Have you ever wondered why you had nightmare after watching the last scary movie you saw or why you keep having dreams about smoking even though you quit a year ago? You probably didn’t realize that there are many factors in your waking life that can have a big impact on your dreams. Your emotional state before bed, your physical state, and the environment around you can all play a significant role in the context of your dream and your ability to recall it.
Watching a Scary Movie before Bed
Have you ever gone to bed after watching a horror movie and found that you dreamt about something extremely disturbing that night? People often say that scary movies can cause nightmares, but is it true? Research has shown that whatever you are doing right before your bedtime matters. This is why people who are trying to solve a problem can often “sleep on it” and come up with the answer in the morning.
Just because you watch a scary movie before bed does not mean you will dream about it. Only when you watch movie that has an impact on your conscious mind can it find its way into your dreams. This is why children are more likely to have nightmares after watching scary movies. This is one of the reasons why it’s not a good idea to let kids watch scaring movies before bed.
If you want to avoid a bad dream after watching a horror movie then consider taking a few minutes to think about something pleasant before you sleep. This can help reprogram your mind with happier thoughts and feelings to ensure you don’t have a nightmare at night.
Being Pregnant (Pre and Post)
During pregnancy expecting mothers will often have vivid dreams about their child. A common dream for expecting mothers is dreams about their new born child. You might have a dream that your baby is lost in the woods, and you are frantically searching for him in a nightmare. A dream about losing a child is a common dream that occurs to pregnant or new mothers who have new born babies.
Many studies have shown that pre and post pregnancy is a period where many mothers will have extremely vivid dreams about their infant. This can be due to the severe lack of sleep or the fluctuating hormone levels that the woman is experiencing. Because so much is happening to your body there is not much you can do to control some of the dreams and nightmares you might face.
Have you ever had a dream that had a feint sound in the background that you thought was an alarm or even an ambulance in the distance, only to wake up and hear your alarm clock ringing? You probably never wondered how the brain interprets some sounds and translates them into your dream, while other sounds have no effect. Research has shown that there is a narrow window for the sound to actually be translated into a dream while you sleep. The sound has to be the right level, if it is too loud you will wake up and if it is too low then you will not perceive the sound.
Quitting Something (Smoking)
People who decide to quit something are likely to have a dream about whatever they are trying to quit. If you ever find yourself trying to quit smoking, you can look forward to some pretty vivid dreams at night. Research has shown that 63% of smokers still dream about smoking a year after the quit. While this probably has to do with the fact that you mentally as still craving a cigarette from years of habit, studies have shown that nicotine withdrawal can enhance the brain activity in your dreams. This is the same for people who are addicted to drugs and other vices that are difficult to quit.
Drugs and Vitamins
If you have ever taken sleeping pills before, you can probably remember having an extremely vivid dream that night. Some medication has been shown to cause more intense REM for people who are using medication. Antidepressants are known to cause side effects such as nightmares and strange dreams. If you are experiencing nightmares while you are taking these drugs then you should talk to your doctor about switching to a different medication. Different variations of a drug can have a very different effect on the user. A very popular vitamin supplement for dreams is the vitamin B6. The vitamin B6 has been known to help people remember their dreams more vividly and easily.
Going to Bed Hungry
Have you ever gone to bed hungry and dreamt about food? Studies have shown that a low blood sugar level can rouse you from sleep, causing you to remember those dreams more frequently. It is quite common for that person on a diet to dream about a juicy hamburger or a warm brownie melting in their mouth. Food dreams are quite common for people who are anorexic and are constantly going to bed with an appetite.
Your State of Mind
If you are going to bed in a sad, happy or depressed state of mind, it can have an impact on what you dream about. Research has shown that people who are in a state of depression will usually dream about colors that are muted or shades of grey. If you have a lot of anxiety before bed then it is more common to dream about weather patterns such as tornadoes that can indicate being out of control. Dreaming about weather patterns can often reflect your emotions and state of mind before you fell asleep.