We like to think that when we sleep, we will rest in peaceful slumber and enjoy dreams. This does not always happen, though.  Sometimes, the types of dreams we have are not peaceful, but disturbing. When fear and terror enter our dreams and invade our minds, they are called nightmares – and nightmares can be very unsettling.  Like other dreams, though, they can also provide insight into our lives, including our emotions, feelings, and hidden desires and concerns.

Why Nightmares Happen

            What, exactly, is a nightmare? We all know what it is in general, but why do they happen? A nightmare is usually described as a bad dream that invokes powerful feelings of fear, or other negative emotions. These dreams can also involve physical reactions, including increased heart rates, sweating, shaking, and even screaming and crying.

            Nightmares frequently happen because of what we experience in our conscious lives. Our fears and concerns and insecurities about certain situations do not leave us when we sleep; instead, they remain in our minds and spirits and manifest themselves in our dreams, turning them into nightmares.  Frequently, the amount of fear we experience during the day will have an impact on how frequent nightmares can be for us.

How Nightmares Affect You

            Nightmares can be deeply unsettling, to say the least.  Sometimes, the intensity is relatively mild.  We may sleep through them, and vaguely remember the images and sensations when we wake up, but they do not really bother us.  Sometimes, though, they can be incredibly intense and leave us shaken and disturbed for hours, even days or weeks (especially if the nightmares are also recurring dreams).

            Having nightmares can also increase the amount of stress you have in your mind and body, which leads to other complications in your life.  Having stress and fear in our lives is disruptive and interferes with everyday living, which is the main affect nightmares have.

What Nightmares Mean

            While nightmares are scary and disturbing, they can also provide insight into our lives. Pay attention to the next nightmare you have. Try to remember the emotions you felt, and the images and sensations going through your mind. You can use these feelings and thoughts and “dream memories” to uncover fears, doubts, worries, and uncertainties in your life – even some you may not even be aware of!

            Nightmares can be powerful indicators of issues and emotions that are not resolved in your life.  Generally speaking, we don’t have nightmares about issues that are completely resolved and handled. On the contrary, the ones that disturb our souls the most are the ones that are not reconciled, which come up in our nightmares.

            As frightening as they may be, nightmares can also guide us to understanding more about what is going on in our lives.