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Suppressing worries can lead to nightmares

A study says that ignoring disturbing thoughts leads to having more dreams or nightmares about them.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2006 11:57 IST

Trying to dismiss your worries and anxieties before getting into bed each night may not be such a good idea after all, for a new study has found that ignoring disturbing thoughts actually leads to having more dreams or nightmares about them.

The study, led by Professor Richard Bryant, a psychologist from the University of New South Wales, Australia, was conducted 100 psychology students at the university.

The researchers found that the volunteers who actively suppressed a persistent worry, such as money problems, just before falling of to sleep reported more dreams featuring the unwanted thought than those who did not suppress it.

Prof Bryant said that the study had shown that the best way to stop a thought from troubling a person would be by facing the subject instead of suppressing it.

“People who are highly anxious, or have a lot of things on their mind, the distraction process suffers, allowing the detection process to predominate, and they are going to think more about the unwanted thoughts,” ABC Online quoted him, as saying.

“If you want to stop a thought bothering you, the best thing you can do is let the subject pop into your mind rather than try to suppress it,” he added.

The study is published online in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy. (ANI)

First Published: Mar 16, 2006 11:57 IST