According to a recent study, nightmares can help people put a present anxiety in the past. CFP
We all know the feeling of waking up in the middle of the night with a pounding heart and sweaty palms. Relax, you say to yourself – it was just a bad dream. Well, it may be that you really should relax, because nightmares might actually be good for you.
我们都知道那种半夜惊醒的感觉 —— 心脏怦怦乱跳，手心里全是汗。你会这么对自己说：没关系，只是场噩梦罢了。没错，或许你的确应该放松一下，因为噩梦事实上可能对你有益。
According to New York Magazine, bad dreams can improve your mental health. A bad dream tends to be based on a real-life concern, for example, an approaching test or a fear of a person. To eliminate these worries the brain turns the dream into a story in the form of a bad dream.
How does this help your mental health? A bad dream enables you to distance yourself from your anxieties, and turn something you’re worried about now into a memory. The result is that when you wake up you’re able to move forward and face the future.
A study featured in The Atlantic magazine, showed something similar. In a survey of more than 700 French students taking a medical school entrance exam, over 60 percent had negative dreams about the test the night before. These included not finishing on time, leaving a question blank (空白), or being late. Those who reported dreams about the exam, even bad ones, did better on it than those who didn’t, suggesting that nightmares do in fact prepare us for the future.
“We think nightmares are so common that they have some purpose to process stressors,” Anne Germain, director of the Sleep and Chronobiology Center at the University of Pittsburgh, told CNN.
So, the next time you lie awake at night after a bad dream, remember that it may be the brain’s way of putting your fears behind you and readying you for the future. Although a nightmare may make you afraid in the short term, it might be helping you to move on from the bad stuff you might be facing in the real world. Perhaps we should try to accept our nightmares rather than allow them to keep us awake. After all, lack of sleep causes far more problems than dreams do.