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Recurring Nightmares Possibly Linked to Oversleeping

October 19, 2017


Haunted by nightmares? It could be linked to oversleeping

If you have a tendency to wake up in a cold sweat after vivid dreams of falling off a cliff, pitching up to work starkers or arriving at school to write a test you haven't opened a book for, it might be time to give the snooze button a miss. A scientific inquiry has found that getting more than 9 hours' sleep per night is linked to nightmares.

Up until recently, the only real research regarding nightmares was focussed on the kind that people get after significantly traumatic events. This type is normally linked to conditions like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). However, one researcher at the University of Oxford, Stephanie Rek, was not satisfied with this status quo. So, along with her colleagues, she set out to conduct the most ambitious nightmare study ever. This involved researching the occurrence of nightmares by surveying a group of 800+ participants who were asked to provide information regarding their sleep patterns, lifestyle, propensity for anxious thoughts and the frequency at which they experienced nightmares.

Up until this point in time, it was assumed that nightmares are directly linked to worried thoughts prior to sleep, which is in line with the generally accepted notion that our dreams reflect our true waking experiences. However, the study revealed that there is a link between sleeping more than 9 hours per night and a high occurrence of nightmares. This led the researchers to believe that it could be linked to recurring REM sleep cycles, which would naturally occur during a longer sleeping period. This, in turn, opened the door on a chicken-or-egg argument: were people sleeping more because they were having interrupted sleep due to nightmares, which lead to daytime worries; or were their daytime worries causing nightmares and interrupted sleep? Currently, the jury is still out on which side will eventually win out - there is a lot more research to be done, and the odds are that more contributing factors will be uncovered along the way.

The underlying causal relationship between oversleeping and nightmares is yet to be sufficiently pinned down, but in the meantime, you can do yourself a favour by tailoring your sleeping environment to facilitate quality sleep. Sleep experts recommend a fully darkened room, a slightly cooler temperature and a mattress that conforms to your comfort levels. For some people, this means quite a firm mattress, while others prefer a softer sleep surface. Find your comfort level and pave the way to a restful night’s sleep with Bed King.


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