Nightmares is the term currently used to refer to a dream which causes a strong unpleasant emotional response from the sleeper, typically fear or horror, or the sensations of pain, falling, drowning or death. Such dreams can be related to physical causes such as a high fever, or psychological ones such as psychological trauma or stress in the sleeper’s life, or can have no apparent cause. If a person has experienced a psychologically traumatic situation in life, for example, a person who may have been captured and tortured the experience may come back to haunt them in their nightmares. Sleepers may waken in a state of distress and be unable to get back to sleep for some time.

Occasional nightmares are commonplace, but recurrent nightmares can interfere with sleep and may cause people to seek medical help. A recently proposed treatment consists of imagery rehearsal. This approach appears to reduce the effects of nightmares and other symptoms in acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Lucid dreaming practitioners claim that it can help conquer nightmares of this type, rather than of the traditional type.

Nightmare Glossary

Daymare : A daydream which becomes increasingly frightening and nightmarish. A rare phenomenon.

D-Nightmare : Refers to the fact that that the nightmare arises from D-sleep – dreaming or desynchronized sleep.

Dream Anxiety Attack : Same as nightmare.

Hypnagogic Attack : A sudden involuntary muscular movement or jerk occurring during sleep.

Hypnagogic Nightmare : A type of nightmare experienced immediately upon falling asleep.

Incubus Attack : The incubus is a frightening creature imagined sitting on the sleeper.

Nightmare : A long frightening dream awakening the person out of D-sleep.

Night Terror : A sudden arousal from slow wave sleep with little or no dream recall.

NREM Sleep : Non rapid eye movement

REM Nightmare : The nightmare arises from rapid eye movement

REM Anxiety Sleep : Same as nightmare.

Sleep Walking : Involves body movement, getting out of bed, walking around.

Traumatic Nightmare : A long frightening dream consisting of memory of a traumatic event.

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