Health - Wellness
What Having A Nightmare Does To Your Body
According to sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus, nightmares can increase blood pressure and heart rate, as well as prompting sweating and quickening our breathing. This can all be traced back to the amygdala, which experiences a boost in brain activity during a nightmare.
Nightmares sometimes affect the muscles, but in ways that are opposite to what is expected during REM sleep. Normally, our muscles become temporarily paralyzed during this stage of sleep, yet when having a nightmare, some people may flail, make facial expressions, or shout as one would if faced with the scenario in real life.
Some research shows that nightmares have the potential to affect the body even after we wake up. Findings of a 2020 pilot study revealed that participants' mood, sleep, and health suffered in the two days following a nightmare.