El origen de las pesadillas - BeZen Mattress & Health

The origin of nightmares

On the darkest of autumn nights, the cold comes in through the window. You can't sleep because of the sound of the wind and an old clock in the living room... tick tock, tick tock...

You hear footsteps and see a black shadow gliding in front of the door. You don't want to, but you get up and follow her. She turns and extends her arms towards you, when suddenly... wham!

You wake up from a horrible nightmare.

What are nightmares?

Nightmares are nothing more than altered sleep states that appear in the REM phase, in which the brain is reworking information that it has collected during the day.

The accumulation of stress, anxiety, depression or even post-traumatic stress disorder can trigger nightmares during rest, adding to the stress factor that they themselves produce. Another factor closely related to these bad dreams is the modification of sleep patterns or falling asleep late, as this alters the person's circadian rhythms , keeping the brain active while sleeping, which causes strange things to be dreamed.

In fact, many experts suggest that the repeated appearance of nightmares can be a precedent sign of an illness.

Because it is something so linked to stress, it is difficult to combat, because everyday life stresses and produces nightmares that do not let you sleep, and nightmares that do not let you sleep produce fatigue that leads to stress, a somewhat stormy loop.

In any case, it is closely related to the neurology and psyche of the person.

'El aquelarre', Francisco de Goya (1797-1798)

The origins of nightmares

In this article we are going to talk not so much about its meaning, but more about what different cultures throughout history thought was the origin of these feared nightmares. , and with Halloween just around the corner, we will investigate some of the spookiest theories.

Greek mythology

The ancient Greeks looked for the answers to most of their doubts in the gods, so the same thing happened with dreams.

According to some authors, the goddess of the night, Nyx, together with Erebus (god of darkness and shadows) had several children, among whom were the twins Hypnos (the god who personified dreams ) and Tanatos, the god of death. That these two were twins is nothing more than evidence of the resemblance that has been attributed for centuries to sleep and death (a permanent dream).

Hypnos had many children, (according to some, with his own mother Nyx, and according to others, with Pasithea), called Oniros, who were bearers of dreams. Among those that stood out were Morpheus (in charge of bringing dreams to kings and emperors) and Phobétor or Ichelo (bringer of nightmares).

They both lived in a cave, from where they came out at night with their wings, and made dreams reach the gods.

Ichelo was the name the gods gave him, while Phobetor ("the scary one") was the name mortals gave him. This god had hundreds of descendants, who were the bringers of nightmares to mortals.

'La pesadilla?, Füssli (1781)

Roman and medieval tradition

However, the divine vision of the world of dreams and nightmares began to change with the Romans, and especially in the Middle Ages. At this time, nightmares were attributed to demons that tormented people while they slept.

These demons were called incubi and succubi. The incubi were male personifications of the Devil, while the succubi were attractive women, whose leader was Lilith (a figure from Hebrew tradition who is considered the first wife of Adam, and embodies an evil being). Both seduced their victims and “suffocated” them in their dreams.

The Germans also spoke of demons, called “Alp” and “Drude”, which sat on the chests of their victims for the same purpose. .

Other cultures and occult traditions point to the “existence” of some lower-order demons, the “nybbas” who whispered terrible situations in the ears of their victims. > when they were sleeping so they could dream about them.

Today, all of these associations of nightmares, demons, and lack of breathing during sleep are interpreted as sleep paralysis , a state in which the brain is fully conscious while the body is not yet “awake,” causing paralysis and sensory hallucinations .

We hope you sleep well tonight… if you can.

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