do dreams affect how well we sleep
Although falling asleep quickly is important, staying asleep is just as important, if not more so. A good mattress and pillow are crucial when you’re trying to fall asleep, as are many other variables, but what about the way you dream? Do dreams have any effect on your quality of sleep, and if so, what can you do about it?
Most experts agree that for the most part, dreams have neither a positive nor a negative effect on your sleep quality, but there is one exception – nightmares. Nightmares can make falling asleep much more difficult, as well as more difficult to move between sleep cycles, which means you won’t be getting sleep that is as productive as it usually is. This, in turn, can cause you to have some of the symptoms of lack of sleep, including drowsiness, irritability, and many others.
Dreams and Your Sleeping Habits
When it comes to dream and sleep issues, just know that there are actually two types of bad dream disturbances, including night terrors and nightmares. If you notice someone thrashing or groaning in the middle of their sleep, it is likely a night terror and not a nightmare. Night terrors are more common in children, and they won’t wake up when they’re having one, even though the thrashing can last up to 30 minutes. They are caused by negative dreams that happen during non-REM sleep.
Nightmares are also negative dreams but they happen during REM sleep and cause the person to wake up suddenly and abruptly. Nightmares can happen to people of any age, and the more sleep-deprived you are, the more likely you are to have nightmares. Both night terrors and nightmares can be physically and emotionally draining on the person suffering with them, and they can affect your quality of sleep because they can cause you to have trouble falling back to sleep and because nightmares occur during REM sleep, which is the deepest type of sleep.
Dreams Won’t Change Your Sleep Structure
Dreams don’t change your sleep structure as a general rule, but if that dream turns into a nightmare, it can interrupt your REM sleep and cause a major disruption in your sleep pattern. Not only can it make falling back to sleep a lot more difficult, but it can cause you to be apprehensive about falling asleep the next night because you might be afraid the same thing is going to happen. In addition, studies on the effect of dreams on quality sleep have proven that bad dreams can make you a lot less excited about what is going to happen in your life the following day, because nightmares tend to follow us around for at least a few days afterward.
Everyone dreams every night, even if we don’t remember our dreams, but it’s good to know that with the exception of nightmares, our dreams won’t directly affect our quality of sleep, whether they’re good or bad. A dream can be negative without being a nightmare, but nightmares can disrupt the sleep cycle and make a good night’s sleep harder to get, which is never a good thing.