dream facts

Photo: Thinkstcok

6 of 9
The Upside of Nightmares (Part One)
Now the good news: Nightmares can be good for your mental health. Stressed-out, sheet-dampening dreams actually lead us to a healthier state of mind when we’re awake, finds psychologist Rosalind Cartwright at Rush University. When she studied people undergoing serious stress—a divorce—she found a surprising paradox: depressed people often had dreams that were pleasurable (also short and lacking in detail), while their better-adjusted-and-more resilient peers had those of the ruthless variety (importantly, the nightmares involved the ex). On a subconscious level, dreaming about conflicts helps to resolve inner turmoil at the times when we need to most. This is how we work through our emotions. (Incidentally, women have more nightmares than men do.)