Nightmare During High Fever? Here's the Cause

Have you ever had a scary nightmare when you had a high fever? Usually a high fever accompanied by nightmares often occurs in children. However, it is also possible that adults will have nightmares when sick. This is certainly very disturbing your rest, especially recover from a fever or illness. So, it is important to know what causes nightmares when you have a high fever and what steps can be taken to prevent them. Check out the full answer below. 

Dreams experienced when a high fever 

Usually, nightmares that occur when a person has a high fever occur during the REM or rapid eye movement stage of sleep. This stage is reached approximately 70 to 90 minutes after you fall asleep. Dreams that occur during a fever usually feel very real and threatening, as if the frightening event really happened in the room you slept in or related to things that happened that day. So scary, many people will wake up from sleep and be able to clearly remember the contents of their dreams. Some people also report that after successfully falling back asleep, the same nightmare will continue or repeat itself. Nightmares during high fever are also often accompanied by delirious conditions, restlessness, or even sleepwalking. 

You will wake up feeling uneasy, between scared and tired but also angry because you just want to rest. If you or your child is experiencing this, calm yourself down by drinking warm water or turning on a bedside lamp with a soft light. Also make sure that your body temperature doesn't spike up during your sleep. 

Why do you have nightmares when you have a high fever? 

There are various factors that can trigger you or your child to have nightmares during a high fever. Here are the things that can cause nightmares. 

Increased body temperature 

When you are hit by a high fever, your body temperature, especially in the head, will increase. Changes in temperature will have a direct impact on how your brain works. Temperatures that are too hot or above 37 degrees Celcius run the risk of causing you to hallucinate and become disoriented if you are awake. However, when you fall asleep, the brain will also emit images that feel very real and clear through nightmares. This happens because fever will interfere with and slow down the work of enzymes in brain cells. This causes the chemicals in the brain to be out of balance. 

In addition, when you reach the stage of REM sleep, you will lose control of your body temperature. This happens because the body's function to regulate body temperature is also rested when you fall asleep. As a result, when you have a high fever, you body temperature can rise even hotter when you have a high fever, your body temperature can rise even hotter when you reach the REM stage of sleep. A heated brain will become very active even though your body is sending signals to stay rested. This is what will cause nightmares. 

Effects to drugs

High fever is generally caused by certain diseases. The drugs you take to cure the disease can apparently cause nightmares. Antibiotics, antihistamines, and drugs for blood pressure are some examples of drugs that have the risk of causing you to fall asleep and have nightmares. The reason, these drugs can affect the levels of chemicals in the brain and disrupt your normal sleep stages. 

Self-protection mechanism

A very high body temperature or heat will be read by your sleeping brain as a form of threat or a sign that something is wrong. The brain also tries hard to wake you up in order to protect or escape from the threat. On the other hand, your body is telling your brain to rest. This eventually manifests in nightmares, where the brain becomes active because it feels threatened but your body stays asleep. 

Steps to prevent nightmares 

If you or your child has a high fever, try to get as much sleep as possible. Make sure you're wearing a cotton t-shirt that's lightweight and absorbs sweat. So if your body temperature rises and you start to sweat, you won't feel hot while sleeping. So, it is also important to maintain the room temperature, not too cold but not too hot. 

We recommend that you or your child also sleepin the room or mattress where you or your child usually sleeps every day. Moving rooms or mattresses, for example to parent's rooms, will increase anxiety in the brain when falling asleep. Strange places will be interpreted by the brain as a threat and you will find it increasingly difficult to rest. 

Also avoid eating too much before bed. This can cause your metabolism to fall apart because when you sleep, your body tries to digest and burn calories from the food you eat. Sleep was so not soundly and your brain can not really rest.