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mental health mondays :: one thing leads to another

and sadly, that's probably the good news
i've posted here before about my sleep problems, but to recap for those of you who might not have read the
previous posts: i have them. i go through periodic bouts of insomnia, although fortunately they don't tend to last quite as long as they used to. in fact now, it's more like i have a sleepless night from time to time. the problem is that those times have been occurring with alarming frequency in the last few weeks, where there are more nights that i've managed less than four hours sleep than not.

to make things worse, last night, when i was finally able to sleep, i immediately started having some pretty intense nightmares, which resulted in my measly two hours of sleep getting frequently interrupted but also in dom's sleep being interrupted [and possibly the neighbours], since i woke up screaming several times.

this, of course, made me want to know if there was a link between mental health and our dream life and, perhaps unsurprisingly, there is. this study undertaken by a nigerian professor and researder shows that the correlation between mental illness [in this case depression or schizophrenia] and nightmares is kind of shocking. turns out that people who are already troubled are three to four times as likely to suffer from recurrent nightmares as those who are not. in addition, medications that are often taken to control the most acute effects of mental illness- like benzodiazepines- can cause nightmares when patients are inevitably forced to discontinue them.

what's worse, professor mume's study references another [found here, although only the abstract is available for the unregistered], which apparently found that those who suffer nightmares more frequently are actually more likely to show symptoms of psychosis than those who have more pleasant dreams, no matter how vivid or realistic those dreams might be. it's not clear whether nightmares are visited more on those who are crazier to begin with or if having frequent nightmares is a contributing factor to pushing vulnerable people over the edge, but either way, horrifying problems in your sleep are likely to indicate a greater chance of horrible problems when you're awake.

sweet dreams.

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