Thursday, 11 Sep, 2008 Science

Women Have Scarier Nightmares Than Men


A recent study discovered that women have scarier nightmares than men. Scientists also found that women's dreams are more intense. When a woman wakes up she has a greater impression about her dream.

Scientists explain that terrifying and more vivid dreams are caused by alterations in the temperature of a woman's body, which is the result of the monthly cycle. Researchers from the University of the West England analyzed 170 women who decided to participate in the study voluntarily.

"We found that women reported significantly more nightmares than men," said Dr Jennie Parker, researcher who conducted the study.

When asked about their most recent dream, 30 percent of women reported having a nightmare, compared to 19 percent of men who had a similar experience. Scientists also discovered that a woman's dreams were more disturbing and emotional.

According to Dr Parker, nightmares prepare the brain for stressful events that the person may face in the future.

"One of the things that people do is put all these dreams under the umbrella term nightmares. But there are different types of nightmares and women report more of them," the scientists said.

Dr Parker's study identified three different types of nightmares. The first type involves a person being chased or hunted. The second refers to the dream in which a person loses a parent, child or partner and the third type involves strange new environments.

Usually a woman's body temperature rises after ovulation and falls before the beginning of the period.

"Women who are premenstrual tend to dream more aggressively, and they are also more likely to remember the dreams," Parker said.

A number of dream experts state that women do not have more nightmares - they just remember those dreams better and talk more about them. But the current study asked the participants to record their dreams after they wake up.

"It does look like women are experiencing more nightmares," Dr Parker said.

Dr Chris Idikowski, who holds the position of the director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, outlined the fact that there were a number of major differences in the way men and women dreamed. The researcher told the participants of the British Association science festival, held in Liverpool that women always keep in mind more of their dreams than men.

"They end up talking more about their mental life than men do so there's more ability to remember," he said.

It is worth mentioning that people are more likely to remember a dream if they wake up in the middle of it.

Source: Daily Mail

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