The researcher explains: Night terrors and nightmares

News24 have talked to Christian Benedict, associate professor of neuroscience at Uppsala University, who is one of the authors behind the book: Sleep sleep sleep. He helps to find out why we dream nightmares and whether to wake someone who dreams something unpleasant.

Nightmares are like sleep paralysis, as Nyheter24 previously wrote about, a form of parasomnia.

Should you wake someone who is asleep or dreaming?

We often hear that you should absolutely not wake anyone who goes to sleep, as Benedict explains is when we are in deep sleep, as we are very disconnected from our surroundings.

It is mostly to not scare or confuse the sleepwalker, and the best thing is simply to calmly lead the person back to bed.

But what if you sleep next to someone who seems to be dreaming something really nasty?

– It’s an interesting question! For a long time we thought we turned off our surroundings while we slept. But during dream sleep, we are actually quite receptive to external impressions, Benedict explains.

Therefore, it may be a good idea to gently stroke or pat the dreamer, rather than shake the person. It does not wake the person, but hopefully creates a sense of security.

He explains that if we shake the person who is dreaming, or the like, it can instead create more panic as the touch risks fitting in with what happens in the nightmare.

If someone goes to sleep, it is better to lead the person back to bed. Photo: Pexels

What to do when children have night terrors?

The parasomnias that are dream sleep-related, such as sleep paralysis, occur more often when we are older. But parasomnias that occur during sleep phases other than dream sleep often occur early in life, such as walking and talking in your sleep or night terrors.

In children, it is common to have recurring intense nightmares during dream sleep. Benedict gives the tip to talk to his children about the nightmare and write them down with a different course of events.

– If you repeat this, it is actually the case that they create an awareness during sleep, and feel the pattern. Then when the nightmare is started, they remember what they wrote about, and can steer the dream in a different direction.

Christian Benedict, associate professor of neuroscience, sorts out all the question marks surrounding nightmares. Photo: Stefan Tell / Bonnier

Why do we dream nightmares?

There are several factors that can be behind often dreaming nightmares. Benedict explains that people who have experienced trauma often have recurring nightmares, but even a move or a time with very new impressions can evoke it, which children often get almost daily.

– It is something that the brain tries to process, but also a way to disconnect these emotional impressions from the experience itself. But there is no guarantee that it works with sleep, says Christian Benedict.


Source: nyheter24.se by nyheter24.se.

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