What Causes Bad Dreams? Avoid These 7 Things If You Want To Sleep Better

We've all had at least one dream in which our worst enemy is out to get us, or all our teeth are falling out. Bad dreams are a common part of how we sleep; it's unknown whether or not other mammals and other animals have similar nightmare patterns, though many species do show signals of dream-like states. Many of us wonder what causes bad dreams, and if there's anything we can do to help us sleep better. Turns out, there are seven simple things you can stop doing if you're over constantly having nightmares.

Nightmares, it's important to note, are different than night terrors, which many people also suffer from. We tend to dip between different depths of sleep throughout a conventional night's rest, and night terrors are sudden washes of fear or negative emotion as you transition from one stage of sleep to another. Nightmares, by contrast, tend to happen during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the deepest stage of slumber, in which the brain remains active while the body is almost fully at rest. REM periods lengthen as the night goes on, and nightmares often happen in the longer REM periods.

But bad dreams aren't an inevitable part of your REM sleep. These are seven simple things that can cause bad dreams, that you can stop doing tonight for a better night's rest.