Jul 19, 2013

    Is there a way to prevent bad dreams at night?

    WE CONTINUE the series in which we feature answers to questions sent by the public on a wide variety of topics in Stomp's Ask Libby section.

    This feature is a collaboration between Stomp and Public Libraries Singapore, whose librarians research and provide answers to thought-provoking questions.

    Send in your questions to

    Here is this week's question: Is there a way to prevent bad dreams at night?

    The frequency of bad dreams can be reduced by improving one's sleeping habits.

    When we sleep, we enter two states alternately: Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep.

    Each cycle typically lasts for about 90 minutes, with dreams occurring during REM sleep.

    A healthy sleeper alternates normally between the two states, which leads to him not remembering dreams upon waking.

    In the case of a troubled sleeper, sleep cycles tend to be light, with multiple awakenings during cycles. This interrupts REM and leaves him with the memory of dreams.

    This also gives the sleeper the sensation of waking up tired.

    In order to prevent dreams or, more precisely, the memory of dreams, one must resolve the reasons for poor sleep, which may stem from anxiety, depressive disorders or chronic stress.

    A professional evaluation from a qualified medical practitioner may help to clarify the reasons for troubled sleep.