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What Dreams and Nightmares Reveal About Your Health

healthsleepnightmaresdreamsHealth & Wellness • 2 min read • Dec 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM • Written by: Kat Smith

Turns out that recurring nudity nightmare may provide vital clues about your health.

What Dreams and Nightmares Reveal About Your Health

There is much to be learned about what happens when people sleep at night, but recent research has indicated that dreams and nightmares could lend insight into your physical health. New research provides evidence that dreams may serve as an early warning for certain medical conditions that might otherwise not be presenting any symptoms.

While dreams should not be mistaken for a medical diagnosis, they could indicate the need to speak to a doctor about certain conditions. Here is a closer look at what your dreams might be saying about what’s going on with your health.

Nightmares as warning signs

Chances are you’ve had a dream that’s left you in a cold sweat staring at the ceiling. Nightmares could be your brain’s way of warning you that you are at risk for heart disease. Individuals with heart conditions such as high blood pressure may have lower oxygen levels in the brain, which will cause disturbances during the sleep cycle. Use of beta-blockers for blood pressure may also cause regular nightmares because of the way these pills alter brain chemicals.

Bad dreams can also be a forewarning of an impending migraine. One study found that patients who experienced these excruciating headaches often had an earlier nightmare that typically involved themes of aggression and anger.

Understanding dream frequency

The average person has four dreams every night but only remembers about two to three of these dreams each week. This difference is due to the fact that dreams are only remembered if you wake up before the dream is over. Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression could be disrupting your sleep cycle, causing you to sleep longer or wake up more frequently throughout the evening, resulting in you remembering more dreams.

Subject matter and meaning

Certain types of dreams may be linked to medical conditions like Alzheimer’s, infection, or Parkinson’s disease. Stressful dreams of being attacked may be a predictor of Alzheimer’s while bizarre or particularly memorable dreams can be a side effect of the body’s immune response to infections.

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Kat Smith