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Far less sweet dreams for women

world Updated: Sep 11, 2008 12:54 IST

Women experience far scarier nightmares than men that leave more of an impression when they wake up, a study has suggested.

According to the study at the British University of the West of England, women experience far more terrifying nightmares than men because of changes in their body temperature.

"We found that women reported significantly more nightmares than men," said Dr Jennie Parker, who carried out the study at the Bristol-based university.

The analysis showed that only 19 per cent of men reported having a nightmare compared to 30 per cent of women. Scientists also said women dreams were also more emotional and leave more of an impression when they wake up.

The study broadly categorised three distinct types of nightmare: being chased or hunted; loss of a parent, child or partner and weird and new environments.

Based on the findings of the research on 170 volunteers, psychologists believe changes in a woman's body temperature result of the monthly cycle are responsible for increasing the number of vivid and disturbing dreams. A woman's temperature usually rises after ovulation half way through the monthly cycle and falls again just before a period starts.

"Women who are premenstrual tend to dream more aggressively, and they are also more likely to remember the dreams," Dr Parker was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph newspaper on Thursday.

However, some experts argue that women don't have more nightmares but are simply better at remembering and talking about them.

"Women always remember dreams more than men," said Dr Chris Idikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre.