Sweet Dreams AREN’T Made of This

So sleeping is quite possibly the best part of my day. Or it was until I started getting dreams every. Single. Night. This wouldn’t be an issue if they were nice dreams, where I get to eat lots of chocolate or fly about the world. No, the dreams that I get are, more often than not, nightmares, and as a result I usually wake up several times when I’m meant to be sleeping. They’re usually about something chasing me, or missing work and getting fired. I don’t really see the point of these dreams; they do nothing to help with problem solving, which is what dreams are supposed to do. Instead, I find that my ability to avoid and solve problems is made so much worse by the lack of sleep I’m getting on a daily basis.

Some medications cause those taking them to develop more vivid and scary dreams. This is a common effect associated with SSRIs, which are used to treat depression and anxiety. Obviously, this is not going to help either of these things if you aren’t getting a solid night’s sleep, or having dreams that are both incredibly realistic and incredibly disturbing. If it caused wonderful dreams, I guess this wouldn’t be an issue, but when they are causing constant nightmares, it can be exhausting.

So the question is really, why do our brains hate us enough to give us nightmares? What are the purpose of them? When I was a child, I used to have recurring dreams about Feathers McGraw from Wallace and Gromit (yes, I know it’s a weird one) and these went on for a long time, and the only result was that I would wake up and run to my parents’ room, therefore, disrupting them. Eventually they went away, but why my brain decided to fixate on this fear in particular evades me. What was the point?

This is why I believe that dreams are just pointless and terrible. Okay, maybe DREAMS aren’t terrible; nightmares are. It seems like the only purpose of nightmares is to terrify and confuse us. So, science, the ball is in your court to abolish these horrific sleep-ruiners!

[Rachel Gillet]

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