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Are nightmares normal? Should I wake someone who is having a bad dream?

January 5th, 2008 | Posted by Ruthanna in General

We all have “nightmares” occasionally… dreams in which we feel terrified or dreams that leave us upset or distraught. But only because we don’t understand them at first. Now, here’s a new thought for you. Nightmares are not always bad. Stop and think. Yes, it was scary or frightening, but more importantly what was it trying to tell you? You see, that is the question. Don’t get all caught up in the emotion. Don’t be too quick to label it “bad.” Instead, ask yourself, “what was it trying to tell me?” Stress could very well be the cause; or interwoven within all the emotion may very well be an important message. The emotion was necessary to get your attention! It did, yes? Now, ask the wisdom within you (God, the Holy Spirit) for the understanding or interpretation. Listen and Learn.

Here’s some additional insight provided by David Kahn, PhD researcher and instructor at Harvard University Medical School, Boston, and chair of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. www.asdreams.org

“Nightmares are very normal. They usually don’t suggest any mental or physical problem, although occasionally they may be related to stress.”

“Science really has no answer as to whether it’s better to wake someone who is having a nightmare or let him sleep. My personal feeling is that it’s best to let the person sleep because when we’re dreaming, we’re in the rapid eye movement (REM) stage. You don’t want to deprive people of REM sleep, which is an important stage in our sleep cycle. If you’re a parent and just can’t stand to see your child upset during a nightmare, it’s okay to wake him gently.”

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