Update: 2019-05-09


Nightmares happen

  • most often when in REM, but can occur in non-REM
  • you might get them more in the early hours because REM cycles get longer

If you die in a nightmare, you won’t die in real life

Most prevalent themes

According to a 2014 University of Montreal study

  • Physical aggression
  • death
  • health
  • threats

  • Men go for natural disasters and war

  • Women show a higher frequency of interpersonal conflicts

Significant portion of dreams caused

  • sadness
  • confusion
  • fear
  • disgust

Most common nightmares

According to How Stuff Works

  1. Performing badly in an exam
  2. Loss or damage to house or property
  3. Car trouble
  4. Injury, illness or death
  5. Being chased or attacked


Twitching in light sleep

  • Sometimes referred to by the initialism PLMS (too boring to explain)
  • Also referred to as a “hypnic jerk”

Sleep paralysis

Most people get it once or twice in their lives, some more often

  • Completely aware of your surroundings
  • Can’t move or speak
  • Usually as you’re waking up
  • Taking deep breaths might be hard
  • Some people can’t move their eyes
  • Mild hallucination that there’s someone else in the room
  • Shitting the bed (not really)
  • Usually only lasts a few seconds but can go up to minutes!

  • It happens when parts of REM sleep occur while you’re awake

  • We don’t know why that happens
  • You might get it more if you sleep on your back

Can be caused by

  • anxiety
  • caffeine
  • stress

But it’s mostly random

How to check if you’re in a dream

  • Look for common appliances and furniture to see if they’re out-of-whack
  • Look at yourself. Are you the right shape and size?
  • Test your strength and abilities
  • Read something, look away, then read again. If the text has changed, you might be dreaming
  • Anecdotally: turn on a light. Apparently our cause-and-effect doesn’t work so the light shouldn’t come on

Avoiding nightmares

  • Don’t eat late at night
  • Cut down on the reefer, you hippy
  • Maybe look at your blood pressure medication?
  • Exercise or do something else to relieve stress
  • Don’t exercise within 4 hours of going to bed
  • Stick to a sleeping routine
  • Have nice-smelling things in your bedroom


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Mark Steadman