Have you ever had vivid dreams? These are the dreams that are so real that you wake up feeling shaken or like you’re stuck in a fantasy realm. Some people try to interpret their dreams, and many think that the spirit world is trying to communicate with them in this realm.
While your higher power can communicate with you through dreams, there are also many other reasons why you might be having these vivid displays. To gain a better knowledge of why your eyelids become a movie screen at night, you must understand your sleep cycles.
The Five Stages of Sleep
During the first phase of sleep, you are in twilight or a light stage of rest. Though your brain frequency has slowed a bit, your muscles are still responsive. During the second phase, your body goes a bit deeper, and it’s more difficult to wake you.
Stage three is slow-wave sleep as an EEG of the brain shows that your brain waves are slowing down drastically. A noise of up to 100 decibels won’t disturb you during the third level. Delta waves are stage four, and it’s the last level before you head into REM sleep.
If you awaken in stage three or four, you will be quite groggy and may feel like you’re stuck in a sleep/wake realm. It will take you some time for your brain to reengage with being awake so that you may feel off for several minutes.
The third and final stage of sleep is REM. During this phase, your muscles don’t move, and your breathing becomes erratic and irregular. Your heart rate will increase a bit, but you won’t notice it.
You will also experience vivid dreams during this phase as your body is entirely under a brain induced state of muscle atonia. If your mind didn’t put you in a coma-like state, then you could hurt yourself or others.
When people experience disturbances during REM, they can have night terrors, sleepwalk, or act out things happening in their dreams. This is often caused by improper signals sent from the brain to the body.
10 Reasons Why You Have Vivid Dreams
Now that you understand the sleep cycles, you can understand the time frame of when you will experience vivid dreams. However, you still don’t know what causes them. Numerous things can cause your dreams to be so real they are haunting, but here are the top ten.
Did you know that medications can alter your sleep and cause you to have vivid dreams? The most common medications that can affect your REM state are blood pressure drugs, antidepressants, smoking cessation medicines, and things used to treat Parkinson’s disease.
Even some herbal over-the-counter meds can negatively impact your sleep too. Melatonin is notorious for causing vivid dreams, even though it’s completely safe.
2. Stress or Anxiety
All the difficulties you have during the day can bother your subconscious at night. Significant events such as weddings, arguments with family members, divorce, or buying a new home can trigger vivid dreaming.
Stress is inevitable, but the trauma of the day can affect you when you rest. Anxiety, sexual abuse, or a car accident can be relived time and time again in your REM sleep. When you have disturbing or intense nightmares, trauma is almost always to blame.
3. Substance Abuse
Using drugs for recreational use like heroin, meth, cocaine, and opiates can negatively impact your sleep. The most common time to experience such dreams is when you are trying to withdrawal from these drugs. The withdrawal period can be quite intense, and your brain is struggling to find a new normal.
4. Mental Health Disorders
Have you ever awakened from you a dream in a state of panic? Depression causes colorful dreams, and they can lead to panic attacks. However, these are not the only mental health issues that are a concern.
People with schizophrenia or a dissociative identity disorder can also have vivid dreams from their medications or when they stop taking drugs. Those who already experience hallucinations or delusions seem to slip into the lucid dreaming state with ease.
Of all the mental health issues, anxiety seems to be the problem that causes the most REM dreams. A person with anxiety is always in a state of angst, and this state is not alleviated by sleep for many.
5. Physical Illness
Many physical illnesses can cause you to dream more frequently. While you may not remember many of them, you can have some lurid encounters. If you have diabetes and your blood sugar drops to a low level, you can have some intense dreams.
Colorful dreams and nightmares are commonplace during pregnancy. At times, the strain of arranging for the birth of the child contributes to these occurrences. Variations of hormones may also play a part in why women dream so much during pregnancy.
Many people drink alcohol because they feel it helps them get to sleep. While it may enhance your rest, it can suppress the REM or vital part of your slumber.
The vivid dreams are even more remarkable when a person stops drinking and tries to maintain sobriety. Thankfully, intense dreams will eventually pass.
Individuals with narcolepsy frequently say that they vividly dream. Sadly, many describe the encounters as strange or even disturbing. Narcolepsy is a disorder that confuses the barriers of slumber and alertness.
Folks with this ailment feel extraordinarily sleepy and exhausted during the day. Warning Signs include falling to sleep quickly and suffering an abrupt loss of muscle control. A person with narcolepsy will go into REM moments after falling asleep.
Even a small nap can cause the individual with narcolepsy to start having bright dreams. Also, lucid dreaming is not uncommon, so a person cannot distinguish between being awake or asleep.
9. Sleep Deprivation
Anytime you are short on rest, your body can experience crazy dreams. Part of the issue is that the body is so tired it skips over the four stages of sleep and goes right to REM. This is commonly observed in people who have insomnia, sleep apnea, or just haven’t got enough sleep.
10.Foods You Eat Specifically Spicy Ones
While there’s not a great deal of science behind this theory, it’s believed that spicy foods can mess with your sleep. When you eat anything filled with spices, it increases the body’s temperature slightly. The elevated temperature can disrupt your sleep.
A study was conducted at the Cleveland Clinic to test the theory of spicy foods and a poor night’s rest. They concluded that eating flaming hot dishes can cause bizarre dreams.
The body must work extra hard to digest these spicy foods, so it interferes with sleep. This is especially true if a person has heartburn that keeps them up.
If you’re going to eat things on the hot side, you must do it at least 2-3 hours before bed.
Understanding the Side Effects of Vivid Dreams
If you suffer from colorful dreams for several nights a week, it can cause all kinds of problems for you. The most common side effects of these dreams are:
•Suicidal Attempts or Thinking
When you don’t get the rest you need, then you cannot function properly. If insomnia is at the crux of your problem, then you need to find ways to combat this issue. A situation like narcolepsy is severe and requires medical intervention.
You can be quite troublesome to be around when you’re not getting enough sleep. Having problems with scary dreams that wake you up in a state of panic can affect your whole day and mood.
Final Thoughts on Getting Help for Your Vivid Dreams
It’s essential to pinpoint the cause of the dreams, especially if they are more like nightmares. You may be eating the wrong foods too close to bedtime, or you may have severe stress in your life that is causing significant issues.
Additionally, any substantial changes in your life, like death or divorce, can affect your rest.
The best way to combat the issues caused by stress is to use things like meditation, yoga, or counseling. Taking an herbal supplement like valerian root or melatonin to help you rest is advisable if you’re not getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. You can quickly develop a sleep debt and have more significant issues than some wild dreams.
Try to avoid medications that induce sleep as they can often cause more harm than they do good. Many herbal things can induce sleep, which is perfectly safe. When you have issues with vivid dreams, you need to talk to someone professionally.
When they become more frequent and troubling, your therapist or mental health professional should be alerted to the issue. They can help you find a way to calm the occurrences and cope with them during this phase. Thankfully, these bright dreams won’t last forever, and soon things will be back to normal.