Do you ever wake up from a terrifying dream, unable to shake off the fear? You might be experiencing nightmare disorder, a type of parasomnia that affects your sleep quality as well as your mental health condition.
Nightmare disorder include night terrors and disturbing dreams. You get those bad dreams once you’re in a deep sleep.
Sometimes, these nightmares can cause people to paralyze in a deep sleep. It becomes difficult to calm a person who is shivering, shouting, or almost gasping for air when having a nightmare. When it is one of the problems you find in someone you care about, having Basic Life Support knowledge is very important. You can save their life and help them calm down when you are BLS certified by a nationally accepted and recognized BLS course provider like American CPR Care Association.
Can People Die When Having A Nightmare?
No, people cannot die from having a nightmare disorder. A nightmare disorder is a type of sleep disorder in which a person experiences recurring nightmares that cause distress and disruption to their sleep. While nightmares can be scary and cause anxiety and fear, they are not physically harmful.
During a nightmare, the body may experience physical sensations such as sweating, increased heart rate, and rapid breathing, but these symptoms are not dangerous and will not cause death.
If you are frequently experiencing nightmares that impact your sleep and daily life, it is crucial to seek assistance from a medical professional. Treatment for nightmares is available. It, includes therapy and medication, which can help manage and alleviate the symptoms of this condition.
Side Effects Of Nightmare Disorder
We all know why nightmares occur. However, it’s important to know about their side effects.
The side effects of Nightmare Disorder can be far-reaching and impact a person’s quality of life. Some common side effects include:
- Sleep disruption
Nightmares can cause significant sleep disruption, leading to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
- Anxiety and stress
Nightmares can cause anxiety and stress, especially if they are recurring and significantly impact a person’s emotional well-being.
Chronic nightmares can contribute to depression, worsening if the nightmares persist.
In some cases, recurring nightmares can be a trauma symptom, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and may be accompanied by flashbacks and intrusive thoughts.
- Physical symptoms
Nightmares can cause physical symptoms such as sweating, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath, which can be frightening and add to emotional distress.
- Sleep deprivation
If left untreated, nightmare disorders can cause chronic sleep deprivation, leading to various health problems, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mental health issues.
- Substance abuse
In some cases, people with nightmare disorders may turn to alcohol, which causes even more emotional distress and sleep disruption, leading to substance abuse and addiction.
Be certified in a BLS certification course to help those around you recover from the side effects of nightmare disorder. When someone you love or know starts substance abuse, has severe sweating, mood swings, irritated mood, fatigue, etc., knowing first aid and basic life support techniques helps to improve their quality of life.
How To Treat Someone Having Nightmares Near You?
Nightmares can be a distressing and terrifying experience for the person experiencing them. If someone near you is having a nightmare, it’s essential to approach the situation with care and sensitivity. At times, even the eye movement rep sleep does not help. Thus, learning every solution possible to eliminate the nightmare disorder for once and all is essential.
Here are some ways you can help:
- Be present
Stay with the person and tell them you are there for them. You can sit beside them and offer a comforting touch or hold their hand. Avoid trying to wake them up abruptly, as it can increase their fear and disorientation.
- Create a safe environment
Turn on a soft light or calming music to create a peaceful and reassuring environment. Avoid loud or sudden noises, as they can trigger the person’s fear response.
- Encourage relaxation
Offer to guide the person through exposure relaxation and rescripting therapy, such as deep breathing. You can also suggest visualizing a peaceful scene or a happy memory to help them feel more relaxed.
- Offer support
After the nightmare has passed, offer to talk about the experience with the person. Encourage them to express their feelings and offer words of comfort and reassurance.
- Seek professional help
If the person is experiencing frequent nightmares or is having difficulty coping with them, suggest seeking professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide additional support and guidance.
There are procedures like rapid eye movement, REM sleep, or imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT) that the psychologists or professionals help the patient with, the one having nightmare disorders.
The therapy and regular visits to the psychologist can help reduce the sleep disturbance in such patients.
Often, a traumatic event creates fear in the patient, due to which they end up having such bad dreams.
However, consulting a professional is an effective way to treat nightmare disorder on time.
Note that everyone responds differently to nightmares, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
The most important thing is to be empathetic and understanding and to offer support in a way that feels comfortable for the person experiencing the nightmare.
Nightmares can be a challenging and distressing experience, and it’s essential to approach the situation with care and sensitivity. If you encounter someone experiencing nightmares, staying present, creating a safe environment, encouraging relaxation, offering support, and seeking professional help are some ways to help them. Additionally, you can enroll in First Aid and BLS combo courses from American CPR Care Association to learn how to deal with such medical emergencies effectively.