How to get rid of nightmares: 4 rules of healthy sleep

How to get rid of nightmares: 4 rules of healthy sleep

Photo: Alexander Kalinkin

- There is an opinion that at night our brain "rests" and works less actively. But actually it is not. During sleep, especially in certain phases of it, brain activity can be significantly higher than during wakefulness. A recently published article in the journal Science only confirms this. It says that while we sleep, our brain is cleansed - the number of metabolites removed from the perivascular spaces of the brain (the spaces surrounding the vessels of the brain) increases dramatically.

In addition, scientists have proved that during sleep, the higher parts of the nervous system interact with internal organs. At this time, the brain receives information from them, analyzes it and restores. That is why sleep determines the physical and mental health of a person.

Our brain is constantly changing, but first of all it happens when we sleep. After all, it is during sleep that the two most important processes occur: the process of consolidation and reconsolidation of memory - information is transferred from temporary memory to permanent and vice versa.

That is, every night in our brain there is a complete morphological (or structural) restructuring.

How to get rid of nightmares: 4 rules of healthy sleep

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Dreams are the phenomenon that is characteristic of almost every person. People who claim that they don’t see dreams do not dissemble - they simply don’t remember them. Dreams have no functional purpose - this is the processing and analysis of information received over the entire previous life.

It is believed that we remember everything that happens to us, but not all of this can be reproduced. So dreams are such echoes of the information received and its integration with the information that comes from the internal organs during sleep. The nature of dreams can be determined by diseases of the internal organs, mental pathology, or the usual physiological processes, such as urination, pain, muscle cramps and headaches - we often observe how the nature of dreams changes in people who have some kind of sleep pathology.

- Blind people from birth do not see visual images (maximum - dark spots). Since their brain receives information about the world from the sounds that they hear, their dreams are mostly auditory.

Dreams do not come from somewhere outside, from the other world or from space, this is information obtained through various senses. The brain works with this information - changes it or strongly transforms it. As for nightmares, they are most often seen in people with acute post-traumatic stress disorder. Stress associated with life-threatening, physical abuse, or the death of loved ones often causes nightmares.

The expression "sleep heals" is largely due to the fact that during memory reconsolidation - when it goes from permanent to temporary and vice versa - there is a partial or complete loss of information.

That is why, over time, nightmares tend to fade away. However, the stress level is so great that this information is stored for a very long time - months and years. It is difficult for a person to get rid of nightmares on his own and in some cases he needs professional help and therapy.

How to get rid of nightmares: 4 rules of healthy sleep

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Nightly fears and nightmares are not the same thing.

Nightly fears are observed mainly in the slow-wave sleep - in its deep phases. A person can rush about in bed, scream, cry. But if you try to wake him in this state, most likely he will not remember anything - neither dreams, nor what caused this reaction. Closer to the morning, a paradoxical or fast sleep begins to prevail - nightmares are just typical for him, after waking up a person usually remembers them very well and can describe them in detail. Previously, it was believed that all dreams occur precisely in this phase of sleep - the rapid movements of the eyes, which are characteristic of this phase, were explained by tracking images.

However, later it turned out that about 60% of dreams are observed in paradoxical fast sleep, and about 40% in slow, wave sleep. It is worth noting that nightmares and nightly fears relate to parasomnias - sleep disorders.

Once-nightly nightmares can be associated with experienced stress. Some, for example, many years after graduation, dream of passing exams - the stress was so great that they remembered this situation very well. The brain during sleep, apparently, tests and checks various parts of the brain - it updates and rewrites the information so that the person retains experience.

How to get rid of nightmares: 4 rules of healthy sleep

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To dream, especially from the dream books, makes no sense - everyone has their own unique symbolism. For example, a person dreams of a white closet. For some, this closet is associated with work in a medical facility, for someone he stood in the bedroom as a child, and someone saw a film with that name. The nature of the dream is largely determined by somatic and mental health.

So, with some sleep disorders, especially in the presence of narcolepsy, a disease characterized by severe daytime sleepiness, patients see colorful and very realistic dreams that can be described in detail.

Someone in a dream visits other planets, someone experiences a sensation of levitation. In many ways, such dreams are associated with the peculiarity of the interaction of the brain and proprioreceptors - receptors that determine the position of the body in space. This feature leads to the emergence of various specific sensations, including the sensation of flight.

In addition, a person can see dreams without closing his eyes.

We call this the penetration of waking dreams - the discoordination between the state of sleep and those processes that occur in the body at this time. In fact, a person for a split second sees hallucinations, which he often takes for a mental disorder. And since hallucinations are indeed characteristic of many mental illnesses, the task of the somnologist is to figure out their true causes.

  1. Make sure your sleep is regular. Falling asleep and waking up should be at the same time.

    This is important for maintaining a healthy body.

  2. Do not abuse alcohol and smoking.
  3. Do not overeat or go to bed hungry.
  4. Try to avoid stress and limit the flow of negative information - do not watch TV before going to bed, better read an interesting book.

Frequent nightmares are a sign of either post-traumatic stress disorder, or somatic or mental pathology.

And here it is important not to guess from the dream book, but to turn to a specialist - to the

doctor-somologist

. It is not necessary to record dreams - there is no functional purpose in them.

.

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