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Facts About Dreams and Your Health

Have you stopped dreaming? Do your dreams seem like they’ll never end? That could be a sign of a serious medical condition. Here are some facts about dreams and what they mean about your health. 

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Facts About Dreams

For over 30 years Dr. Tore Nielsen, director of Montreal’s Dream and Nightmare Laboratory, has conducted research into disturbed dreaming. His conclusion? Troubled sleep can be as valuable to a diagnosis as any other vital sign. Here are some facts about dreams. 

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Facts About Dreams: No Dreams

Facts about dreams: find our what it means to stop dreaming. 

Cessation of dreaming
Complete suspension of dreaming activity.

Neurological illnesses, damage to the parietal lobe (the part of the brain that draws on sensory information to help us navigate through space).

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Facts About Dreams: Dream Recall

Here’s another interesting fact about dreams and what it means if you have trouble remembering them. 

Impoverished dreaming
Deteriorating levels of dream recall; dreams drained of vividness and complexity.

Amnesia, alexithymia (patients who have difficulty recognizing their own emotions). Also associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), possibly as an adaptive strategy against nightmares.

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Facts About Dreams: Never Ending

Here’s what never ending dreams say about your health. 

Excessive dreaming
Dreaming never seems to end; epic sequences of continuous physical activity, such as housework or trudging through snow or mud.

Brain damage, drug withdrawal.

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Facts About Dreams: Recurring Dreams

Here’s what recurring dreams say about your health.

Repetitive dreaming
Recurring violent, action-filled dreams. In the most extreme cases, patients enact the ongoing nightmare.

Parkinson’s disease, dementia, epilepsy, PTSD, migraines. There are also cases of “killer dreams,” which warn of impending near-fatal cardiac events (one man who dreamt he died in a car crash had a heart attack two hours later).

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Facts About Dreams: Reality Confusion

Here’s what dream-reality confusion says about your health

Dream-reality confusion
Hyperrealistic dreams mistaken for actual events.

Bereavement (grieving individuals dream of deceased family members), postpartum syndrome (new mothers dream their babies are in peril), ICU delirium (recovering patients dream of agonizing treatments), psychosis (patients “hear” voices that urge them to commit violent acts).