What happens in the brain that triggers nightmares?

I'm doing a project in psychology and I need too know anything and everything on why/how people have nightmares. Its for a 5 page essay type ordeal. Good websites would also help greatly! THANXX!XOXOX-Chantel

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One Answer to “What happens in the brain that triggers nightmares?”

  1. decarbonizer says:

    Not trying to bust your metaphorical balls over here, but nightmares aren’t really caused by a distinct mechanism. Dreams are thought to be a way for the body to consolidate recent memories so they can become somewhat more permanent but even this is uncertain. There are things which can increase the likeliness of having a nightmare, things like eating right before sleep, stress, depression, etc. A 5 page essay about something without a distinct biological mechnism might be tricky, but of course you could always lay it out like: introduce the topic, dream background info, then speak about the history of nightmares, then about different theories on nms, then things which might increase their occurrence, then nightmare disorders (sleep paralysis, sleep terror, etc) and wrap it up finally.”Dreams are a series of images, sounds and feelings occurring in the mind during sleep, accompanied with rapid eye movement. Dreams typically last in the range of 5 to 45 minutes. The contents and biological purposes of dreams are not fully understood, though they have been a topic of speculation and interest throughout recorded history. The scientific study of dreams is known as oneirology.A nightmare is a dream which causes a strong unpleasant emotional response from the sleeper, typically fear or horror, being in situations of extreme danger, or the sensations of pain, bad events, falling, drowning or death. If a person has experienced a psychologically traumatic situation in life—for example, a person who may have been captured and tortured—the experience may come back to haunt them in their nightmares. Sleepers may waken in a state of distress and be unable to get back to sleep for some time. Eating before bed, which triggers an increase in the body’s metabolism and brain activity, is another potential stimulus for nightmares.Studies of dreams have found that about three quarters of dream content or emotions are negative.[6]One definition of “nightmare” is a dream which causes one to wake up in the middle of the sleep cycle and experience a negative emotion, such as fear. This type of event occurs on average once per month. They are not common in children under 5, more common in young children (25% experiencing a nightmare at least once per week), most common in adolescents, and less common in adults (dropping in frequency about one-third from age 25 to 55).[6]Fearfulness in waking life is correlated with the incidence of nightmares.[6]“