Nightmares are common occurrences that happen to many people. And while you may wake up feeling scared and alone, chances are you might have experienced the same nightmare as someone else. But when you keep having the same dreams multiple times, it may trigger unnecessary feelings of fear and anxiety.
To help ease your mind and understand what might be happening, mattress company Puffy took a deep dive to gather the following information about nightmares, their frequency and which ones are the most commonly experienced among adults.
How Often Do People Experience Nightmares?
Common nightmares usually happen occasionally in about 50 to 85 percent of adults. While exact causes and correlations of nightmares aren’t completely solidified, there is some belief that they may occur more frequently when an individual has a specific concern, trauma or fear.
Different Types of Nightmares
A vast assortment of nightmares can happen, and when they do they usually happen in the later stages of REM rest. Some of the most common types of nightmares include vivid nightmares, fever nightmares and recurring nightmares to name a few. Recurring nightmares mean that they happen more than once and consist of the same events every time.
For example, a person might dream about falling off of the same cliff repeatedly. Another person might dream about a parent trying to attack them. The mere recurrence of such dreams leads experts to believe that the person having them has an unresolved conflict or issue that is causing that same dream.
Vivid dreams are nightmares that have a strong sense of realness. The person who has vivid nightmares doesn’t even realize that he or she is sleeping. These nightmares feel like the person is living out everyday life, and the people in the dream seem as if they are really there. These dreams might be so vivid that touching the other person within your dream feels real, as well.
Fever nightmares are nightmares that occur when a person is experiencing an extremely high body temperature. They are likely to occur when an individual is trying to fight off a certain kind of illness. The nightmare might be happening because the individual’s body is trying to fight a disease. These dreams can also be vivid, or they can be strange and very difficult to decipher or remember.
What Might Cause Nightmares to Happen?
Nightmares can happen for a variety of reasons. One reason someone might have a nightmare can be caused by eating right before lying down for bed. The body’s digestive processes might cause some activity in the brain while the person sleeps.
Another reason people have nightmares is that they have unresolved issues that they may be subconsciously thinking about. Someone may experience trauma and not be able to deal with it on a conscious level. That person might have nightmares triggered by the trauma when the body is at rest.
Medications and supplements may also cause a reaction in someone’s body that can lead them to have bad dreams, as well. It can be quite common for a person to have nightmares when starting a new health supplement or medication that their body isn’t yet accustomed to.
Finally, sleep apnea can also cause nightmares to occur. This condition causes the sufferer not to be able to breathe in enough oxygen during the night. When this happens, the brain can react in adverse manners during the sleep cycles. Nightmares can then be turned on in the brain and cause a bit of a disturbance.
What Are the Top Most Searched Nightmares? What Do These Nightmares Mean in Real Life Scenarios?
People often tend to search for dreams and their meanings when they have nightmares they can remember once waking up. They commonly search the internet for the meaning of their most common dreams, especially if they notice it happening more than once. The following are some of the most searched nightmares and what they mean:
1. Getting Shot
Many people dream about getting shot. That could occur because they feel as though they are constantly struggling to achieve a goal in life. The dream could also happen after watching a disturbing TV show or movie that contained a shooting and left an impression in the person’s mind.
2. Getting Stuck in a Dream
One of the worst types of nightmares is the one where the person knows he or she is in a dream but can’t wake up. It could signify that the person feels trapped in something or that he or she is avoiding something or someone that needs to be confronted hence the feeling of being cornered.
3. Being Chased
This is one of the most commonly reported dreams. No matter what you may be getting chased by in your dream, it could mean that you may be dreaming this to show that you are running away from something. It could also indicate repressed emotions such as jealousy, anger or resentment.
Almost everyone has experienced a dream like this. Many people dream that they are falling off a cliff or some other type of structure jolting them awake from their sleep. This type of dream may indicate a loss of control or a feeling of helplessness or being overwhelmed.
5. Being Attacked
Someone who dreams about being attacked might be afraid of a person or situation. The fear may be so intense that it manifests as a horrible nightmare. The “attacker” in your dream most likely represents something that you may be apprehensive of in real life.
Now that you’ve learned a bit about the most common nightmares and what they mean, it might help you feel better to know that you aren’t the only one experiencing them. If you keep having the same nightmares over and over, it may cause you to question real life moments fueling them. You may think about seeing someone for help with interpretation and assistance if you feel it is of real concern to your mental health.