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What are nightmares?

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Nightmares are vividly realistic, disturbing dreams that wake you up from a deep sleep. They can be really scary. Nightmares tend to occur most often during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, when most dreaming takes place. Everyone is different, but some common nightmares that many people have, like not being able to run fast enough to escape danger or about falling from a great height. If you've gone through a traumatic event, such as an attack or accident, you may have recurrent nightmares about that experience.

From: Nightmares in Adults WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Sleep Association: "Nightmares."

Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia: "Nightmares."

Medical College of Wisconsin: "Nightmares, Sleepwalking and Night Terrors Haunt Many."

American Academy of Sleep Medicine: "Nightmares."

National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: "Nightmares."

Levin, R., , March 2002. Sleep

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Nightmares and Disorders of Dreaming."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 15, 2019

SOURCES:

American Sleep Association: "Nightmares."

Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia: "Nightmares."

Medical College of Wisconsin: "Nightmares, Sleepwalking and Night Terrors Haunt Many."

American Academy of Sleep Medicine: "Nightmares."

National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: "Nightmares."

Levin, R., , March 2002. Sleep

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Nightmares and Disorders of Dreaming."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 15, 2019

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What causes nightmares in adults?

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