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Dale’s Daily Data: Nightmares

Can you remember the last time you had a nightmare?  For adults they’re pretty rare, but for those who do a study shows women have far more frightening nightmares than men do.  Their dreams are more intense and more likely to be remembered when they wake up.  Researchers think it’s because of changes in a woman’s body temperature caused by her period and the prime time for scary dreams is halfway through their monthly cycle.

Just about everybody has nightmares at one time or another.  For most of us it’s during childhood.  The majority happen between the ages of 3 and 8.  Only about 5 to 10 percent of adults have regular nightmares.

What causes them?  Sometimes it’s reaction to certain drugs or medications.  Or illness or fever.  Sometimes people have nightmares after a traumatic event – loss of a loved one, an accident, a crime or surgery.  For children it’s a part of their development as they learn to deal with normal fears and problems.

The most common theme in nightmares is being chased.  Adults are usually being chased by some unknown male figure.  For children – it’s usually an animal or fantasy figure.

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