Are nightmares random dreams that occur sporadically? Or are they related to what's happening in your subconscious? What causes them anyway?
A new study done in Finland has given us some interesting answers.
Surprisingly, it ain't cheese or too many scary movies! The article published in the journal ‘SLEEP’ details a study done on 13 992 Finnish participants (6,515 men and 7,407 women aged 25 - 74 years) describes what really causes nightmares.
Participants completed a questionnaire to help researchers try and discover correlations between a wide range of factors. The questionnaire looked at issues such as gender, age, physical and mental health, stress, sleep, medication and lifestyle factors.
It turns out that having nightmares is strongly associated with the following three factors:
1. "a depression-related negative attitude toward the self"
2. insomnia &
3. exhaustion and fatigue
It is less strongly associated with use of alcohol, use of antidepressants or hypnotics and low life satisfaction. It appears that low self-esteem and lack of quality sleep are going to make even your dreams unpleasant! And that once again, what you do while you are awake influences your sleep.
The researchers concluded: "Hence, nightmare frequency appears to have a strong connection with sleep and mood problems, but is also associated with a variety of measures of psychological and physical well-being".