Photomontage of a child in bed dreaming of Santa Claus. CREDIT:Wiki Commons/ US Library of Congress Prints and Photographs (Unknown Author)
Do dreams have any meaning? People try to understand them for many purposes. A recent report of Daily Mail suggested that experts believe a person's dream may reveal something about his health.
The report revealed scientists believe that a dream can disclose clues about people's health and the possible occurrence of an illness even before the physical symptoms emerge.
Here are some forms of dreams and what they reveal about our health:
The occurrence of nightmares could be due to heart conditions, migraine, sleep deprivation and beta blockers. According to Professor Jim Horne from the Loughborough University, blood pressure drugs can cause nightmares.
A study of 6,000 people, published in Netherlands Journal of Medicine, has revealed it could be a sign of a faulty heart. Another study revealed that it could be due to a looming migraine as disclosed by analyzing 37 migraine patients. This may also be caused by less sleep as explained by Dr. Nicholas Oscroft of the Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. Less sleep can trigger sleep paralysis.
Dreams About Being Attacked
According to Dr. Oscroft, these kinds of dreams are early signs of Alzheimer's disease. These dreams may be experienced about 10 years before other symptoms surface.
"It can be the first symptom we see, I warn people diagnosed with this to look out for other warning signs of neurological disease, such as tremors or memory loss, as this will enable them to get early treatment," Oscroft said.
Dreaming More Than Usual
When a person dreams more than what he usually does, the roots of the symptom could be brought by hormonal changes, chronic pains or getting too hot or cold at night.
According to Prof. Horne when a person feels too hot or cold in between the sleep, it can cause him to dream too much and the dreams are easily remembered.
Hormonal changes or pain during periods and other times can also cause dreaming more than usual. A person tends to wake up in between the sleep which means that she will remember the dream.
Oscroft added few sleepless nights or nights with very little sleep would also result in a night full of vivid dreams.
Dreams That Wake You Early
Eating fattening meals, being overweight can cause body to release acid. This acid reflux can lead to dreams that may wake you early.
Prof. Horne said depression and stress lead to early dreams but the reasons are unknown.
Memorable or Bizarre Dreams
We often dream about strange things while sleeping. But they may be caused by alcohol or thriving infection. Also, it can be caused by anti-malarial pills or menopause.
When alcohol's effects start to fade off it may affect the brain chemicals causing strange dreams.
Being under the weather can also cause a surreal half-sleep, half-awake state, triggering bizarre dreams, Dr Patrick McNamara, a neurologist from Boston University Medical School, said.
"Any infection increases the amount of slow-wave sleep we have, however, this delays the starting point of when we enter dreaming sleep, so dreaming sleep starts late, and can erupt into consciousness. This leads to vivid dreams and strange hallucinations," McNamara added.
Also, he explained that medications can also cause dreams that could be strange to a person.
Prof Horne noted women find their dreams becoming bizarre and vivid during menopause.
Sexual dreams have nothing to do with one's sex life or problems. They hint higher levels of creativity in a person. According to psychologist Ian Wallace, sexual dreams are common throughout all ages but they increase with age. Such dreams are mainly reported by people between 60 and 70. Pursuing new hobbies after retirement render explanation about these sexual dreams.
So, now we know dreams do have a meaning pertaining to health.