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Did you know nightmare disorder is a thing?

Nightmare disorder is likely caused by stress and trauma (Photo: iStock)

The funny thing is nightmares come in different intensities. If your dreams are constantly more scary than usual, you might be suffering from a nightmare disorder.

The main underlying cause isn’t always known but it’s often connected to stress and trauma. There might also be underlying spiritual causes especially since some studies acknowledge that horror movies play a role as well.

There are certain criteria that are used to classify nightmare disorders and these are the signs that might show what you’re experiencing isn’t normal:

  • You get nightmares frequently

People who have had a nightmare might get one every once in a while. It might come when you’re anxious about something but a nightmare disorder will be different.

People who have this disorder might get nightmares at least once a week which isn’t within a normal range. Some even get these dreams almost every night which can be classified as a severe case of nightmare disorder.

  • You rarely get enough rest

Nightmares tend to affect the quality of sleep you’re getting. When it’s not a problem though, you can wake up, maybe pray about it and quickly go back to sleep.

With this disorder, the effect on your sleep can be more noticeable. They will cause you to wake up and be so alert that you can’t easily sleep again.

Also, the fact that these nightmares occur often also prevents you from getting the rest you need.

Your nightmares are likely to keep you up most of the night (Photo: iStock)
  • You remember details of the dream

These types of intense dreams tend to be more vivid than normal nightmares. They might be very gruesome and scary and people with this condition usually remember these dreams even months later.

  • They are affecting your productivity

Most people are able to dismiss bad dreams as nightmares and just carry on with their day as usual. This is different when you have this issue because you will start to notice that you’re unable to concentrate properly with normal tasks and they might also affect you socially.

Part of the reason is that you’re not getting enough sleep at night. The other reason is that these dreams trigger negative emotional responses such as anxiety and stress and you might even start feeling anxious when you’re going to bed.

  • You don’t have any direct trigger

Sometimes nightmares can come more intensely because of another disorder or medication. There are certain medications that can affect the chemicals in your brain and that can lead to more frequent nightmares. This can also happen if you abuse drugs or drink heavily.

If there is a known cause that can explain why you’re experiencing this shift in your dreams, it might not be classified as a disorder. But when there is nothing that can sufficiently explain the cause, it’s a sign.