Inducing a nightmare

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Inducing a nightmare

Postby SciameriKen on August 1st, 2019, 12:20 am 

Scientific AmeriKen is proud to announce the publication of another experiment!

This one is called, "Inducing a Nightmare", and explores the possibility that nightmares aren't just there to scare us, but actually have purpose -- that being to rouse us from the deepest sleeps to deal with the problems around us. If so - can a nightmare actually be induced? Check out this edition of Scientific AmeriKen!
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Re: Inducing a nightmare

Postby zetreque on August 2nd, 2019, 3:42 pm 

Interesting theory that nightmares are meant to wake you up from an external threat. I hadn't thought that. I can 99% figure out where my nightmares came from and they are just metaphores for what I am dealing with in real waking life.

From my perspective, I first thought inducing a nightmare would be doing something like watching horror movies (or the news) more frequently.

What I find strange though is I go through times when I have nightmares when I am feeling really good and then I have good dreams to save me from extreme stress during waking life. Maybe that's when your theory might come in as a contributing factor.
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Re: Inducing a nightmare

Postby Serpent on August 2nd, 2019, 6:11 pm 

A dream log is all right for keeping track of your own nocturnal experiences - but only if you take account of psychological as well as physical influences.

I've figured out the cause of some of my dream experiences, not merely whether nightmares are related to something that happens in the waking world, but what specific dream subject matter is associated with what kind of real-world event.

When I'm physically too hot, I invariably have nightmares that involve violence; being attacked; having to fight somebody. The villain usually corresponds to some real-life person with whom I have a real - though not physical - conflict, so the same villain tends to recur for a period of time, until he (always a man) is replaced by an object of my more recent ire. My guess is, the uncomfortable heat is interpreted as anger.
A fever-induced nightmare is tactile: I'm trying to hold onto something that slips or melts or crumbles in my hands.
When my bladder is full, it's -- surprise! - about flood; water pouring into the house; having to wade through swamps; that kind of thing. When I have acid reflux, I wake up in a cold sweat from having been stabbed, or trampled by a bull or something. When I've trapped an arm or hand and cut off the circulation, the nightmare is least favourite phobia: being trapped under a pile of rubble, or an overturned car, or - just once, TN - a very large hysterical woman.
Unfamiliar noises usually bring on dreams about whatever I unconsciously associate with the sound. These are not necessarily bad dreams; if the noise is alarming, so is the dream.
Up to there, I agree that my subconscious is telling me to wake up. And, in fact, during a protracted experiment with lucid dreaming, I devised specific "safe words" for each of those expected situations, to wake up faster.
By the same token, I imagine it would be relatively easy to induce nightmares (and some specific types of pleasant dreams, as well) in other people, using those physical stimuli. But you wouldn't be able to influence the content of another person's dreams: while humans all have these physical responses in common, and we may share many associations, each individual has a private subconscious world, with its own shorthand vocabulary and symbology.

The other category is less accessible. That has to do with specific fears, hates, guilts, disappointments and sorrows. Many of those are transitory; some disappear when we've solved a problem; some fade as we learn to cope with life; new ones appear as things happen to us, as we age and so forth.
I have a pretty good idea what kind of event triggers which category of my own library of anxiety-dreams, but I wouldn't have a clue how to induce one in anyone else.
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