dreams that don't require symbolic analysis, TYVM!
November 12, 2005 2:04 AM   Subscribe

Hot Feet => Nightmares!?

If my feet get warm at night, I can guarantee that I will get nightmares; really bad ones. They don't involve my feet being hot, but are definitely triggered by it.

It doesn't matter if the rest of me is hot, just the feet though they'll typically notice any overheating first. Hanging them out to freeze while the rest of me cooks results in no nightmares. Usually I'll get them "just right" but occasionally the temperature shifts overnight or someone rearranges the blankets...

Has anyone else observed this or got an explanation? I've tried googling but found only a bunch of homeopathic crap and/or pseudo-scientific help for parents with children who have odd nocturnal behaviour.
posted by polyglot to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
We dream every night, but normally, we don't remember our dreams. The fact that you remember your dreams is just a sign that you're not sleeping deeply enough. The fact that they're nightmares has little to do with it, maybe you just don't have any pleasant dreams.

I would suggest wearing nightsocks. It seems counterintuitive, but it's really not. Our body needs to cool down ever so slightly to fall asleep, and it can't if your feet/hands/head are too exposed: then it has to burn fuel to keep them warm, while the rest of your body overheats (because it's closer to your core and therefore already warmer than your extremities). Research has shown that people who wear gloves (!) and socks sleep better than people who don't.
posted by NekulturnY at 4:49 AM on November 12, 2005

i am guaranteed nightmares if i eat before bed, so maybe it's just different things for different people
posted by poppo at 5:10 AM on November 12, 2005

I don't reckon that's it - I can only get to sleep if my feet are about the right temperature; often that means having them only under a sheet. It's only a problem in warm weather.

If it's a cold night (less than about 5C in the room), socks are a prerequisite for sleep for the reasons you describe. I can't fall asleep with cold feet, but I must remember not to sleep in late while wearing socks. As the next day warms up, so do the feet and then I'll get a 10am-mare.

My dreams (when I remember them, maybe once every week or so) aren't normally unpleasant at all so I don't think it's just a matter of warm feet waking me up. They're definitely changing the whole theme of the dreams.
posted by polyglot at 5:12 AM on November 12, 2005

poppo, i'm just the same.
posted by mirileh at 5:52 AM on November 12, 2005

Not just my feet, but if I get HOT at night I will get nightmares. Bloody, scary, terrifying. If I get COLD at night, I will get wierd dreams, but not frightening. Like clockwork for me.
posted by vronsky at 5:54 AM on November 12, 2005

And for amazingly vivid, 3-D, better than the movies dreams, use a nicotine patch.
posted by vronsky at 5:58 AM on November 12, 2005

I don't really get bad dreams, but if I get too hot while I'm asleep, I sweat PROFUSELY - I mean, orders of magnitude more than I've ever sweated on the sweatiest day in August. Also, I could NEVER fall asleep while wearing socks and/or gloves - that would seriously freak me out.
posted by sluggo at 6:44 AM on November 12, 2005

And for amazingly vivid, 3-D, better than the movies dreams, use a nicotine patch. Hydrocodone is much better for that type of thing, you'll hardly sleep and still feel as if you had.
posted by IronLizard at 7:32 AM on November 12, 2005

I'll vouch for something like this. If I get too warm during sleep, usually warm enough to sweat and or become uncomfortable, I'm almost garanteed to have night terrors. I need to keep cool. Needless to say, my latest bout of strep 'n fever was a fascinating look into how stressful sleep can be.
posted by GilloD at 9:27 AM on November 12, 2005

My fiancee had terrifying nightmares when she slept next to a heating vent. We switched, but I didn't have any problems.
posted by thewittyname at 3:25 PM on November 12, 2005

I get that whenever my feet are too cold. So, I wear socks to bed. Glad to know I'm not alone in this!
posted by spinifex23 at 9:37 PM on November 12, 2005

ah well, good to see there are a few other miswired freaks like me :)
posted by polyglot at 2:00 AM on November 13, 2005

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