Nightmares have ceased to be something supernatural. Scientists have found explanations for everything that happens to us in a dream.
Every day, millions of people around the world experience nightmares. For some, this is a real problem, with which psychotherapists, neurologists or, far worse, psychics and traditional healers are struggling.
Now, scientists decided to deal with this phenomenon and explore the human dream, to understand if it has something supernatural and paranormal.
Analyzing the topic, scientists collected stories of people who are tortured by bad dreams and helped them get rid of thoughts about the paranormalism of nightmares.
Professor of Psychology, University of London Alice Gregory explores the phenomenon of sleep and wrote a whole book about it – “Sleeping: the science of sleep from cradle to grave.”
In The Conversation, the writer described the main misconceptions that people explain their nightmares.
This is one of the most common types of nightmare. According to this or that scenario, a person becomes stiff and can not get out of sleep. Often, such paralysis is accompanied by nightmares, as if a man lies in a coffin with his hands tied and his mouth sealed.
Some even realize that they are in a dream, but at the same time completely unable to control their body. Someone awakens a loud cry from within, and someone, on the contrary, calms down, again sinks into sleep, and wakes up already with the working nervous system after a certain time.
In folklore, this is due either to the fact that the soul sometimes leaves the body, or by the fact that invisible demons sit at night on our chest and deprive us of the opportunity to move.
But, as it turned out, it’s just a protective reaction of the body during the rest. Alice Gregory writes that during sleep we go through several different stages.
First there is a superficial dream – the so-called stage of slow eye movement. Later there comes a period of rapid movement of the eyes or deep immersion in sleep. It is at this time that we see the most realistic dreams and experience real emotions. In order that our body does not escape anywhere by the action of such emotions – the brain disconnects the nervous system, which is actually a sleepy paralysis.
The researcher writes that cases when we come to consciousness, but the nervous system is still turned off, are quite common and are found in 8% of people.
This feature of the body can be explained by genetics, environmental conditions, stress, trauma or mental illness.
Syndrome of an exploding head
Alice Gregory says that in her practice there were many people who experienced something like a violent explosion during sleep, at a time when everything was calm and nothing was making noise around them.
But neurologists have already described this phenomenon as a “syndrome of an exploding head.” The fact is that, together with disabling the ability to move, our brain also limits visual and phonetic perception.
When someone experiences explosions or other loud noises that terrify them during sleep – nothing happens in the environment, it’s just the work of human sound memory.
Instead of muffling all the nerves that are responsible for sound perception, the brain can reproduce certain moments, and in a dream it seems extremely loud and even horrific.
Along with sleep paralysis, this phenomenon is still being studied. In 2017, Alice Gregory even teamed up with an expert on the topic Brian Sharples and BBC Focus to collect information together and study the topic to the end.
Demons, vampires and prophetic dreams
Strangely enough, but the phenomenon of prophetic dreams is also explained by scientists. A typical situation: you dream a friend with whom you have not spoken for several years, and the next day he suddenly calls you.
It would seem, how is this possible? But the writer John Allen Paulos, referred to by Alice Gregory, notes that such cases are quite common and relate to the person’s precognitive thinking.
It’s worth to catch a glimpse of something, to remember, and your brain, like a complex computing mechanism, will outline the proposed situation the same night. And then – like in a casino: in most cases, the bet will not play, and we call it a dream nonsense, and in some situations the assumptions of our brain will come true, and you can already consider yourself clairvoyants and prophets with all the consequences.
While Alice Gregory was writing her book, she talked with Miss Sinclair, 70, who lives alone. The woman told the writer that ghosts live in her house, and at night demons scoff at her, leading to a stupor.
But when Alice gave a scientific explanation to all the paranormal phenomena of Miss Sinclair, she no longer felt such nightmares and no longer believed in what she thought she experienced personally.
It is not just a toy or an attempt to discredit the thousand-year history of nightly horrors and the tradition of sacred houses. Scientists study the nature of human sleep in order to help them overcome fear and explain the physical and mental processes that occur with them at night.
And maybe you do not need it? After all, then, the story of the heroes of Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore will not be so romantic.