Tossing and turning at night and waking up in a cold sweat is never any fun. However those terror filled nights may just mean that you’re more creative than your comfortably snoozing neighbors.
A recent Canadian study has indicated that more creative folk may suffer from nightmares more often than the average sleeper.
Your scary dreams might signal something seriously awesome
People who suffer more nightmares may be more creative than those who dream without terror, a recent Canadian study seems to suggest. The study was published by the Dream & Nightmare Laboratory, Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine, Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal and the Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
The researchers asked nightmare sufferers and those who enjoyed pleasant dreams to react to emotionally charged words with the first response that came to mind.
The results were that nightmare-free sleepers responded with predictable words, like “joy” in response to “happy,” or “mad” in response to “angry.”
But those who experienced nightmares at least twice a week made more creative associations.
They responded to the word ‘angry’ with words like ‘red’ and ‘face,
says lead study author Michelle Carr, Ph.D.(c), of the Dream & Nightmare Laboratory at the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal.
Their minds didn’t follow common patterns of thinking.
That seemingly shows their brains were able to come up with a logical response different from what would generally arise from a more conventional thought process—a potential sign of creativity.
The common link between creativity in waking life and nightmares during sleep might be heightened sensitivity, said Carr.
According to the study creative people tend to experience events on a much deeper level. They’re much more attuned to their emotions and senses, which may allow them to think and express feelings in a more creative manner.
So what’s the end result? When you’re asleep, that insight translates into vivid, intense, and imaginative dreams, she says.
Vivid dreams aren’t necessarily a bad thing
But if you’re stressed or anxious, they can take a negative turn, leading to what we perceive as nightmares instead – and if you’re a more creative type you tend you have much more vivid, and potentially frightening dreams.