Oversleeping Can Cause Nightmares
To have sweet dreams, athletes should aim for seven hours.
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According to a new study, about one in 20 people experiences at least one nightmare every week. After controlling for PTSD and stressful life events, researchers found a high correlation between getting too much sleep (more than 9 hours) and having bad dreams.
“Nightmares happen during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is a stage of sleep that occurs throughout the night, but more so in the latter half than in the first,” explains Jennifer Martin, Ph.D., a certified behavioral sleep medicine specialist based in Los Angeles, California. “Given that sleeping longer extends REM sleep, it makes sense that would cause a person to experience more nightmares.” Occasional bad dreams are normal, Martin says, but you can lessen their frequency by not oversleeping—often a symptom of sleep deprivation, which is less likely to occur if you’re on a consistent schedule and not running a deficit, she notes.