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Nightmares divide men and women

London - It seems that men and women can’t agree – even when asleep.

A study of dreams found that even in the dead of night, we are thinking about different things.

Diary entries on nightmares were longer than those for bad dreams and women wrote longer descriptions of their bad dreams than men. Credit: sxc.hu

While men have nightmares about fires, floods, wars and other disasters, women are jolted awake by thoughts about rows, lies and infidelity.

Canadian researchers asked more than 300 men and women to write down the content of their dreams on waking each morning for up to five weeks.

Diary entries on nightmares were longer than those for bad dreams and women wrote longer descriptions of their bad dreams than men. Feelings of failure and helplessness, including being late or lost, were also common, as were nightmares in which the dreamer became ill or died. Many also jolted awake after believing they could see or feel the presence of an evil force such as a monster, vampire or ghost.

The men studied were twice as likely to have nightmares or bad dreams about disasters and insect infestations. The study’s authors, from the University of Montreal, wrote in the journal Sleep: :Dreams of interpersonal conflicts may elicit a more intense emotional response in women, leading to a greater proportion of such dreams ending in a nightmare awakening.”

Most people forget dreams straight away but heavy sleepers have better recall. Researcher Antonio Zadra said that nightmares can have consequences for health. “People who are awakened by their nightmares cannot get back to sleep, which creates artificial insomnia,” he said. - Daily Mail

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