We dream during both REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. The types of dreams vary between and among both in quality and quantity.
Antidepressant and smoking cessation drugs increase dream intensity and can create nightmares.
For people undergoing psychotherapy, changes in frequency and content of repetitive dream themes can reflect the patient’s clinical progress or deterioration.
Recall of dreams is increased in people with insomnia.
People with sleep disorders have dreams that reflect their awake experiences such as stressors. Sleep apnea patients rarely report nightmares or dreams of suffocating although they actually are.
For people with PTSD, their dreams often have the replay of the actual traumatic event.
Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine-Myer Kryger
Write down any memorable, recurring dreams. Keeping a record will help you see if there is a pattern that points to a possible health issue. Throughout the day our brain is receiving information for all over our bodies. If there is a problem, this information may be suppressed to deal with more “in the moment” stimuli.
· Suffering from arrhythmia… A study in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine found an association between frequent nightmares and an irregular heartbeat and spasmodic chest pain. These symptoms can also be a by-product of declining estrogen levels during the menopausal years
· Suffering from a breathing disorder… Patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea have been found to have a higher incidence of negative dreams than those who are simply snorers.
· Hypoglycemic… Along with headaches, irritability and poor coordination, nightmares may be a symptom of severely low blood sugar, which can be caused by diabetes, medication or diet.
· Reacting to medication… Antibiotics, beta-blockers, narcotics and barbiturates are all known to trigger nightmares, as can excessive alcohol or illegal drugs.
Good Health (Australia Edition). Mar2014, p44-47