Meaning of The History And Science Of Nightmares Dreams | Dream Interpretation

Dream interpretations were found from 1 different sources.


In ancient times, nightmares were thought to be caused by evil spirits. The word, in fact, derives from a Scandinavian legend in which a ‘nacht-mara’—the ‘mara’ being a female demon—came and sat on the sleeper’s chest at night, leaving him with a heavy, suffocating sensation of being awake but paralyzed. Nightmares have been known to inspire great artists: John Henry Fuseli’s 1781 painting ‘The Nightmare’ caused a sensation with its depiction of an incubus crouching on the body of a sleeping woman. John Newton—a slave trader and the composer of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’—became an abolitionist after a nightmare in which he saw ‘all of Europe consumed in a great raging fire’ whilst he was the captain of a slave ship. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was inspired, in part, by a nightmare. Elias Howe, who invented the sewing machine, came up with the breakthrough concept of a needle with a hole at the pointed end after he had a nightmare in which jungle warriors brandished spears that had holes in their blades.

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 | Theresa Cheung


The History And Science Of Nightmares | Dream Meaning

The keywords of this dream: History Science Nightmares

25 dream symbols found for this dream.

A Brief History Of Dream Interpretation

‘Now Allah has created the dream not only as a means of guidance and instruction, I refer to the dream, but he has made it a window on the World of the Unseen.’
Mohammed, the Prophet

Ancient art and literature are crowded with references to dreams. For thousands of years dreams have been credited with supernatural or prophetic significance by the majority of the world’s spiritual traditions. The Bible, for instance, makes it clear that dreams are divine messages and this explanation for dreams was shared by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, all of whom also believed that dreams had healing powers.

Certain cultures, such as the Australian Aborigines and many African and Native American tribes, have always believed dreaming to be a way in which an individual can enter into the collective spirit memory. To this day, dream pooling plays an important role in those societies where tribal members gather together for the purpose of interpreting dreams. Another view is held by the Inuit of Hudson Bay in Canada, who believe that when a person falls asleep and dreams, their soul goes wandering.

The Egyptians are thought to have been the first to develop a system of contrary dream interpretation; a positive dream, for example, predicts misfortune and a nightmare predicts an improvement in waking fortunes. They produced the earliest known dream dictionary, written approximately 4,000 years ago. Now called the Chester Beatty Papyrus, it came from Thebes in Egypt and is kept in the British Museum.

It was the ancient Greeks, however, who first proposed the theory that dreams were not from some external, divine source but internal communications, or the divine spark within. Plato (427-347 BC) suggested that dreams were expressions of a person’s hidden desires, whilst his pupil Aristotle (384-322 BC) speculated that dreams shared similar themes and were not divine oracles but coincidences. It was the ‘father of medicine’ Hippocrates (460-377 BC) who proposed that dream symbols reflect the state of the dreamer’s body—for example, fire denoted indigestion—and should be regarded as valuable diagnostic tools.

The first fully-fledged dream researcher to focus on dream symbols and dream themes was a Roman living in Greek Asia Minor called Artemidorus (AD 138-180), who wrote a book about dream interpretation that is still in print. As far as Artemidorus was concerned, dream symbols had certain meanings but the most important aspect of dream interpretation was the symbols’ personal significance to the dreamer, along with the dreamer’s personal circumstances.

In much of Europe, even though the early Christians respected dreams for their spiritual significance, the repressive control of the Roman Catholic Church put a stop to any attempts at dream interpretation. By the fifteenth century, dreams were regarded as no longer significant or important. Even a century or so later, Shakespeare called them ‘children of the idle brain’. This school of thought persisted into the eighteenth century, when dreams were still thought to be meaningless.

In the early nineteenth century, when the restrictive influence of the Church began to wane and members of the German Romantic movement—in their quest for spontaneous expression—rediscovered the potential of dreams, a revival of interest in dream interpretation began to trickle into the mainstream with the publication of popular dream dictionaries such as Raphael’s Royal Book of Dreams (1830). The stage was now set for Freud and Jung; two men who continue to have the greatest impact on the way we interpret dreams today.... Dreampedia

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Dreampedia

A Short History Of Dreaming

Dreams, it seems, have fascinated the entire human race from earliest times. And until quite recently, most cultures have set great store by dreams. For example, in ancient Egypt the high priests used dreams for prophecies. There still exists a papyrus book of dreams dating back approximately 3,500 years in which dream symbols are interpreted, proving that the Egyptians took their dreams seriously.

In ancient Greece, people believed that dreams were a direct contact with the gods. One of the principal uses of dreams was for healing. Sick people went to special temples that were dedicated to dreaming as a curative method. There, a physician would help to induce a dream, which the physician would then interpret as a guide to the treatment of the ailment, and its cause as well. In modern times, the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, drew upon the writings of Artemidorus, a Greek who lived in the second century B.C.E. whom Freud much admired. Artemidorus’s books have been preserved for over two thousand years and were in constant use as references before the scientific revolution put dreams into the category of “unimportant nonsense.”

At the time of the Italian Renaissance, when rational thinking was beginning to come to the fore, dreams began to be dismissed as trivial by-products of sleep. William Shakespeare denounced dreams as “the children of an idle brain.” (On the other hand, he wrote eloquently on the nature of dreams in his play Hamlet!) John Dryden, an English philosopher, dismissed dreams as the result of indigestion or infection. The bias against dreams continued through the nineteenth century, when most people thought that dreams were caused by some external stimulus—such as a knock on the door making a person dream the house was being burglarized. Aside from such shallow interpretation, most ordinary people, doctors and philosophers, church fathers and professors, believed that dreams had no meaning and saw no need to heed them.

In his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Dr. Jung tells of a dream in which he was a guest at a garden party. Another guest was a woman from the town of Basel, a good friend of both Jung and his sister. In the dream, Jung says, he instinctively knew the woman from Basel would die. However, when he woke up he had no idea who the woman was in real life, though the dream was exceptionally vivid. He writes, “A few weeks later, I received news that a friend of mine had a fatal accident. I knew at once that she was the person I had seen in the dream but had been unable to identify.”

It took the work of Sigmund Freud to open people’s eyes once more to the possibility of dreams being important and useful. Though Freud was obsessed with sexual meanings in dreams to the exclusion of all else, he performed a useful service with the publication of his book on dream interpretation. However, his narrow view held that dreams were mere “wish fulfillment” and a substitute for sexual satisfaction. Fortunately, one of his student colleagues, Carl Gustav Jung of Switzerland, disagreed with Freud and formulated a more comprehensive theory of dream analysis.

Jung researched the previously unstudied territory of the unconscious and came up with the idea of a collective unconscious, through which all people were connected by a common store of knowledge and experience that often revealed itself in dreams.... Dreampedia

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Dreampedia

Conscience

To dream that your conscience censures you for deceiving some one, denotes that you will be tempted to commit wrong and should be constantly on your guard.

To dream of having a quiet conscience, denotes that you will stand in high repute. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation

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Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation

Conscience

If your conscience pricks you in a dream, it is a sign that you need not worry about something that you may have considered wrong.... The Complete Dream Book

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The Complete Dream Book

Conscience

It is a dream of contrary if you are being worried by your Conscience—all will go well.

The more self-satisfied you feel, the less your chance of prosperity.... Mystic Dream Book

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Mystic Dream Book

History

To dream that you are reading history, indicates a long and pleasant recreation. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation

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Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation

History

1. Reverse: to look forward to opportunities and possibili­ties.

2. Applying outdated values or solutions to new situations and problems.

3. Current activities, projects or events have a permanent importance (also note what is happening in the history). ... New American Dream Dictionary

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New American Dream Dictionary

History

Dreams of history are your feelings and attitudes that relate to the particular period of which you are dreaming. This dream may be assisting you in learning from your past.

If you are continuing to relive your history, then you need to heal the reoccurring issues in order to move on, create a future and to move in the direction of your dreams. See Mythology and Recurring Dreams.... Strangest Dream Explanations

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Strangest Dream Explanations

History

If your dream featured historic occasions, it is alerting you to be prepared for a sudden opportunity to improve your circumstances which will present itself in the near future.... The Complete Guide to Interpreting Your Dreams

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The Complete Guide to Interpreting Your Dreams

History / History Class

Dreams of the past, or a dream about being in History class, are usually about learning from experience. Your mind could be trying to show you what worked or didn’t in the past, so you can learn a lesson, change your behavior and be happier in the present.... My Dream Interpretation

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My Dream Interpretation

Influential People In World History

Certain key figures in human history have had such an impact on world history that your unconscious may have stored the information—perhaps from school or college days, or even from a documentary or media report—and then drawn upon that knowledge to create an image that can encourage, teach or inspire you in dreamland. The list below contains some of the world’s most influential figures and gives keywords to trigger personal associations. Please note that the list is by no means comprehensive or definitive; if the influential person in your dreams isn’t listed here or in this chapter and you want to find associations that have meaning and relevance to you, it might be worthwhile reading their biography or autobiography, or investigating their life story and significance to world history.

Alexander the Great: Conqueror, empire building, warrior archetype.

Aristotle: İnfluential greek philosopher, the importance of asking questions and challenging conventional thought.

Bell, Alexander Graham: İnventor of telephone, communication, networking .

Bonaparte, Napoleon: French emperor, tactician, warrior archetype, exile.

Columbus, Christopher: Explorer, led europe to the americas, new territories to discover, new potential.

Confucius: The founder of confucianism, wise old man archetype.

Copernicus, Nicolas: Priest, astronomer, taught heliocentricity, the world revolves around the sun.

Daguerre, Louis: Pioneer of photography, vision, impressions, image change.

Darwin, Charles: Biologist, formulated theory of evolution, survival of the fittest.

Descartes, René: Rationalist philosopher and mathematician, logic, reason, ı think therefore ı am.

Edison, Thomas: İnventor of light bulb, illumination, insight.

Einstein, Albert: Physicist, theory of relativity, greatness achieved by power of the mind.

Fermi, Enrico: Father of atomic bomb, ultimate weapon of destruction, the last resort.

Fleming, Alexander: Penicillin, advances in bacteriology, immunology and chemotherapy, strengthening your defenses.

Ford, Henry: İndustrialist, revolutionized mass production, the repetition of the production line.

Galilei, Galileo: Catholic astronomer, accurately described heliocentric solar system, visionary, conflict of authority with freedom of thought.

Gutenberg, Johann: Developed movable type, printed bibles, communication, the printed word.

Machiavelli, Niccolò: Author of the prince, archetype of the manipulator.

Marconi, Guglielmo: İnventor of the radio, communication, words, reaching a large audience.

Marx, Karl: Social philosopher, marxist communism, class struggle.

Michelangelo: Painter; sculptor, architect, diversity, energy, talent.

Moses: God’s messenger, leader of people out of slavery.

Muhammad: Prophet of ıslam, founder of major world religion, military and political leader, pure ideals, indomitable will.

Newton, Isaac: Physicist, theory of universal gravitation, laws of motion, universe working like clockwork.

St Paul: Proselytizer of christianity, dogma, tradition, rules and regulations.

Plato: Greek philosopher, intellectual focus on spiritual concepts rather than physical elements of life.

Shakespeare, William: Playwright, understanding of complete range of human emotions, stupendous output.

Voltaire: Writer and philosopher, crusade against tyranny and bigotry, the importance of tolerance.

Washington, George: First president of the united states of america, the basic rights of the individual, david versus goliath.

Watt, James: Developer of steam engine, new possibilities, travel.

William the Conqueror: First king of modern england, beginning a new project, invasion.

Wright, Orville and Wilbur: Inventors of airplane, longing to escape, fly away or reach new heights... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

Nightmares

Many dreams lead us to feel an intensity of emotion we may seldom if ever feel in waking life.

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

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Nightmares

see Escape, Fear, Flight (= Fleeing)... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

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A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

Nightmares

These are the important dreams that help us maintain emotional and psychological balance and equilibrium in the face of stress and fear. Nightmares are those frightening and often very memorable dreams that can wake you up and leave you riddled with anxiety. While there may be underlying neurological causes for nightmares, for the most part they are simply a common experience in the world of dreams; sooner or later, you are likely to have one. There are many emerging theories about the neurological structure of nightmares and what some of the value of having them might be with regard to stress and psychic balance. However, these don’t address the question that most people want an answer to, and that is, what causes them? Of course, the answer to that question is that we still don’t really know what causes nightmares, or any dreams for that matter. We do know that there are some medications that can impact the quality and intensity of dreams, including the frequency of nightmares. There are plenty of old wives’ tales associated with activities that can supposedly bring them on, such as eating red meat or other heavy foods before going to sleep. There are even those who believe the direction you lie in while you sleep can cause bad dreams. These are not, however, proven scientific facts, nor are they validated by my personal experience of interpreting thousands of dreams over many years. Nightmares are not easily forgotten, and the residual emotional reaction they sometimes generate can often linger in our conscious awareness far longer than the fond memories of our more pleasant dreams. However, this inherent capacity to remember them often makes them easy to work with. Additionally, people are sometimes highly motivated to understand them because of the upset they can create.

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

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Complete Dictionary of Dreams

Nightmares

Nightmares draw your attention to the many hidden fears that may be preventing you from moving forward.

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

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The Element Encyclopedia

Nightmares

Children, especially, are prone to nightmares. Nightmares are common in children, typically beginning at around age 3 and occurring up to age 7-8.

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:

  • Write out the text of the nightmare. Tell the story, no matter how frightening, in as much detail as you can remember.
  • Create a new ending for the nightmare story and write it out. Be careful, however, to make the new ending peaceful. Remember that the nightmare is grounded in emotions such as raw anger that have been provoked by a trauma. The point of a new ending is to “tame” the emotions, not merely vent them in violence and revenge.
  • Rehearse the new version of the story in your imagination each night just before going to sleep. Do this as close as possible to your falling asleep without any other activity between the rehearsal and sleep.
  • Perform a relaxation exercise. Do this immediately after the rehearsal, as a way to fall asleep peacefully. You may use any technique with which you are familiar. This could be meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises.The “cousin” of nightmares is disturbing dreams with unpleasant images.
... Dreampedia

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Dreampedia

Nightmares And Scary Dreams: Frightening Dreams Are Your Friend

Even Nightmares Have a Helpful Purpose. A nightmare is easy to recognize: You wake up feeling anything from mild fright to a complete terror that can leave you screaming. Yet even dreams that scare you come to help. The topic of a dream may well bring up a serious and intense message. However, the message comes from a friendly source—your own psyche—whose purpose is to help and support you. No matter how serious or scary the subject of the dream, the communication from your psyche is an attempt to help you resolve the matter or get through a challenging situation.

WHY A DREAM TURNS INTO A NIGHTMARE. Most nightmares are simply mirrors of your internal fears and anxieties. Paradoxically, as the following reasons explain, it is those very fears and anxieties that “flip” a dream that is otherwise benign into a nightmare.

Think of a dream as a carriage transporting a needed insight about an important problem; the carriage is merely a vehicle for the helpful message. However, the topic of the dream terrifies you. The topic could be about a failing relationship or a career that is falling apart. Because of your terror, as you watch the carriage approach, the shadows of your fears make the carriage look scary. You do not notice the carriage is driven by your psyche, who approaches as a friend and just wants to help.

One way of coping with an anxiety or fear is to distance yourself from it—to push it away. This is a normal reaction. Yet the very act of distancing yourself from a scary topic that a dream may address is what “transforms” a normal dream image into a scary one. It is like a tasty dish that curdles, and your fear curdles the dream dish.

THERE ARE ONLY FRIGHTENED DREAMERS. Though it is natural to run from what scares you, the very act of doing so is what often creates a nightmare. That is why one way of looking at most nightmares is to say, “There are no scary dreams—only frightened dreamers.” If we could put aside all of our fears, there would be few nightmares or frightening dreams.

WHAT CAUSES NIGHTMARES. Mild to severe stress tends to be the main underlying cause of most frightening dreams.

• Daily Stress. Daily stress that ramps up your feelings is the most common reason behind a nightmare.

• Out-of-Control Fear and Anxiety. Like a wheel spinning out of control, negative emotions can unbalance your perceptions and lead to nightmares.

• Emotional Dissonance. The daily push-pull between competing feelings or choices is called “emotional dissonance.” If making a choice feels so unpalatable and impossible that no choice seems right, the pressure can drive you to the edge. This form of extreme anxiety, related to difficult or impossible choices, often invites nightmares.

• Physical or Mental Imbalance. Conditions like fever or depression can produce bad dreams. When the condition passes, the nightmares may disappear.

• Traumatic Events. Repeated bad dreams can happen after a painful event that leaves you feeling vulnerable, such as losing a loved one or the loss of a home after a natural disaster. As the psyche tries to digest the pain, the mind may replay the event as a nightmare. Such dreams are the psyche’s attempt to digest the painful feelings while you sleep. As a person heals and increases their coping skills, the bad dreams lessen and eventually disappear.

• The Nightmares of Those with an Artistic or Sensitive Temperament. Highly sensitive and creative individuals tune in more deeply to the world’s pain and suffering, and as a result, they often report nightmares. A man at a seminar shared his constant nightmares about war scenes and mangled bodies, even though he lived a normal life and worked as a bus driver. Digging deeper, he began to see that he was tuning in to the daily pain that he saw on the faces of his passengers. Witnessing their distress gave his sensitive heart emotional indigestion, which he experienced as frequent nightmares.

• Traumatic Stress. Those with a medical condition called post-traumatic stress disorder, such as combat veterans or rape victims, can have nightmares that are different in content and structure to regular nightmares. Experiencing extreme forms of trauma can produce nightmares that are more severe and that disrupt sleep cycles, which regular nightmares do not. While researching the nightmares of combat veterans, I created presleep stories as a sleep aid that attempts to restore the normal sleep cycles of combat veterans; details are available at InterpretADream.com.

NIGHTMARES: THREE TYPES

Like other dreams, nightmares can be distinguished by their origin and purpose. The most common nightmares engage your struggle to grow in character and personality. A few bad dreams deal with specific life fears, and fewer still predict actual tragic events.

1: The Most Common Type of Nightmare

A NIGHTMARE THAT UNVEILS A NEGATIVE CHARACTER TRAIT. Facing an unpleasant truth about yourself is never easy. Everyone glosses over shortcomings like anger, acting stupid, or failing at something, and no one wants to face a weakness. As a result, when a dream holds up a mirror about a trait that does not jive with your “I am great” image, your normal reaction is to say, “That can’t be me.” In colloquial terms, such nightmares expose your blind spots, which is an unpleasant experience for everyone.

For example, a man had a nightmare about a raging bull charging through his grocery store and wondered if the dream was a warning that vandals would soon raid his premises. Since most dreams are about you—the dreamer, he came to see that the bull was a metaphor for his short temper when dealing with employees. Seeing himself as an out-of-control bull was not easy, but the image produced the desired effect. The man softened his attitude and as a result, the atmosphere at the grocery store became more relaxed and as a bonus, his sales improved.

When a nightmare acts as a mirror of a not-so-great trait, it invites you to grow into a better version of yourself. After an initial “ouch,” you realize that the dream is an ally, helping you correct what could cause problems down the road.

2: A Scary Dream That You Meet Less Often

FRIGHTENING DREAMS THAT PORTRAY ACTUAL, SPECIFIC FEARS. One of the functions of dreaming is to process your emotions. When a fear gets out of hand, a nightmare that relates to that fear is the equivalent of a pressure cooker’s safety valve that allows the hot steam to escape. In this case, the experience of having the nightmare, in and of itself, becomes an outlet for your exploding feelings.

Acting like an emotional digestion system, fear-processing nightmares let you experience a fear as an external picture that your mind can examine and label. A “see it, name it, and label it” nightmare helps you digest your fear, and as a result, whatever tied you up in knots begins to unravel. Such nightmares handle actual fears, one piece at a time, until they disappear. You may encounter a sequence of nightmares during a time of enormous challenge such as a divorce or the sudden loss of a loved one. Then one day, a morning arrives when you feel a sense of peace. You do not know why you feel better, but you know you have turned a corner. Your dream digestion system—that you experienced as nightmares—has done its work.

Nightmares that deal with true fears come with a bonus. A bad dream that relates to a painful issue can include an insight about how to handle what frightens you. A woman kept dreaming of a terrified young girl who walks to the edge of a murky black pond in the middle of the night. As she is about to fall into the deep black water, she sees a light in the distance and becomes aware that the light can lead her to safety. Upon discussion, those images brought back memories of the dreamer’s terror of being raped as a young girl. The light in the distance made her realize that she could resolve the unexpressed pain that had been festering for years. Thanks to the dream’s metaphor of a distant light as a place of safety, the dreamer became aware that she needed a counselor who could help her confront the emotional leftovers of her childhood trauma.

3: Actual Warnings—A Rare Type of Frightening Dream

FRIGHTENING DREAMS AS TRUE WARNINGS. Most scary dreams are stress-related, a few may tussle with your actual fears, while a miniscule percent can be actual warnings about something dire. Nightmares can warn you about the possibility of a real tragedy that may involve death, serious illness, or a natural disaster—whether in your life, someone around you, or in your community. Or sometimes they are warnings about less serious matters.

LESS URGENT, YET TRUE WARNING DREAMS. Before examining frightening dreams that are dire warnings, let’s take a look at dreams that address issues which are not life threatening, yet still urgent. For example, a dream may give you a heads up about how your words hurtfully impacted another’s feelings that you missed, and as a painful issue, it becomes cloaked in scary images. Or, a dream may point out what will happen if you keep eating three desserts a day; seeing what you look like in a dream, with an extra fifty pounds on you, can be pretty scary. Or, a frightening dream may point out a topic such as an unpleasant relationship, that you have put on hold, which now needs attention. Because these less urgent issues deal with topics that make you anxious, the warning dream can still be experienced as a nightmare. Such not-so-dire warning dreams touch upon intense topics that are not life threatening, but can still intensely shake you up.

DREAM EXAMPLE: A FRIGHTENING DREAM ABOUT A NORMAL ISSUE—MY DAUGHTER IS IN A CAR CRASH. A mother dreamed that her daughter was in a car crash, and from a distance, she watched as her child was taken to the hospital. Afterward, a doctor announced that her daughter was okay. The dream felt so intense that the mother woke up terrified, fearing for her daughter’s safety. The mother brought up her dream at a conference. A conversation brought out how, at the time of the dream, her only daughter announced that she was about to relocate because her new husband had been transferred to a job a thousand miles away. Since mom and daughter had never lived more than a few streets apart, the mother experienced a nightmare that registered her shock and distress at the news. Nothing terrible had happened. The nightmare simply registered the mother’s reaction to the sudden, unexpected news of being separated from her daughter.

A TRUE WARNING NIGHTMARE ABOUT A POTENTIAL TRAGEDY. Though extremely rare, a nightmare can be a warning about an actual tragedy as a type of ESP dream, as in the following example.

DREAM EXAMPLE: A NIGHTMARE AS A TRUE WARNING—MY DAUGHTER IS IN A CAR CRASH. Another mother had several dreams that showed her only teenage daughter getting into a car with friends, then seeing the car in a deadly crash. Each time she had the dream, she debated whether to talk to her daughter about safe driving with her teenage friends but decided against it. Sadly, the repetitive dreams turned out to be an actual warning and she lost her only daughter. Meeting this woman at a seminar, I marveled at the grace with which the mother had resolved to learn about dreams, and to use future warnings for herself and loved ones. That took great courage.

Only the divine hand can know whether a tragedy foreshadowed in a dream can be averted. However, no matter how a predicted event turns out, such actual warning nightmares serve a constructive purpose. On the one hand, they give a dreamer time to build up their strength and cushion the shock of the actual event, if it comes about. On the other hand, according to stories exchanged in dream circles, such warning dreams can, at times, avert the real danger.

True dream warnings about dire events are extremely rare. They have noticeable features like repetition, intense emotions and literal details.

For more examples of nightmares and frightening dreams of every kind, have a look at the e-library of dreams at InterpretADream.com which is searchable by keyword.... A Little Bit Of Dreams

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A Little Bit Of Dreams

Science

Indicates feeling intellectually or mentally secure. What does knowledge mean to you? What does knowledge do for you? What are you doing with the knowledge you have? See University, White, Temple.... Little Giant Encyclopedia

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Little Giant Encyclopedia

Science

In general, science or scientists in your dream represent your analytical mind and may stand for your attempt to weigh and measure life, to discover its usefulness and, if practical science is highlighted, let you know how to apply what you have learned; science may, however, symbolize an intellectual and unfeeling attitude.

If you are attending a science fair in your dream, this suggests innovative thinking and possibilities. A scientific experiment in your dream signifies the need to consider your options and decide whether or not you want to move ahead with a particular plan. It may be suggesting that you need to adopt a reasoned and impartial approach to a challenge in your waking life.

If you find yourself busy inventing something in a laboratory in your dream, this suggests intellectual exploration and creativity.... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

Science

Knowledge or understanding.

A desire to understand something or how things work in nature, the world, yourself, or your life.

A desire to figure out why certain events happened the way they did, why a person said or did a certain thing, or how an action led to a particular result.

A characteristic associated with the particular science (such as archeology representing the idea of digging through layers of information to discover meaning).

Feeling particularly curious or having a lot of mental energy during the dream state.

See also: Chemistry; Laboratory; Therapist; Technology; Math... The Curious Dreamer’s Dream Dictionary

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The Curious Dreamer’s Dream Dictionary

Science Experiment

To dream that you are working on an experiment suggests that you need to be more daring and try something new and different. Take a chance. Also see “Scientist”, below.... My Dream Interpretation

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My Dream Interpretation

Science, Sleep And Dreams

In 1937 through the use of the electroencephalograph (EEG) measuring tiny electrical brain impulses, Loomis and his associates discovered that the form of brainwaves changes with the onset of sleep.

The next leap forward in understanding came when Aserinsky and Kleitman found rapid eye movements (REM) in 1953. In 1957 the REM were linked with dreaming. This defined sleep into two differ­ent observable states, REM sleep, and NREM (non-rapid eye movement or non-rem) sleep. Within NREM three different stages have been identified. These are defined by the different EEG patterns of electrical activity in the brain. They are mea­sured by the height (amplitude) of the brain waves and fre­quency of up and down movement. There are also electrical changes occurring in the muscles (measured using an electro- myograph or EMG), and in movement of the eyeballs (mea­sured using an electro-oculograph or EOG).

While awake the height is low and frequency fast. As we relax prior to sleep the EEG shifts to what are called alpha waves, at 8 to 12 cps (cycles per second). Stage one of sleep is the transition between this drowsy state of alpha waves to sleeping, in which theta waves occur, at 3 to 7 cps. In this first stage we experience random images and thoughts. This lasts about 10 minutes, followed by stage two, in which ‘sleep spindles’ occur which have 12 to 14 cps on the EEG. These last from 1/2 to 2 seconds, with K complexes following, which are slow large EEG waves. About half our sleep period is spent in this second stage of sleep. Deep sleep is reached when our brain exhibits delta waves, with 1/2 to 2 cps.

After approximately an hour and a half from falling into deep sleep, an exciting change occurs. We return to level two and REM occur. Suddenly the brain is alert and active, though the person is asleep and difficult to wake. This level has been called paradoxical sleep because of this fact. Voluntary mus­cular activity is suppressed and the body is essentially paralysed. Morrison has pointed out that, although the brain is transmitting full muscular activity messages, these are usu­ally suppressed by an area of the brain in the pons. But bursts of short actions occur, such as rapid eyeball jerks, twitches of the muscles, changes in the size of the pupil, contractions in the middle ear, and erection of the penis. It may be that similar excitation occurs in the vagina. Also, autonomic storms’ occur dunng which large erratic changes occur in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and in other auto­nomic nervous system functions. These are the changes ac­companying our dreams.

If we slept for eight hours, a typical pattern would be to pass into delta sleep, stay there for about 70 to 90 minutes, then return to stage two and dream for about five minutes. We then move back into delta sleep, stay for a short period and shift back to level two, but without dreaming, then back into level three.

The next return to stage two is longer, almost an hour, with a period of dreaming lasting about 19 minutes, and also a short period of return to waking. There is only one short period of return to stage three sleep which occurs nearly four hours after falling asleep. From there on we remain in level two sleep, with three or four lengthening periods of dreaming, and returns to brief wakefulness.

The average amount of body shifting is once every 15 minutes.

1- In undergoing 205 hours of sleep deprivation, four healthy males showed various physiological and psychological changes. Some of these were headache, lack of concentra­tion, hallucination, memory loss, tremor and, in some, paranoia. In all cases one night’s sleep restored normal functioning.

2- One in ten people who complain of excessive daytime drowsiness suffer from sleep apnoea, which is a stoppage of breathing while asleep.

3- A condition called narcolepsy causes sufferers to fall asleep at inappropriate times—while making love, walk­ing, playing tennis, working.

4- As we age we usually sleep less. Our REM sleep in partic­ular decreases sharply. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Space And Science

Outer space represents the ultimate in mystery, challenge and unexplored potential in dreams as much as in waking life.

This general interpretation is reinforced by the well-known expression ’to reach for the stars’—or to strive to achieve your ambition—and if your dream focused on one particular star or plant, your dreaming mind may have been attempting to bring your aspirations to your attention. The sun, the moon and the stars are traditionally thought to influence a person’s destiny and, according to Western astrology, the Zodiac sign under which you were born, derived from the position of the stars and planets at the time of your birth, is thought to influence your character and the direction of your life.

Jung associated different archetypes with specific planets and believed that birth charts would generate archetypal images telling him something about the subject of the chart. He frequently looked at the birth charts of his patients with the assumption that the symbols in the charts made suggestions to him from the collective unconscious about that person’s psyche. Whether you believe in the principles of astrology or not, your unconscious may have tapped into these ancient associations, which is why it is always worth considering them when interpreting your dreams. See also MIND, BODY, SPIRIT.

Space, The Final Frontier... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

The History And Science Of Nightmares

In ancient times, nightmares were thought to be caused by evil spirits. The word, in fact, derives from a Scandinavian legend in which a ‘nacht-mara’—the ‘mara’ being a female demon—came and sat on the sleeper’s chest at night, leaving him with a heavy, suffocating sensation of being awake but paralyzed. Nightmares have been known to inspire great artists: John Henry Fuseli’s 1781 painting ‘The Nightmare’ caused a sensation with its depiction of an incubus crouching on the body of a sleeping woman. John Newton—a slave trader and the composer of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’—became an abolitionist after a nightmare in which he saw ‘all of Europe consumed in a great raging fire’ whilst he was the captain of a slave ship. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was inspired, in part, by a nightmare. Elias Howe, who invented the sewing machine, came up with the breakthrough concept of a needle with a hole at the pointed end after he had a nightmare in which jungle warriors brandished spears that had holes in their blades.

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

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The Element Encyclopedia

The Science Of Dreams

We typically spend more than two hours each night dreaming but there is much that scientists do not know about how or why we dream.

Freud, who greatly influenced the field of psychology, believed dreaming to be a ’safety valve’ for unconscious desires, but it was not until the 1950s that scientists were able to study sleep and dreaming and come to some of their own conclusions.

In 1953, Eugene Aserinsky of the University of Chicago noticed that the eyes of sleeping babies moved beneath their eyelids at certain regular intervals. This led to the discovery of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep periods, which occur at roughly sixty to ninety minute intervals throughout the night, and contain the dreams that are the most vivid and most often remembered. Since then, EEG recordings that monitor brain activity during sleep have been used to map the various stages of sleep. Scientists soon realized that the strange, illogical experiences we call dreams almost always occur during REM sleep. Whilst most mammals and birds show signs of REM sleep, reptiles and other cold-blooded animals do not. REM sleep begins with signals from an area at the base of the brain called the pons. These signals travel to a brain region called the thalamus, which relays them to the cerebral cortex—the outer layer of the brain that is responsible for learning, thinking and organizing information. The pons also sends signals that shut off neurons in the spinal cord, causing temporary paralysis of the limb muscles.

If something interferes with this paralysis, people will begin to physically ’act out’ their dreams—a rare, dangerous problem called REM sleep behavior disorder.

REM sleep stimulates the brain regions used in learning. This may be important for normal brain development during infancy, which would explain why infants spend much more time in REM sleep than adults.

Like deep sleep, REM sleep is associated with an increased production of proteins. One study found that REM sleep affects the learning of certain mental skills. People taught a skill and then deprived of non-REM sleep could recall what they had learned after sleeping, whilst people deprived of REM sleep could not.

Some scientists believe dreams are the cortex’s attempt to find meaning in the random signals that it receives during REM sleep. The cortex is the part of the brain that interprets and organizes information from the environment during consciousness. It may be that, given random signals from the pons during REM sleep, the cortex tries to interpret these signals as well, creating a ’story’ out of fragmented brain activity.... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia