(2) If you are doing the chasing, the ‘you’ in your dream is probably your conscious ego and the thing you are chasing is almost certainly some part of yourself that frightens you. Chasing it away means disowning it, banishing it from your conscious life. It might be much better to try to integrate it into your conscious life. At the very least, get to know it and understand it.... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols
If you dream that you are chasing someone, it means you are attempting to overcome a difficult goal or task in real life. You may also be expressing some aggressive feelings toward others.
To dream that you or others are being chased by the police, suggests that you are trying to avoid responsibility for something.... My Dream Interpretation
(Also see Chess; Chessboard; Chessmen)... Islamic Dream Interpretation
A new dawn can bring a great sense of hope. Day and night can represent opposites, as in black and white, boy and girl etc. Indeed, any two opposites may have relevance, and it is up to us to decide what opposition there is in our lives.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
Dreaming of both day and night indicates the cycle of time or of changes that will inevitably take place. Sometimes indication is given of the nature of a period of time.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
Example: It was a beautiful hot sunny day, and I was in a children’s playground talking to a woman I knew vaguely’ (Kim B). Mostly our mood. In the example Kim feels bright and cheerful.
An overcast day would be the reverse. Also being conscious, seeing’ what we are doing, our waking experience. See light; time of day.
Example: I was creeping through a field at night. In darkness I and others were trying to accomplish some secret act, rather as spies or underground agents might’ (Tom). Similar to dark. Usually the unconscious, dark or little-sensed areas of oneself. In the example the secrecy occurs because pans of Tom’s childhood experience were ‘hidden’ behind the forgetfulness or unconsciousness of emotional hurt. Also loneliness; areas of subtly felt urges or feelings. And sometimes freedom; we may be constrained by the social or moral rules we apply to ourself during the ‘day’ or waking consciousness, but on the edge of consciousness, or in sleep, we find a wonderful freedom which allows us escape. Sometimes shown by escaping from a house at night and running away. See dark. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
2- We often differentiate between two states in dreams, and the contrast between day and night highlights this.
3- Day and night can represent opposites, as in black and white, boy and girl, etc. Indeed, any two opposites may have relevance, and it is up to the dreamer to decide what opposition there is in his or her life.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
2. Religious icon.
3. Someone admired or respected by the dreamer. ... New American Dream Dictionary
2- Psychologically, the knight in a dream signifies the guiding principle. He is that part of ourselves which is sometimes known as the Higher Self, the spirit guiding the physical.
The black knight is the embodiment of evil.
It is interesting that often the white knight appears with his visor up, whereas the black knight appears with his visor down.
3- Initiation, in order to develop one’s finer qualities.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
Depth Psychology: The knight is either a sign that you need protection right now, or that you are very chivalrous toward another person. See Armor, Castle.... Dreamers Dictionary
The black knight is often seen as the embodiment of evil.
It is interesting that often the white knight appears with his visor up, whereas the black knight appears with his visor down.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
It is interpreted as a sense of accomplishment and pride. The dreamer has made progress on the path of spiritual growth.... The Big Dictionary of Dreams
The warrior divides the world into two camps: right and wrong. He is the defender of the innocent and can be called upon to right any wrong.... Complete Dictionary of Dreams
The middle of the night can also be a call to pray and stand on guard against spiritual enemies ... Christian Dream Symbols
The beginning of a new day.... Little Giant Encyclopedia
If the night seems to be vanishing, conditions which hitherto seemed unfavorable will now grow bright, and affairs will assume prosperous phases. See Darkness. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
2. Feelings of ignorance, inferiority.
3. A feeling of misfortune, serious obstacles in the ofﬁng.
4. Feelings of family contentment (at home at night). ... New American Dream Dictionary
If one sees the whole world in the dark and the moon is still radiant in the skies in a dream, it means that the governor will temporarily relinquish his entire duties to his chief minister or secretary, and that thieves and robbers will cluster around them for business.
If one then sees the daylight in his dream, it means that such an adversity will pass.
If people are under siege in the dream and the daylight dawns after a long dark night in a dream, it means that their siege will be lifted.
If people are suffering from high prices and someone sees that dream, it means that prices will go back to normal.
If they are suffering from tyranny, it too will pass.
The night in a dream also means marital relations, while the day means separation between them. In a dream, the darkness of night also represents heedlessness and particularly if one witnesses thunder and lightning in his dream. Seeing a complete darkness inside one’s house in a dream means taking a long journey.
The night and the day in a dream represent two adverse rulers, or two competitors or adversaries.
The night in a dream also represents an atheist, while the day in a dream represents a believer.
The night in a dream also signifies comfort and rest, while the day means toiling and hardships. In a dream, the night also means sexual pleasures, while the day means divorce or separation.
The night in a dream signifies economic stagnation, while the day means business, travels and hypocrisy.
If the night in a dream is interpreted to represent the ocean, then the day means land.
The night in a dream also means death, while the day represents life and resurrection.
The night and the day together may represent the two guardian angels who record each person’s deeds and who are God’s witnesses.
If a sick person sees the dawn in a dream, it means that he will recover from his illness, or die from it. Ifhe is imprisoned, it means that he will be released.
If he is a sinner, it means that he will repent for his sins.
If he is a merchant and his business is not moving, it means that his merchandise will be finally sold.
The nightfall at the end of the day in a dream also could mean the opposite. Seeing the night in a dream also denotes constant changes in one’s life, poverty, hunger, starvation, or death.
The night and the day in a dream also represent wisdom and protocols, or indulging in something one will regret.
The nightfall in a dream also may denote changing times, or changing trends.
The night in a dream also could represent an African woman, while the day may represent a Caucasian woman, or a pregnant woman.
The night in a dream also represents the evening gown, while the day represents work.
The night in a dream also means veiling one’s difficulties and taking refuge in a safe place, except if the one seeing the dream is a traveller, then the night in his dream means injustice and ignorance.
The night in a dream also denotes devotion, holding a night vigil, attaining one’s goal, or meeting with one’s beloveds.
(Also see Darkness; Evening; Moon; Night ofpower)... Islamic Dream Interpretation
The darkness represents a lack of awareness and illumination.
If you honestly look at the content of your dream, you may be able to identify some areas of your life or personal experience that need warmth, light, and airing.... The Bedside Dream Dictionary
To walk on a dark night denotes grief, disappointment, loss.
It is ominous to dream of night-birds, with the exception of the nightingale, which denotes joyful news to the dreamer, if a married woman, she will have children who will be great singers (Artemidorus). It is said that Jenny Lind’s mother dreamed of a nightingale.... The Fabric of Dream
To dream of night shows that you will encounter obstacles in reaching your goals or some serious setbacks. This can be offset by other aspects in the dream such as: Clear and bright moonlight, stars and celestial bodies seen clearly, and your feelings while in the dream.... Tryskelion Dream Interpretation
Example: ‘It was a very dark night with thunder and lightning, heavy rain and high winds. I am in a waiting room at Heathrow airport’ (Mrs W). Night in this dream shows a period of difficult change in the dreamer’s life. It represents a period of darkness or depression, loneliness; difficulties; sometimes negative feelings about old age and death.
Example: ‘I was creeping through a field at night. In darkness I and others were trying to accomplish some secret act, rather as spies or underground agents might. I also remember another where I was near a house at night. There was some special reason for getting to the house. Again an “agent” son of feeling’ (Sam K). Sam is experiencing areas of his unconscious or unknown self, thus the secrecy, as he probably has hidden something from himself. This aspect of night suggests turning our attention inwards to an extent where we discover insights, memories or mysteries which were previously unknown to us. These can be painful areas of our experience, or very positive and life enhancing realisations. It depicts the times in life when feelings arise from within when we are alone, or in a receptive mood—or go in search of who we are.
Idioms: it’s about time; all in good lime; at one time; do time, for the time being; half the time, gain time, have no time for someone; lean times; time after time, time flies; behind the times; big time. See dark; light; sun. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
1- Night signifies a period of rest and relaxation. It can, however, also suggest a time of chaos and difficulty.
It is a time for ‘ghosties, ghoulics and things that go bump in the night. More positively, it is a period which allows us to create a new beginning with the dawning of the new day. Used constructively, night is therefore the fallow period before fresh growth.
2- Physiologically night is a time when the body is supposed to be renewing itself. In Chinese medicine, certain hours of the night correspond with the renewal of certain organs in the body. Madness would eventually ensue if the body were not able to repair itself properly (see Sleep Deprivation in Introduction).
3- Night symbolises the darkness that occurs before rebirth or initiation. There is a disintegration which has to occur before there can be enlightenment. Night can also signify death or drastic change.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
The night might also represent an uncertain future.
A starlit night means you’re on the right path. See Darkness.
Depth Psychology: Night is always a period of transition, with the promise that morning will always follow. It also symbolizes dangers lurking in our unconscious. See Evening, Morning, Noon.... Dreamers Dictionary
If this is a dark night of the soul, this is a time when the light/solutions/hope/God feels distant, and clarity is waning. This period is usually followed by an extreme breakthrough. See Breakdown/ Breakthrough and Dark.... Strangest Dream Explanations
A dark, cloudy night with no moon represents the dreamer’s fears. Look to other symbols in the dream to discern what the fears are.
If in the dream the night is hindering the dreamer, he should expect obstacles and delays in something dear to him. Astrological and Tarot parallel: The Moon.... Dream Explanations of Astro Center
The clearness of the night, any moonlight, stars or sign of dawn reduces the adverse aspect See also Darkness.... The Complete Guide to Interpreting Your Dreams
(2) A night journey, and especially a sea journey, may symbolize a ‘journey5 into the unconscious, or the process of individuation, or its second phase.
(3) If moonlight is in evidence, see Moon.... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols
An old superstition says that you can avoid nightmares by hanging your
stockings or socks on the edge of the bed. According to gypsy tradition, unless the sky is starry, night dream announces despair.... The Big Dictionary of Dreams
If nighttime indicates pleasure to the dreamer, then recreation and entertainment may be in order.... Dream Symbols in The Dream Encyclopedia
To dream that you are in a dimly-lit and gloomy night club denotes an end to a romance and/or a possible financial problem.... Dream Symbols and Analysis
If a sick person sees himself returning from his night guard shift in a dream, it means that he will recover from his illness.... Islamic Dream Interpretation
The same interpretation applies for seeing a celebration of the night of the Nocturnal Journey during which the Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace, ascended to the heavens to meet his Lord.
The same interpretation is given to seeing the Friday eve in one’s dream.... Islamic Dream Interpretation
If the terror wakes the sleeper up, they may recall a single image of terror but if they fall back to sleep there is unlikely to be any recall of the feeling.
If you or someone you know experiences more than three or four episodes of night terror a month, then you or they might be suffering from an anxiety disorder. It is important to consult a doctor if this is the case. Night terrors tend to be most common in children between the ages of three and eight, and most sleep experts urge parents and carers not to rush to their child to try and wake and comfort them as this can intensify or aggravate the night terror. You should instead let the night terror run its course and the child will rarely recall the event in the morning. There is not much evidence that night terrors reflect deep psychological problems and occasional night terrors are considered quite normal in young children. See also Sleep paralysis, and Incubus and succubus entries in SPIRITS AND GHOSTS.... The Element Encyclopedia
If you are the night watchman: your domestic tranquility is in danger.
Depth Psychology: 1’he night watchman represents your insecurities and helplessness. You want to place your responsibilities in the hands of a guardian or trusted person. But the dream could mean also that you refuse to let anyone interfere in your affairs.... Dreamers Dictionary
2. An improvement in social affairs is about to occur; new friends.
3. Aspects of life. ... New American Dream Dictionary
If the nightclub is dimly lit and depressing, you can expect the end of a love affair, or a financial crisis.... Tryskelion Dream Interpretation
The dream might also be a warning about falling prey to temptations that you will later regret. Be careful!... Dreamers Dictionary
If the nightclub is dimly lit and depressing, you can expect the end of a love affair, or a financial crisis.... Encyclopedia of Dreams
If you see yourself as the guest of honor at a nightclub party, the event represents a microcosm of your life, complete with private crushes and petty rivalries.
To dream of drifting into dance floor oblivion is a good sign that your personal struggles are in balance.
To dream of being groped in a dance club demonstrates your lack of trust in sexual relationships.
If you dream that you are in a depressing and dimly-lit nightclub, you will experience a financial crisis or an end to a romantic relationship.... My Dream Interpretation
2. A feeling of not being prepared for life, activities or business affairs (to be in a nightgown in public). ... New American Dream Dictionary
To see others in their in their nightgown in your dream, signifies that you will hear unpleasant news from absent friends.... My Dream Interpretation
To see nightingales silent, foretells slight misunderstandings among friends. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
2. The beginning of a good period.
3. Confusion in communications; misunderstandings. ... New American Dream Dictionary
It is also interpreted as having a son in his early childhood who recites the holy Qur’an beautifully.
If one sees himself as a nightingale in a dream, it means that he depends on his assistant to provide professional advice, wisdom and good management of his business.... Islamic Dream Interpretation
For a married woman to dream of a nightingale, shows that she will have children who will be great singers. It signifieth also good work, and principally weddings and music, and promiseth a housewifely wife.... The Complete Dream Book
To dream of a silent nightingale means a spat among friends most likely due to miscommunication.... Dream Symbols and Analysis
It is also an omen of restored health to an invalid.... Mystic Dream Book
If the nightingales are singing, this suggests harmonious relationships or the desire for them.... The Element Encyclopedia
For a young woman, this is a dream prophetic of disappointment and unmerited slights. It may also warn the dreamer to be careful of her health, and food. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
2. Possible health issue.
3. Out-of-control anxieties, fears. ... New American Dream Dictionary
If nightmares continue for an extended period of time, the individual should consider obtaining professional counseling services. Nightmares are a direct result of overwhelming feelings of fear and helplessness, or a result of an unprocessed traumatic experience.
A nightmare is any dream that wakes you up because of its frightening and overwhelming images.... The Bedside Dream Dictionary
If you dreamed that you were having a nightmare - a very rare dream - suggests that you are probably repressing a rather intense and deep-seated emotional problem.
If you know what it is, talk it over with someone you trust, or seek therapy. You must allow your mind to relax and heal.... My Dream Interpretation
If the emotions felt are frightening or disgusting we call the dream a nightmare. One of the common features of a nightmare is that we are desperately trying to get away from the situation; feel stuck in a terrible condition; or on waking feel enormous relief that it was just a dream. Because of the intensity of a nightmare we remember it long after other dreams; even if we seldom ever recall other dreams, even worry about what it means.
As so many dreams have been investigated in depth, using such varied approaches as hypnosis, exploration of associations and emotional content, and LSD psychotherapy, in which the person can explore usually unconscious memories, imagery and feelings, we can be certain we know what nightmares are. They arise from six main causes.
Unconscious memories of intense emotions, such as those arising in a child being left in a hospital without its mother. Example: see second example in dark.
Intense anxiety produced—but not fully released at the time—by external situations such as involvement in war scenes, sexual assault (this applies to males as well as females, as they are frequently assaulted). Example: ‘A THING is marauding around the rather bleak, dark house I am in with a small boy.
To avoid it I lock myself in a room with the boy.
The THING finds the room and tries to break the door down. I frantically try to hold it closed with my hands and one foot pressed against it, my back against a wall for leverage. It was a terrible struggle and I woke myself by screaming’ (Terry F). When Terry allowed the sense of fear to arise in him while awake, he felt as he did when a child—the boy in the dream—during the bombing of the Second World War. His sense of insecurity dating from that time had emerged when he left a secure job, and had arisen in the images of the nightmare. Understanding his fears, he was able to avoid their usual paralysing influence.
Childhood fears, such as loss of parent, being lost or abandoned, fear of attack by stranger or parent, anxiety about own internal drives.
Many nightmares in adults have a similar source, namely fear connected with internal drives such as aggression, sexuality and the process of growth and change, such as encounter with adolescence, loss of sexual characteristics, old age and death. Example: see third example in doors under house, buildings.
Serious illness. Example: ‘I dream night after night that a cat is gnawing at my throat’ (male from Landscapes of the Night).
The dreamer had developing cancer of the throat. These physical illness dreams are not as common as the other classes of nightmare.
Precognition of fateful events. Example: My husband, a pilot in the RAF, had recently lost a friend in an air crash. He woke one morning very troubled—he is usually a very positive person. He told me he had dreamt his friend was flying a black jet, and wanted my husband to fly with him.
Although a simple dream, my husband could not shake off the dark feelings. Shortly afterwards his own jet went down and he was killed in the crash’ (Anon.).
Understanding the causes of nightmares enables us to deal with them.
The things we run from in the nightmare need to be met while we are awake. We can do this by sitting and imagining ourselves back in the dream and facing or meeting what we were frightened of. Terry imagined himself opening the door he was fighting to keep closed. In doing this and remaining quiet he could feel the childhood feelings arising. Once he recognised them for what they were, the terror went out of them.
A young woman told me she had experienced a recurring nightmare of a piece of cloth touching her face. She would scream and scream and wake her family. One night her brother sat with her and made her meet those feelings depicted by the cloth. When she did so she realised it was her grandmother’s funeral shroud. She cried about the loss of her grandmother, felt her feelings about death, and was never troubled again by the nightmare.
The techniques given in dream processing will help in meeting such feelings. Even the simple act of imagining ourselves back in the nightmare and facing the frightening thing will begin the process of changing our relationship with our internal fears. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
If dreams are indeed messages from the unconscious, a nightmare is one way it has of telling us to pay attention, as there may be shadow material coming up. This always means there is something important to learn.... Complete Dictionary of Dreams
In general, nightmares are those dreams that are painful, unpleasant and frightening. Dream analysts have reported two kinds of nightmares: those in which you wake up with a general sense of fear but you can’t recall what it was that scared you—this is often called a night terror—and those which involve you waking up from a vivid dream at its most frightening or threatening part.
Technically, the former is not a nightmare, whilst the latter is.
Many people in the nineteenth century still blamed nightmares on indigestion and it was only with the publication of Freud’s ideas that they became seen as the expression of unfulfilled wishes and sexual anxiety. Jung described them as part of humankind’s ‘collective unconscious’ and said the helplessness we feel in nightmares is a memory of the fears experienced by primitive peoples. Today, most dream interpreters believe these disturbing dreams are sent to warn the conscious mind that something is being blocked or ignored. Rather than putting the nightmare out of your mind because it was such an unpleasant experience, it is important to make efforts to interpret and confront the nightmare imagery in order to identify the waking cause.
The hallmark of a nightmare is that it is frightening. It is often long, detailed and amongst the easiest of dreams to remember. Nightmares often occur when hidden feelings of guilt, self-doubt, anxiety, anger, worry and insecurity are pushed out of your waking thoughts and repressed. In typical nightmares, you may feel as if you are being buried alive, suffocated, drowned or chased by a murderer. Dreams from which you awake with feelings of intense distress or anxiety usually occur towards the end of a night’s sleep. There is no common element and everyone has their own type of nightmare, probably produced by our own hidden fears. Many psychologists—some of them trained in the Freudian and Jungian traditions—believe that nightmares, like all dreams, carry a host of coded meaning within them, and that they are the psyche’s way of alerting us that something is wrong or unresolved in our waking lives.
From this perspective, nightmares are seen as arising from our deepest fears, frustrations and repressions. They are, however, an opportunity for you to discover which part of yourself is threatening to destroy your own happiness.
If you do have a nightmare, try to find out what exactly it is that you fear so much that you have tried to push it away into your unconscious. The stage of your dreaming mind offers you a safe place to enact and work through challenging or scary ideas or situations. When you have a nightmare, your unconscious world is sending you a loud message that you have no choice but to wake up. Examining the content of your nightmares will usually give you clues to the troubling issues or events that you are not ready to face consciously.
When you wake up from a nightmare, take a few moments to orient yourself to the reality that, no matter how frightening the events of the dream, they are not real and cannot harm you. Try to remember as many details as you can, because nightmares are windows into the worries and fears that plague your mind; as a consequence, you don’t want to dismiss them out of hand. One way to help you figure out what your nightmare means is to try and continue the story when you are awake. This gives you a chance to rewrite the dream plot from the point of view of the menacing character or object in your dream. According to ancient dream-lore, if you can overcome what is frightening you in your dream, you can overcome the things that frighten you in waking life. See also DISASTERS; NEGATIVE EMOTIONS; SPIRITS AND GHOSTS; STAGES OF LIFE; SURREALISM AND FANTASY.... The Element Encyclopedia
People with anxiety disorder might also experience what experts term “night terrors”. These are actually panic attacks that occur in sleep.
It is especially difficult to remember these types of dreams since they conjure up terrifying images that we would just as soon forget.
In poetic myth, the Nightmare is actually a “small nettlesome mare, not more than thirteen hands high, of the breed familiar with the Elgin marbles: cream-colored, clean- limbed, with a long head, bluish eye, flowing mane and tail.” Her nests, called mares’ nests, “when one comes across them in dreams, lodged in rock-clefs or the branches of enormous hollow yews, are built of carefully chosen twigs lined with white horse-hair and the plumage of prophetic birds and littered with the jaw-bones and entrails of poets.”
Thus, in a pagan world of myth and blood sacrifice, the Nightmare was a cruel, fearful creature. Our modern word nightmare derives from the Middle English nihtmare (from niht, night, and mare, demon), an evil spirit believed to haunt and suffocate sleeping people. And so, in today’s world, when we speak of a nightmare we mean a frightening dream accompanied by a sensation of oppression and helplessness.
The blood-thirsty aspect of the mythic Nightmare, however, can give a good clue about nightmares in general, for in psychodynamic terms nightmares are graphic depictions of raw, primitive emotions such as aggression and rage that have not been incorporated into the conscious psyche. Thus we tend to encounter these “ugly” aspects of our unconscious lives as terrifying dream images in whose presence we feel completely helpless.
Nightmares are quite common in childhood because this is a time of our emotional development when we all have to come to terms with, well, raw, primitive emotions such as aggression and rage.
Traumatic nightmares can also occur as one of the many symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Repetitive, intrusive nightmares following a trauma often contain symbolic themes that mirror the original trauma and relate to threat to life, threat of abandonment or death, or loss of identity.
Therefore, traumatic nightmares need to be treated differently than other dreams. It’s not enough just to “know” intellectually the psychological reasons why you have these nightmares. An event is traumatic because it disrupts your previously secure—and illusory—sense of “self.” And so, to heal from a trauma, you must take the initiative to make conscious changes in your life to accommodate the traumatic shattering of your illusions about life and identity.
Some believe that nightmares have a physiological nature as well. Edgar Cayce believed that Nightmares, which bring with them an inability to move or cry out, usually indicate the wrong diet. To end the nightmarish dreams change your diet.
We found a technique online that can help people who suffer from recurrent nightmares. It is not meant to be a cure-all. It is just a suggested treatment to deal with frightening nightmares. The idea is to use this therapy every night until the nightmare has been resolved. It is called Imagery Rehearsal Therapy.
Here are the steps of Imagery Rehearsal Therapy:
Depth Psychology: The nightshirt or nightgown indicates hidden erotic desires and needs. It could also point to your own character and that of the people wearing the gown.... Dreamers Dictionary
POWs from World War II and concentration camp survivors have been known to suffer post-traumatic stress nightmares for up to fifty years after the event. Unlike ‘normal’ nightmares, these dreamers can experience significant physical symptoms during REM sleep and non-REM sleep, such as an increase in respiration and heart rate, muscle twitches and more than one arousal. Adults might experience other traumatic events in their lives, such as the loss of a loved one or bankruptcy, and these events can also continue to play out in dreams over the years in the form of nightmares. The more standard anxiety nightmare dreamers, however, have nightmares that relate to work, school or relationship stresses. The threat here isn’t to your life but to your self-confidence and sense of self.... The Element Encyclopedia
Women tend to report recurring dreams more than men. For example, the thing young children fear the most is abandonment, as without the love and protection of their parents or carers they would die. Later, as they begin to crawl, then walk, then run, they fear bodily harm. Some dream analysts believe that these two issues—fear of bodily harm and abandonment—recur again and again in a person’s life. A forty-year-old woman who discovers her husband has had an affair may, for example, dream of an earthquake and her inability to find a place of safety. This relates to fears of being abandoned.
Recurring nightmare dreams may be an indication that the dreaming mind is trying to present troublesome emotions or situations to a conscious mind that is somehow stuck in a habitual feeling state or response. The dream is encouraging the dreamer to find ways of resolving the trauma or difficulty underlying the dream.... The Element Encyclopedia
As we have seen, both Freud and Jung had theories regarding nightmares: Freud tried to explain them as the expression of unfulfilled wishes, whilst Jung described them as part of humankind’s ‘collective unconscious’ and argued that the helplessness we feel in nightmares is a memory of the fears experienced by primitive peoples. Today, in medical textbooks, nightmares are most commonly defined as a disturbing dream that results in at least a partial awakening.
Nightmares, in common with most dreams, occur during REM stages of sleep and they generally cause the dreamer to wake up.
If you don’t wake up, the dream is not technically a nightmare and could be described as a bad dream. Nightmares are often characterized by the following symptoms: a sense of fear and dread that lingers for hours or days after the dream upon awakening; the ability to recall all or part of a dream scene; in most cases the dreamer is threatened or actually harmed in some way; a recognition of powerful images in the dream or the repetition of the dream itself for months or even years after; and a physical paralysis or lack of muscle tone called atonia which signifies REM sleep.
Drugs, alcohol, lack of sleep and spicy food can alter the quality and quantity of REM sleep and perhaps trigger nightmares but there is no hard evidence to support this. Whilst these things can increase the risk of nightmares, the mundane struggles in daily life are generally thought to be the cause of most nightmares. Sleep researchers have discovered that long-standing nightmare sufferers tend to be emotional, creative, sensitive but prone to depression.
Modern sleep researchers have identified the following causes for nightmares:
• Unconscious memory of intense emotions such as that of a child being abandoned by its mother. Many people have had the experience of feeling trapped in a difficult situation—a terrible marriage or another situation they want to get out of—and nightmares can hark back to that situation, mirroring the intense feelings of being trapped associated with it.
• Intense experiences produced by external situations, such as involvement in war or being a victim of assault. Trauma, surgery, a death in the family, crime and accidents can also cause them to proliferate.
• Many nightmares in adults arise from fears connected with repressed internal drives or from fears concerning the process of growth and change.
• Threats to self-esteem. People may be faced by or fear the loss of something important to them, such as the failure of a relationship or the loss of a child, being seen to fail at work or not being able to cope with life in other ways. Nightmares may arise out of feelings of inferiority or loss of self-confidence.
Some sleep researchers consider the occasional nightmare to be a natural response to stress; the dream is seen to be the body’s way of practicing its ‘fight or flee’ response, providing us with a way to work through aggressive feelings in a safe way, given that the body’s muscles are essentially paralyzed during REM sleep.... The Element Encyclopedia