Waking up to a nightmare is often something people want to forget, but these frightening and often disturbing dreams can actually have benefits.
According to a video feature on the “good side of bad dreams” created by New York Magazine, nightmares can help mental health. By creating a memory of an experience (even if that experience only occurred in a dream), the video explained, your brain thinks of these fears more as some part of the past and “something you don’t need to panic about in the present.”
“Nightmares actually help distance you from your fears,” the narrator stated.
The International Association for the Study of Dreams explained that nightmares can be caused by a variety of things — drugs, medications, illness, fever, traumatic events, stress and personality. Almost everyone experiences nightmares at one point or another, starting in childhood and becoming less frequent in adulthood, according to IASD. Only about 5 to 10 percent of adults report having at least one nightmare a month.