"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Why do our minds scare us with nightmares?

Why do our minds make us hate nightmares? – Niamh, 8, Newcastle.

Great query, Niamh.

It could be very common to be afraid of dreams. But our brains haven't any secret plan to scare us with nightmares.

In the old days, many individuals believed that dreams were a window to a different world. People lived two separate lives: one within the waking world and the opposite within the dream world.

They believed that the world of dreams was a mixture of past and future, gods and goddesses, and helped people find the aim of their lives. These dreams often reveal latest people and concepts, which explains why some people find them frightening. Others saw them as an indication or prophecy from the gods.

The dream catcher is a Native American invention used to guard people while they sleep.
bsheets/flickr, CC BY-NC

When scientists first studied dreams, about 200 years ago, they believed that dreams were a special type of story told by the mind itself. Scientists believed that it's a special language where thoughts and feelings are explained through signs and symbols. In this dream state, different parts of the brain will communicate with other parts.

If your own home was damaged, for instance, this was imagined to represent the dreamer, and the mind was attempting to let you know that you just or your ego was damaged. Dr. Sigmund Freud, considered by many to be the founding father of psychoanalysis, wrote a really famous book about dreams called “Interpretation of dreams“In 1900.

Sigmund Freud wrote a really famous book about dreams called The Interpretation of Dreams.
Wikimedia Commons

About 100 years ago, people began to know things higher using science and technology. This led to a unique way of understanding why things occur. But that doesn't mean that what other people considered dreams was necessarily improper.

According to scientists, there are two primary varieties of sleep, and dreams occur during a stage called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

REM sleep is after we are more than likely to dream. It's called REM because people sweep their eyes backwards and forwards rapidly during sleep.

If you watch cats or dogs sleep, you'll sometimes see their eyes moving and their paws twitching. This indicates that they're in REM sleep and should be dreaming. But we don't really know what cats and dogs dream about because they will't tell us.

The other vital form of sleep is non-REM sleep, called deep sleep or Slow Wave Sleep (SWS). In this sort, people sleep very deeply. But they typically don't report dreaming. If you are attempting to wake them up, they are sometimes lethargic and confused.

For the past 50 years, some scientists have believed that dreaming is the brain's decision about what to maintain and what to throw away every day. In a way, it's like cleansing your room: your brain decides what it's worthwhile to know and throws the unimportant stuff into the bin.

Scientists consider that it is usually difficult for young people to differentiate between the waking and dream worlds Confuse the two.

Filmmakers have brought this confusion to the screen again and again over time. There are many movies about how dreams can scare and confuse us.

As you possibly can see, many individuals wonder why dreams are scary. The truth is, we don't know needless to say.

What we do know is that each one people dream, and all people think that dreams could be strange, scary, and disturbing at times. We all share the power to dream. Warm-blooded animalsso it likely plays a vital role in keeping us healthy.

I doubt that everybody tries to know their dreams – even scientists. But we still can't see inside another person's mind to see what they're dreaming. And that's probably a great thing.