I was doing some research about children’s nightmares and came across this article from the Medical News Today
I though you might find it interesting if you, like I was 3 years ago, are struggling to find some answers to help your kids.
My eldest son Sidney experienced nightmares and night terrors for about a year, but now that we are Monster Spraying and using the Essential Oils it has been 2 years since his last one!
My child lives a very happy, carefree life, but with exposure to troubling current world issues and family’s in crisis on the news, youtube & being discussed at home, you just don’t know what your precious little one is anxious, worried or frightened of.
You can’t know what they are imagining and sometimes they can’t tell you.
Sometimes it takes a book or a character to help them open up. Mum’s Marvellous Monster Spray has worked for us & many other kids – Try it, you will be surprised at the results.
If you & your kids are struggling with bad dreams, night terrors and nightmares & would like some help please check out my website & social media pages
What are bad dreams and nightmares?
A nightmare is a distressing dream that usually forces at least partial awakening. The dreamer may feel any number of disturbing emotions in a nightmare, such as anger, guilt, sadness or depression, but the most common feelings are fear and anxiety.
Nightmares can cause distressing emotions and can be especially disturbing for children.
Bad dreams, or nightmares are common in both adults and children. They can be caused by:
- Emotional issues
- Medication or drug use
Children who live in an environment in which their physical and psychological well-being is constantly threatened should then have a highly activated dream production and threat simulation system, whereas children living in a safe environment that is relatively free of such threat cues should have a weakly activated system.
Results of a study with dream reports from severely traumatized and less traumatized Kurdish children and ordinary, non-traumatized Finnish children showed that severely traumatized children reported a significantly greater number of dreams, with their dreams including a higher number of threatening dream events. The dream threats of traumatized children were also more severe in nature than the threats of less traumatized or non-traumatized children.80
A study of 190 normal school children aged 4 to 12 years reported the following forms of anxiety symptoms:
- Fears – 75.8%
- Worries – 67.4%
- Scary dreams – 80.5%.
Fears of scary dreams were common among children aged 4-6 years old, becoming even more prominent in 7- to 9-year-olds and then decreasing in frequency for 10- to 12-year-olds.
Types of fears, worries, and dreams were found to change across age groups, with fears and scary dreams relating to imaginary creatures decreasing with age. In contrast, worries about test performance increased with age.95
Findings from dream reports of 610 boys and girls recalling disturbing and normal dreams at both 13 and 16 years of age highlights how a prevalence of disturbing dreams is especially marked for adolescent girls. Frequent recall of disturbing dreams is associated with pathological symptoms of trait anxiety, even in girls as young as 13 years of age.93
Conditions that increase nightmares
Certain conditions appear to increase the frequency of nightmares in individuals such as:
- Migraine: recurrent dreams featuring complex visual imagery, often terrifying nightmares, can occur as migraine aura symptoms.94 The brain of migraineurs seems to dream with some peculiar features, all with a negative connotation, as fear and anguish.18
- Sleep apnea: patients with sleep apnea have more emotionally negative dreams than sleepy snorers.50
- Depression: frequent nightmares are associated with suicidal tendency in patients with major depression.98
What are night terrors/sleep terrors?
Night terrors are very different from nightmares. The behavior of a child experiencing night terrors may feature:
- Thrashing around
- Jumping out of bed
- Inability to recognize parents trying to comfort them.
Night terrors occur on waking abruptly from deep NREM sleep, whereas nightmares are thought to occur during REM sleep.
It is estimated that approximately 1-6% of children in the US experience sleep terror at some point in their childhood. It is common in children aged between 3-12 years. Children are not fully awake in these episodes, even if their eyes are open, and usually have no memory of the event the next day.
The episodes usually occur in the early part of the night and can continue for several minutes (up to 15 minutes).
Night terrors are more common in children with a family history of night terrors or sleepwalking behavior.
A night terror attack may be triggered by anything that:
- Increases how much deep sleep the child has, such as tiredness, fever or certain types of medication.
- Makes the child more likely to wake from deep sleep, such as excitement, anxiety or sudden noise.
Most children will eventually grow out of night terrors.
Studies of twin cohorts and families with sleep terror and sleepwalking suggest genetic involvement of parasomnias (a category of sleep disorders that involve abnormal movements, behaviors, emotions, perceptions, and dreams that occur while falling asleep, sleeping, between sleep stages, or during arousal from sleep).
Restless leg syndrome and sleep-disordered breathing have been shown to have familial recurrence. Restless leg syndrome has been shown to have genetic involvement.117
Night terrors have also been linked to enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
What are recurring dreams?
A recurring dream is a type of dream that occurs on a regular basis when we sleep.
A study of 212 recurrent dreams that were scored using a slightly expanded version of the Dream Threat rating scale showed:74
- 66% of the recurrent dream reports contained one or more threats. The threats tended to be dangerous and aimed at the dreamer. When facing a threat, the dreamer tended to take defensive or evasive actions that were possible and reasonable.
- Less than 15% of the recurrent dreams depicted realistic and probable situations that were critical for physical survival or reproductive success. During these dreams, the dreamer rarely succeeded in fleeing the threat despite important and appropriate efforts.
These findings provide mixed support for the threat simulation theory.74
Research indicates that recurrent dreams in adults are associated with poor psychological well-being. Authors of a study hypothesized that children reporting recurrent dreams would also show poorer psychosocial adjustment than children without recurrent dreams.
In an examination of dream reports and measures of psychosocial adjustment in 168 children aged 11:61
- 35% of children reported having experienced a recurrent dream during the past year.
- Boys reporting recurrent dreams reported significantly higher scores for reactive aggression than those who did not.
What are lucid dreams?
Lucid dreaming is a rare state of sleep in which the dreamer gains insight into their state of mind during dreaming; a dream in which the dreamer knows they are dreaming is deemed to be a lucid dream.
Research has shown that lucid dreaming is accompanied by an increased activation of parts of the brain that are normally suppressed during sleep.
A German study revealed significantly increased brain activity during lucid dreams. An EEG machine recorded frequencies in the 40 Hz (or GAMMA) range in lucid dreamers. This is far higher than the normal dream state (THETA range, or 4-7 Hz).
The researchers also saw heightened activity in the frontal and frontolateral areas of the brain – the seat of linguistic thought as well as other higher mental functions linked to self-awareness. This supports the theory that lucid dreaming is a unique state of consciousness separate from any other mental state.111
Recent EEG and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data found that cortical areas activated during lucid dreaming show striking overlap with brain regions that are impaired in psychotic patients lacking insight into their pathological state.103
Lucid dreams usually occur while a person is in the middle of a regular dream and suddenly realizes that they are dreaming.
Results of a study focusing on the distribution of lucid dreams in school children and young adults found:6
- Lucid dreaming is quite pronounced in young children
- Incidence rate of lucid dreaming drops at about age 16 years
- Increased lucidity was found in those attending higher level compared with lower level schools.
The study authors proposed a link between the natural occurrence of lucid dreaming and brain maturation.