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悪夢ばかり見る「悪夢障害」の原因と対策

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人それぞれ体感度は違いますが、見ていて恐怖や不快感を感じる夢を「悪夢」といいます。実はその悪夢、就寝前の行動によって、どんな夢を見るかが決まるそうです。誰でも悪夢は見たくないものです。夢を見ないことは不可能ですから、見るなら良い夢を見たいですよね。

こちらでは、悪夢ばかり見る「悪夢障害」の原因と対策をご紹介します。

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悪夢ばかり見るのは

悪夢障害とは

木

「悪夢」自体は、医学的に解明されていませんが、悪夢が続いている状態は健康な睡眠状態ではありませんね。夢は誰でも見ています。しかし、実際にその内容をハッキリと覚えている人は少なく、断片的であったり、ストーリーが支離滅裂であったりします。ところが、悪夢の場合は覚えている場合が多いので、悪夢ばかり見ていると感じる方もいるようです。悪夢が続いて睡眠障害を起こす状態は、「悪夢障害」と診断されます。

悪夢を見る主な原因

悪夢を見る主な原因として、以下のものが挙げられます。

病気や就寝姿勢
睡眠時無呼吸症候群などの酸素供給不足の場合、「苦しい」という気持ちが悪夢を引き起こすことがよく知られています。健康な人でも、うつぶせ睡眠などをすると酸素供給能力が低下し、やはり「苦しい」という感情が生まれてしまいます。その場合、人間は自然に苦しさから逃れようと寝返りをうつのですが、寝返りをうてない環境にあると、苦しいままになってしまいます。そのときに起こるのが、一気に睡眠レベルが浅い眠りに悪化した結果、(息が)苦しいという悪夢を見ることになります。

ストレス
ストレスが発生する時に悪夢は多く発生します。特に生命が危険にさらされるほどの事故や事件によって起きる心的外傷後ストレス障害では、8割の人がその出来事に関連した悪夢を3ヶ月以内に見るようになります。脳は起きているときに考えている不安要素を、そのまま夢にまで引きずってしまう傾向にあるといわれています。しかもストレスを抱えているときはノンレム睡眠になかなか入れないため、夢を見やすくなります。

うつ病等の精神疾患
またうつ病等の精神疾患からくる不眠の場合には、もともとの眠りが極めて浅いため、夢を見やすく、脳が不安あるいは不安定状態にある病なので、悪夢を見やすくなってしまいます。この場合、導眠剤等でなるべく深く眠る対処療法しかありません。また精神を楽にする抗うつ剤の中には、悪夢を見やすくなる全く逆の副作用をもたらすものもあり、その場合は薬の変更を医師に申し出た方がよいでしょう。

眠る前の食事
睡眠直前に食事をとってから寝ると、悪夢を見やすいと言われています。睡眠中に胃が消化モードにはいると、胃に血液が集中し、脳に血液がまわりにくくなります。脳が限られた活動しかできずにストレスが発生し、結果として悪夢となってしまうケースが多いのです。また寝ているときは胃の消化が悪く、胃がむかむかします。これもストレスとなり、悪夢につながってしまうのです。

アルコール
アルコールは睡眠が浅くなるレム睡眠になってしまい、夢を見ない状態のノンレム睡眠に落ちる事を妨害してしまう作用があります。しかも体内で睡眠中に毒性の強いアルデヒドに代謝されていくため、睡眠の質はかなり悪くなり、夢も悪酔いとなってしまいます。

悪夢を見ないためには

悪夢の対策方法

悪夢を見ないためには、夢を見ない脳が休まるノンレム睡眠を増やす必要があります。ノンレム睡眠を増やすためには、睡眠前にリラックス神経といわれる副交感神経を活性化することが必須です。

副交感神経を活性化するには、以下の方法が効果的です。

  • 寝る前にぬるめの湯にゆっくりと浸かる
  • ヨガや瞑想、深呼吸などでリラックスする
  • 寝室をよりくつろげる環境にする
  • 寝る前に食べない
  • アルコールやカフェインをとらない

悪夢障害の治療

あまりにもひどくて睡眠に異常をきたす場合、専門医の診察が必要になります。悪夢障害の治療としては、認知行動療法やEMDR(眼球運動脱感作療法)、IRT(心像リハーサル療法)などが行われています。悪夢の原因となるストレスへの対処法を学んだり、悪夢を見ても必要以上に強く反応しない方法を学びます。IRTでは自分が見たいと思う夢をイメージするトレーニングを繰り返します。

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まとめ:悪夢障害の原因と対策を知ろう

悪夢は普通の夢と違い覚えている場合が多く、悪夢ばかり見ていると感じるようです。悪夢が続いて睡眠障害を起こす状態は、「悪夢障害」と診断されます。悪夢を見る原因をおさらいしておきましょう。

  • 病気や就寝姿勢
  • ストレス
  • うつ病等の精神疾患
  • 眠る前の食事
  • アルコール

寝ている間くらい素敵な夢を見たいですよね。この記事を参考に、夢をコントロールしてくださいね。

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