Our parents, grandparents and ancestors who suffered extreme stress may have methylation, which is a process that causes chemical changes in DNA (genes). This subsequently influences how genes are expressed in their bodies. These genes can stimulate the brain to invent certain types of dreams.
Do you see recurring dreams or nightmares which you can’t explain? Have you talked to your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents about their lives, experiences, bad times and dreams? Do their narratives strike a chord with your dreams and nightmares? If you recognise elements of commonality in your dreams, then you may have inherited their methylation, which in turn influences dreams and/ or nightmares.
Can we stop nightmares? Yes, if we can tackle the factors that trigger nightmares. We can try to desensitize ourselves to the triggers. Being no longer afraid of triggering stimulants, this will not invoke the nightmare. This process usually takes time. Meanwhile, you’ll experience decreasing frequency of nightmares. Even if you see a nightmare, it is likely to be less intense than previous ones, is short in duration, and it stops sooner than your old nightmares.