Dream Experts Examines Why We Have Nightmares

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ennifer Parker, a dreams expert from the University of the West of England, will shed light on some of the mysteries surrounding what makes us have nightmares and reoccurring themes in nightmares at a talk at the Dana Centre at the Science Museum in London on Wednesday 31 October.

Jennifer is currently finalising her thesis that investigates among other areas the critical differences between nightmares and normal dreams. A member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams based in the USA Jennifer has spent the past several years working closely with nationally renowned sleep expert Dr Chris Alford and sleep artist Luke Jerram.

The talk is part of an evening event 'Nightmare on Queen's Gate' where Jennifer will be joined by Dr Mark Blaygrove from the University of Swansea and Dr Nigel Hamilton from the Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy Education.

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Jennifer explains, "I will be presenting some of the findings from my research project that identifies significant differences between nightmares and normal dreams. UWE is the only UK University that has verified data for British students' dream content. The information relates to women's nightmares, and one of the findings is that women experience more nightmares than men. I have been analysing this data for my Doctorate and I have discovered that it is possible to broadly categorise their nightmares into three types.

"These are: the traditional nightmares that concentrate on the threat to survival, nightmares of loss, where the dreamer loses a parent or highly significant other, and bizarre anxiety-laden 'one-off' nightmares.

"I have concluded that dreams mirror real life anxieties and appear to play a role in preparing young adults at critical changing points in their lives and to become aware of these via the experienced dream."

Jennifer's research explores dreams in a much wider context and her findings in full will be released in the near future.

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