaten by the waves, with the sea around full of struggling people 03 Inspirational Nightmares It is not unknown for nightmares to inspire people Elias Howe had a nightmare in which he was chased by cannibals carrying spears These spears became the basis for the design of the needle in the first sewing machine that he invented

Mary Shelley's ‘Frankenstein’ and Robert Louis Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde were both based on the respective authors’ nightmares Sharon Carr, Britain’s youngest female murderer, was inspired by violent dreams She stated “Every night I see the Devil in my dreams – sometimes even in my mirror, but I realise it was just me” At the age of 12 she stabbed a hairdresser 29 times 02

Video Game Dreamers It has been found that gamers are more likely to take control of their nightmares A study has shown that the huge amount of time some gamers spend in virtual reality trains their brains to respond differently in nightmares They are more likely to have lucid dreams, turning scary situations into fun ones It has also been shown that gamers are less likely to have aggressive dreams, but when put in a fight or flight scenario they will often stand and fight While gamers may dream aggressively less often, when they do so, they will often have hyper-violence way beyond that of a non-gamer’s nightmare

01 False Awakenings A false awakening is when in your dream you think you have woken up You get out of bed, brush your teeth, and go about your business until you realize you are still asleep, or you wake up properly One false awakening is nothing scary, however they can happen multiple times The famous philosopher Bertrand Russell claimed to have gone through around a hundred false awakenings when coming out of the sleep following a general anesthetic

It’s a disturbing thought that you could experience the feeling of waking up again and again until you are no longer sure that what you are experiencing is real

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