Researchers reveal the reason we have nightmares

By Patrick Jones, Buzz60

Dreams are a huge mystery to us, and the reasons behind negative dreams or nightmares are even more elusive.

According to Best Health magazine, 70 percent of Americans report having nightmares with 30 percent of us having them at least once a month.

Causes can be anything from stressful events in your life, certain medications you may be taking, flat-out genetics, neurological diseases like Alzheimer's and even what you've been eating can cause them.

One of the main causes according to the director of the sleep disorder service at Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's medical center in Chicago is that your mind is overloaded with emotion and it's a way to process those stressful events as your brain begins to integrating your feelings.

A lot of the time nightmares can just be dreams with a scary plot but sometimes they can become an issue. There are certain disorders where nightmares will disrupt the person's ability to sleep as well as some people who begin to act out violent actions while sleepwalking.

In those cases it's recommended that the person goes to see a mental health professional for help. You wouldn't want to spend every single night terrified, would you?

See more on unusual sleep behaviors:

Oddest things people do in their sleep
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Oddest things people do in their sleep

Sleep eating

Nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder is characterized by people sleep walking to their kitchens and eating. Often times, they have no recollection of it, and only realize when they discover messes and missing food.

Sometimes, the patient has severe weight gain and other health issues attributed to the disorder. 

Frequently, the foods eaten are high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates. Furthermore, people with the disorder create bizarre food combinations with the items they have access to in their kitchen. 

Acting out their dreams

REM sleep behavior disorder physically play out their dreams, moving their bodies or even getting out of bed.

Their dreams are so vivid and real, that during REM sleep, which normally restrains your muscles, your body still flails. 


It is possible to experience auditory, visual, tactile and olfactory hallucinations, as many times, the person cannot tell what is part of a dream and what is part of reality. 

The hallucinations often happen in the stages right before sleep (hypnogogic) or after sleep (hypnopompic). Hypnogogic can be associated with sleep paralysis and a fearful sensation. 

Hypnopompic is usually associated with dreams and 'feeling a presence in the room'. 

Sleep sex

Called 'sexsomnia', it falls under the category of parasomnia, the stage right before you fall asleep.

When a person has this disorder, they oftentimes engage in sexual acts with a partner or themselves, while asleep. They have no recollection of it. 

It is more common for people who normally are affected by other sleep disorders, or those taking sleep medications.

Sleep texting

Apparently, more and more people are sending texts in their sleep. 

"It is very common for people to do things in their sleep that they do repeatedly during the day," said a neurologist in an article to BBC. 

Understandably, the texts make little sense to the person after they've woken up. 

Exploding head syndrome 

It occurs when you're about to drift off into sleep, and suddenly a loud noise goes off in your head. 

Another parasomnia event, exploding head syndrome sounds similar to a clap of thunder or bomb. However, it sounds as if the noise could be heard by everyone, but in reality, it's internal.


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