Do you often wake up from nightmares in winters or suffer from sleep deprivation during the cold season? Well, you are not alone as many people are prone to nightmares during the winters and while the cold weather is not directly responsible for your sleepless nights, it does play a role in it. More often or not your dreams are influenced by your surrounding and it could be due to several reasons you may not be noticing. For example, if you are sleeping and your blanket slip off and you are feeling cold, distressed – it could lead to a nightmare. And, the best way to avoid such kind of night terror is to check the room temperature before going to bed.
According to several studies, depression is also a stressor for nightmares as people suffering from mental health problems are more vulnerable to night terror.
Another reason behind nightmares in winters is sleeplessness or insomnia. And, more often or not, your sleeplessness could be triggered by seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The common cause of SAD is insomnia (inability to sleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) and both conditions result in nightmares.
According to Dr Jalpa Bhuta, who is a consultant- psychiatrist at Global Hospital, Mumbai, “SAD is a mood disorder with seasonal pattern.”
“SAD’s symptoms often begin in autumn and remit in spring. SAD’s symptoms include depressive mood accompanied by a lack of energy as well as hypersomnia and an increased appetite,” Dr Bhuta told Hindustan Times.
Dr Bhuta further said that nightmares are more common in evening people as compared to morning people. Explaining the said point, the psychiatrist also stressed that the reason behind night owls being more susceptible to night terror is due to their “more sensitive” circadian system.
And here are a few ways to avoid night terrors:
- See a therapist to rule out SAD or depression
- You can avoid nightmares by regulating your sleeping habits
- Avoid screen time after going to bed
- Reduce caffeine intake before going to bed
- Don’t take your work home
- Avoid overthinking on bed
- Breathing exercises can help in falling asleep on time
- Light therapy is also proven to be effective in such cases