Nightmares are pretty much the same as dreams: they happen when we are asleep, and our subconscious minds conjure them up. Except, what sets nightmares apart from dreams, is the fact that nightmares are never happy experiences. Instead, they are always dark, scary, and maybe even evil in nature. And, nightmares can be so disturbing that they often wake us up suddenly from our sleep. When we do wake up from having a nightmarish dream, we are usually nervous, scared, or shaken up. Our hearts are racing and it’s difficult to fall back asleep.
Children are thought to experience nightmares more than adults do. Children around the ages of three to five are the most susceptible to these nighttime scares. Stressful events such as being left alone, watching a monster movie on television, being in the dark, etc, can easily create fears in a young child. The stress and fears can then manifest into a nightmare.
Nightmares can typically be classified into four categories. That is, there are four usual themes to our nightmares. Either we are being chased, we are falling, we are being attacked, or, we are stuck.
No matter which theme your nightmare follows, experts say that our nightmares are caused by stress in our lives. Experience a traumatic experience or a stress situation, and you’re likely to have a nightmare about it.
The experts also say that nightmares are “red flags” from our subconscious minds. Something is wrong in our lives. Therefore, our subconscious minds are trying to alert us to the fact that we have an unresolved problem. A nightmare is the mind’s way of bringing the problem to our attention so we can resolve it in real life.
So, although these nighttime experiences aren’t pleasant, if you analyze your nightmares, you may be able to find out how to stop from having them. For example, if you have a nightmare where you are falling, it can mean that you’re worried. The falling in your nightmare may represent you inner need to feel free and unburdened. If you have a scary dream where you are trapped, you may feel “trapped” in real life.
Another example is a dream that you can’t move your body in, or that you can only move in slow motion, this could represent your feelings that your life is stuck in a rut. If you can’t speak in your nightmares, this could mean that you feel you can’t express your inner feelings.
One of the most popular nightmares that people have is one in which they are naked or not fully dressed in public. Having nothing to do with sexuality or the love of streaking, these nightmares usually mean we feel unprepared or are “not up to par”. And, we’re afraid that other people will see our inadequacies. Since the others in a dream such as this don’t notice our nakedness, this means that we are looking at ourselves in a way that nobody else is.
So, nightmares are not really terrifying experiences that are conjured up by our subconscious in order to scare the hell out of us. Instead, they are our mind’s way of alerting us to a problem we have. Our subconscious mind is telling us that we have a problem that needs to be resolved. Or, that the steps we are taking to try and end the problem aren’t working. Therefore, we need to rethink the problem and come up with a new way to solve it. Once the problem in your daily life is solved, your nightmares should end.