OCT 04, 2018 8:47 AM PDT

Why Do We Have Nightmares With a Fever?

Fever is the body’s response to a threat. When some viruses or bacteria try to enter the body, an immune response begins that can include a sharp rise in body temperature. It happens in the flu, upper respiratory infections, common colds and lots of other illnesses. Once you start to recover, your body temperature will go back to normal, but in addition to being uncomfortable and sick, fevers can also cause some to have incredibly vivid dreams. The brain is part of the body, and since dreaming begins in the brain, it’s easy to see why fever dreams happen.

Fever dreams have been described as including spatial distortions, a sense of falling through darkness and even wild creatures like snakes with two heads or bloody zombies. There hasn’t been much research on fever dreams; however one study did find that it didn’t seem to matter what the cause of the fever was, fever dreams could happen as a result of any episode of prolonged high body temps. A body temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit can cause neurons to transmit signals at a faster rate. In the amygdala, the portion of the brain that regulates fear and anxiety, the excited state of neurons translates to emotionally intense dreams, regardless of what is causing the fever. Cold and flu season is approaching fast so stay rested, practice good hand washing and if you do have a temperature, staying hydrated and using medications to reduce it could help you avoid these sweaty, scary dreams.

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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