ELi5: Do you get the same benefits from sleep if you’ve had a nightmare?

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ELi5: Do you get the same benefits from sleep if you’ve had a nightmare?

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The stress you experience in a dream is equal to the stress in your waking life. So a nightmare does affect you negatively based on the emotions in the dream (fear, stress, etc). That’s why you will wake up in a cold sweat and a pacing heart because physiologically it is the same.

How about if you are dreaming that you can’t get to sleep?

You get some benefits from sleep, also easy cardio! Nightmares usually come later on in the sleep cycle, during REM. REM lasts longer and longer each cycle, so it tends to be early morning rather than interrupting the initial cycles.

Nightmares increase heart rate, sometimes to a similar level of a vigorous workout. People who are advised to not exercise due to high risk of heart attack have a slightly higher risk of death (typically in the early morning) from heart attacks overnight, thought to be related to nightmares.

Some people with parasomnia (a.k.a. “Nightmare Disorder”) have surprisingly good heart health relative to their overall health, because their brain and heart are getting regular exercise even when the rest of their body isn’t.

I feel like chronic nightmares would fuck you up like it does me. I’m scared to sleep cause I die a lot and it’s very Vivid and sometimes I get sleep paralysis which is somehow worse than my nightmares. Feels like imma have a heart attack soon, I’m only 21 and my heart hurts sometimes. Dunno how to fix it aye