30 Causes of Dreams and Nightmares (According to World Mythology)

Table of Contents

Nightmares are dreams with frightening or disturbing content that often wakes the dreamer from sleep. Nightmares are very common, particularly in children. Possible causes include anxiety, hormonal changes, fever, headache, and disturbed sleep. Some psychologists believe that nightmares help the brain process difficult events. They are a common symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. If nightmares occur frequently and impact quality of life, they may be considered a sleep disorder.

People throughout history have searched for an explanation for the mysterious and unsettling  phenomenon of nightmares. Our infographic explores nightmare mythology from around the world, nightmare meanings in different cultures, and nightmare creatures that plague sleep.

Note: The content on Sleepopolis is meant to be informative in nature, but it shouldn’t take the place of medical advice and supervision from a trained professional. If you feel you may be suffering from any sleep disorder or medical condition, please see your healthcare provider immediately.

Mythological Causes of Dreams and Nightmares

30 causes dreams nightmares according world mythology

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Rose MacDowell

Rose is the former Chief Research Officer at Sleepopolis. An incurable night owl, she loves discovering the latest information about sleep and how to get (lots) more of it. She is a published novelist who has written everything from an article about cheese factories to clock-in instructions for assembly line workers in Belgium. One of her favorite parts of her job is connecting with the best sleep experts in the industry and utilizing their wealth of knowledge in the pieces she writes. She enjoys creating engaging articles that make a difference in people’s lives. Her writing has been reviewed by The Boston Globe, Cosmopolitan, and the Associated Press, and received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. When she isn’t musing about sleep, she’s usually at the gym, eating extremely spicy food, or wishing she were snowboarding in her native Colorado. Active though she is, she considers staying in bed until noon on Sundays to be important research.