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IslamQA: Islam and nightmares

assalamu aleikum, i came here to ask if you know what can cause nightmares? my family has noticed that sometimes (rather rarely but when it happens its kinda intense) i talk and scream during my sleep, this night i woke up shaking and screaming just because my sister accidentally touched my foot, i cant imagine what causes such episodes because every night before going to sleep i recite ayat al kursi, al falaq, an-nas, al ikhlas and al fatiha, and we always put on al baqara all night long (pt 1)'

(pt 2) i have always had trouble sleeping even when i was a little kid i used to sleepwalk/talk. but now its a little scary because my father even told me he once heard me woke up in a fury and make suffocating noises as if i just saw someone standing before me, but i can never remember anything. should i go see an imam?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Nightmares can be caused by sleep apnea. These are especially nightmares in which you find yourself paralyzed and unable to move or speak. The fact that your father mentioned you making suffocating noises strongly suggests that you have sleep apnea. If you sleep on your back, start sleeping on your side and that could help put an end to it. If you find that you roll on your back during sleep, you can start sleeping in the fetal position with your hands lodged between your thighs.

If your problem continues, then I suggest seeing a sleep doctor. I would check out all possible medical explanations before trying to find mystical ones.

For more on why we should avoid mystical explanations for such things please see: The Islamic Case for Scientific Empiricism and Skepticism toward Supernatural Phenomena

 

And God knows best.
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