One minute, you’re being chased by a shadowy figure, the next, you jolt awake in the safety of your bed.
Your heart is racing, you’re sweaty, and despite it being the middle of the night, you’re wide awake.
So why is it that your brain seems to startle you awake during a bad dream, as though preparing your body to spring into action?
An expert weighs in:
Dreaming is a way for our brain to empty its ‘stress bucket.’ We’re processing events of the day – whether that be in metaphor or replay.
But when we’re sleeping, our brains can’t separate fact from fiction. As a result, if your brain perceives you to be in a stressful situation, it says: “no, don’t relax.”
‘Your body will release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which will then wake you up. This also explains why you’ll feel a little disorientated when you’ve woken up suddenly. ‘Your reality is still a little blurred…
A bad dream may feel horrible, but it’s your brain’s way of helping you out.
It can help ease any anxiety or fear…
If you have a bad dream, the expert says to get out of bed and do a plank. That way, you’re getting all that adrenaline and pent-up energy out of your system, without hyping yourself up even more.