Ask The Pharmacist: Amazing info about nightmares, dreams
Sleeping is one of the great pleasures in life, unless you have bad dreams or nightmares. Then it’s pure misery. Most of us do dream while sleeping, we just don’t remember it.
Luckily, a man named Larry Page remembered his dream. He was a computer scientist and he woke up from a dream when he was 23 wondering if there was a way to ‘download the web’ and rank webpages by inbound links. He went on to become a co-founder of Google. Page’s net worth according to Forbes is 52 billion dollars. Talk about making money when you sleep.
So why can’t you remember your dreams? Our brains are trained to forget non-essential facts and the truth is, most of our dreams aren’t that unique. But I bet you do wake up and recall the bizarre scary dreams, don’t you? This is because your brain finds it more “essential” to remember these strange or scary images. They stand out.
Here are some other little-known facts about dreaming that you may be interested in. By the way, if you’d like a longer version of this article, it’s at my website.
If you lost sight later in life, you can like still see images in your dreams and dream visually like when you had your eyesight. Those folks who were born with blindness may not see in pictures but can still dream and experience sounds, touch sensations and emotions during their dream state.
With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), several brain regions are involved including the amygdala where dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin play a role. PTSD nightmares may occur with or without REM sleep.
If you have asthma, for some reason, you are also more prone to nightmares. The bad dreams can intensify with many treatments, including montelukast.
Heartburn medications such as ranitidine and famotidine used to treat heartburn can sometimes induce vivid dreams and nightmares. So can allergy drugs like diphenhydramine.
Blood pressure pills interfere with sleep. This category has well-documented evidence to show how they trigger nightmares and this side effect alone often causes people to seek other treatments.
If you grew up with black and white TVs, most of your dreams occur in black and white.
Anxiety is the most common emotion during dreams. You might experience it as falling, flying or feeling unprepared or humiliated in your dream.
Dogs dream. You will often hear them whimper or see their paws twitching. More than likely they are running in their dreams.
Sleeping pills can and often due induce vivid dreaming and nightmares. Withdrawal from these medications can also induce higher dreaming and/or nightmares for a period.
Antidepressants such as fluoxetine and paroxetine increase serotonin and may trigger intense or disturbing dreams that seem to go on all night.
Some sleep supplements containing melatonin might trigger unpleasant or bizarre dreams. If that happens, take a break from the melatonin because the dose might be too high. Remember, you make this sleep hormone yourself so supplementing has an additive effect.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.