How our dreams connect to everyday life
Although some people may be unable to remember their dreams, others may find that their dreams interfere with their everyday life. We only dream during Rapid Eye Movement, which takes up 20-25% of our sleep each night. Dreams can be based on a real life event that has either already happened or due to take place. People often dream about upcoming events that they are stressed or anxious about, which can also lead to sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Dreams are often based on real life events but are usually mixed with strange themes that are less realistic. Horror themes or other unsettling themes often result in an individual experiencing a nightmare. Nightmares are a common occurrence in young children.
Some people may find that they are unable to remember their dreams, but others may find that an unpleasant dream may interrupt their everyday life. Nightmares can lead to sleep deprivation and may occur as a result of a past traumatic event or stress and anxiety. Children often have difficulty coping with stressful situations and as a result may experience regular nightmares. Parents often find that their own sleeping patterns are affected as a result of their child suffering night terrors.
Unpleasant dreams that occur regularly can lead to children and even adults being unable to fall back to sleep after the nightmare has occurred. Nightmares cannot be controlled, but there are steps that can be taken to lower the chances of them occurring.
Keeping a dream diary will enable adults and children to recognise regular themes that occur in the dreams. Studying different themes within the nightmares will enable individuals to recognise what may be causing them. Cutting out certain foods such as chocolate before bed is thought to lower the risk of nightmares and avoiding films or novels that avoid unpleasant themes can also help. Children in particular should not be exposed to unpleasant themes before bed, as they are more likely to suffer nightmares.