Why We Dream What We Dream
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Nightmares are broadly defined as frightening dreams that result in some degree of awakening from sleep.
Nightmares themselves contribute to disrupted sleep not only by waking the sleeper but also because they can lead to fear of falling asleep and returning to a disturbing dream. According to research, nightmares may contribute to insomnia, daytime fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
Night terrors are very intense episodes of fright during dreams. These frightening episodes are often accompanied by screaming or yelling, as well as by physical movement such as leaping out of bed or flailing in panic.
Research suggests that sleep terrors occur during non-REM sleep dreaming, while nightmares tend to happen during REM sleep.
Dreaming of these events—and the timing by which memories appear in dreams—may actually be an important part of the memory consolidation process.
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