Dreams and your health

By: Health Local Staff Jun 04, 2012
Dreams and your health

Did you know your dreams could provide insight into your physical health?

Dreams have always been said to offer a lot of insight into a person’s state of mind and what they could be feeling or going through emotionally, but did you know that it can also provide insight into your physical health as well? Research performed over the last 30 years by Dr. Tore Nielsen who is the director of Montreal’s Dream and Nightmare Laboratory, has found links between disturbed sleeping and health. Here’s what he found:

If your dreams are less vivid and detailed…

Then you are suffering from impoverished dreaming which can be a symptom of amnesia, alexithymia (difficulty recognizing one’s own emotions), or post-traumatic stress disorder which could also be a way your subconscious way of dealing with nightmares.

If your dreams seem to go on and on…

It could be a symptom of brain damage or drug withdrawal. These are the dreams that never seem to end and consist of doing the same thing over and over in the dream, like tedious housework or walking through a forest that seems to have no exit.

If you’ve completely stopped dreaming…

This could be indicative of a neurological illness or damage to the part of the brain that uses sensory information to help you navigate through space. It should be noted that we don’t always remember our dreams which may lead us to believe that we have not dreamed. This however, refers to a complete cessation of all dream activity and not just simply forgetting a dream or an apparent dreamless night.

If you have extremely realistic dreams that can be confused with reality…

This is common in bereavement where those grieving dream of their deceased family members. It also happens in postpartum syndrome causing new mothers to dream that their babies are in crisis or with what is called “ICU delirium” which refers to recovering patients dreaming of agonizing treatments.

If you have recurring dreams filled with action or violence…

This could be a symptom of Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia, migraines, or epilepsy.  It’s also been found that in some cases death dreams or killing dreams have warned of a coming serious cardiac event, with one man dreaming of dying in a car crash just a couple of hours before suffering a heart attack.

This certainly does give us some food for thought. If you are plagued by any of these types of dreams then consider what they could mean in your case and speak to your doctor if you suspect any of these medical conditions could be to blame. Your dreams just may be able to save your life!

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.