What Dreams Reveal About Your HealthJune 22, 2018
Do you wake up tangled in sweat-soaked sheets from a nightmare-induced panic? Does this happen more often than not? If this is a common occurrence, it might be a sign that it’s time to get to a doctor. What many people don’t realize is that your dreams can provide more than something mysterious to ponder over breakfast. In fact, research shows that your dreams can give you insight into your health and wellness.
You may analyze your dreams for clues about relationships and job prospects or share them with friends and family if the dream is particularly memorable. However the quantity and quality of your dreams reveal much about your sleeping patterns and overall health and wellness.
Since dreaming occurs during REM sleep, any medical conditions that affect the quality of your sleep can be evident in your dreaming life.
Are you dreaming more frequently?
One of the first signs that your sleep cycle is disturbed is a perceived increase in the frequency of your dreams. It’s not necessarily that you are dreaming more often, only that you are waking before the REM cycle is complete and better able to remember your dreams. Any number of health problems may cause these disturbances, including fluctuations in hormones to more severe medical conditions such as Parkinson’s or even dementia.
While short-term factors may influence the quality of your sleep, you may want to seek a professional medical opinion if the sleep changes last for a long time or aren't related to situational stressors.
Are you dreaming more vividly?
The quantity of your dreams isn’t the only way that health changes are apparent in your dreams. The quality of your dreams may be affected by certain medical conditions. One of the most widely reported medical conditions linked to vivid dreams is pregnancy. Driven by hormone fluctuations, dreams often become more intense, vibrant and harder to ignore during this time of life.
If you notice a marked difference in the intensity of your dreams and aren’t expecting a child anytime soon, it may be a clue that you need to speak with your doctor about potential hormonal changes that may be driving your dreams to new limits.
What is your physical condition in the dream?
In addition to changes in quantity or quality of the dreams themselves, your physical condition in the dream may give you valuable clues to your health and wellness. If you experience an increase in nightmares, you may want to check your temperature when you wake up. It’s not unusual for one of the first signs of a cold or flu to be a fever, which can induce nightmares.
Much as you look to dream analysis to shed light on your emotions, an examination of your dreams can often reveal clues about your physical health. If you start to notice a pattern or recurring dream that seems related to your health, pay close attention to your physical condition in your dream life for clues that may help you in your waking life.
While current dream research is starting to show the link between your dreams and your health, the analysis is open to interpretation and is a very personal process. It’s important to remember that if you notice extreme changes in the quantity, quality or content of your dreams, it is advisable to take your concerns to a qualified medical professional.