Why women have more vivid, disturbing and emotional dreams than men
Women experience far more frightening dreams than men, a survey has found.
Our dreams are also more intense and emotional – and we’re more likely to remember them, scientists have found.
Researchers said changes in a woman’s body temperature, caused by her monthly cycle, are responsible for increasing the numbers of vivid and disturbing dreams.
‘We found that women reported significantly more nightmares than men, said Dr Jennie Parker, who carried out the study.
The study of 170 volunteers at the University of the West of England found that when asked to record their most recent dream, 30 per cent of female studies reported having a nightmare compared with just 19 per cent of male students.
Dr Parker believes that nightmares help the brain to ‘rehearse’ distressing and disturbing events that a person might experience in the future.
‘One of the things that people do is put all these dreams under the umbrella term nightmares,’ she said.
‘But there are different types of nightmares and women report more of them.’
Her work identifies at least three distinct types of nightmares – those involving being chased or hunted; the loss of a parent, child or partner; and weird and new environments.
Dreaming is part of normal sleep and happens every night, even for those who say they don’t dream. People are most likely to remember nightmares and bad dreams if they wake up during them.