The mechanism of how dreams occur has been one of the mysteries that science has failed to solve. Dreams can be classified as positive or as nightmares, including scary and terrible visions. Having nightmares has been considered to be normal in both adults and children. However, regular nightmares can develop into a disorder, which is estimated to be experienced by about 8% of adults (Koski, 2020). These findings have been linked to various factors, including medication, normal stresses of life, trauma, substance abuse, scary books or movies, psychological disorders such as depression, and sleep deprivation. This paper investigates how these factors are linked to nightmares.
Firstly, certain medicines, such as antidepressants, have been proven to cause nightmares. People who use these drugs are more likely to experience horror dreams than those who do not. Secondly, social stresses such as unbearable economic situations, academics, and job pressure have been found to impose greater risks on a human’s brain during sleep (Koski, 2020). Thirdly, trauma from horrible experiences such as accidents or physical assault may cause nightmares reflecting such incidents (Introduction to Psychology, 2015). This occurs because such awful events are usually registered in the mind and can be replayed in the form of a nightmare while the victim is asleep. Fourthly, substance abuse, such as alcohol or hard drugs, may trigger horrific episodes that can be reflected in the brain when one is sleeping. Withdrawal effects associated with substance abuse have also been found to cause nightmares.
Moreover, watching scary movies or reading horror stories tend to be registered in the brain and may be replayed while one is sleeping, thus causing nightmares. Patients with psychological disorders are also at greater risk of experiencing horrific dreams because of improper functioning of the brain or due to the treatment methods they are subjected to (Introduction to Psychology, 2015). Ultimately, sleep deprivation may also cause nightmares due to irregular sleeping patterns.
In conclusion, experiencing nightmares is normal for both adults and children, even though some people never experience dreams at all. However, there are factors that increase the probability of nightmares’ emergence. These factors include medication, normal stresses of life, trauma, substance abuse, scary books or movies, psychological disorders such as depression, and sleep deprivation. Addressing these problems reduces the likelihood of experiencing nightmares and improves one’s sleeping patterns.
Koski, K. (2020). Nightmares–from demonic attacks to self-knowledge. Sömn och hälsa, 1(4), 64-75.
Introduction to Psychology. (2015). The University of Minnesota.