Story:The Shape Of The Nightmare To Come 50k

The following was written and posted by LordLucan, of the forums, from 2009 to 2010. The Shape Of The Nightmare To Come 50k was his imagining of how the universe of Warhammer 40,000 would change by the year 50,000. As might be guessed from the title, it was an especially grimdark outlook.
Regardless, the writing represents some of the finest Warhammer 40k fanfiction that has ever been posted to the Internet. It is with that in mind that the writing has been copied and posted here, almost word-for-word. After all, posting the stories to two sites better ensures that fans will always be able to access and enjoy the writings in times to come.
Incidentally, as of this edit, the original posts comprising The Shape Of The Nightmare To Come 50k can be accessed via .

Edit: new updates here:

The Shape of the Nightmare to Come 50k

Author’s Aside By LordLucan

This is my 50k speculative background piece. I could only post the first few parts of my twenty-plus part full background document, due to the BL forums going down. Hope this is good enough for now. I’ll update it when BL returns.

Overview of the Second Age of Strife

in the grim darkness of 51st Millennium, the endless war continues.

There was no great conflagration or calamitous final battle.
Across the vastness of the galaxy, the Imperium died. Not with a bang, but with a whimper. The galactic empire of humanity crumbled, its enemies too many, too great and too terrible to imagine. The great conflict of Octavius had no victory, a war without end. In the fiery chasm of strife, the locust and the green holocaust fused, as beast looked upon barbarian and both saw the other as kin. The new entity spread with a speed undreamt of by Ork or Tyranid. War and hunger melded into a singular desire to ravage, rape and remake all in the image of the New Devourer.

The Devourer’s hybrid nightmares were regenerative, and spore-born, combining into a grand horror which murdered the galaxy, leaving naught but fragments as it left. Metallic sentinels of unflinching dread rose up on some worlds, leaving them safe from the New Devourer Waaagh, but instead made them slaves to the silver sentinels, and fodder for their glowing metal gods.

The Eldar race who had held onto life for so long, slowly winked out of existence, one Craftworld at a time. Eventually, even the rumbling hearts of the Avatars fell silent. For a time… In the dead Craftworlds, something slithers through the infinity circuit to this day. Unfortunately, the great god of the dead, Ynnead, is trapped within this infinity circuit, howling its mournful song into the darkness, eternally hungry in its desire to wreak vengeance on She Who Thirsts.

The Tau, naive in their hope of unity, expanded into a realm of corpses and ash. Every world they came across was dead. The hard and unpleasant task of terraforming each world turned the Tau into bitter, self-righteous beings. They were disgusted at the actions of their predecessors, and vowed to not understand their fellow races, but to purge them. Only the Tau could be trusted with worlds. They decided that all others must be cast out. Watching, their patron laughed his sardonic laugh as his puppets were twisted into terrors.

The Golden Throne finally failed. No-one knew for certain what happened to the Emperor. For once the throne fell, no vox or astropathic transmissions ever came from Terra again as warp storms engulfed the planet. The shattered remains of humanity had neither the power nor the will to return. All that is known is that the Astronomican died with the death of Terra, sputtering to nothing over the course of five hundred years. Eventually, the Imperium, its coherency lost by the splitting of its forces against the New Devourer and the sudden surge in warp storms, was shattered like glass. Chaotic cults stampeded through humanity, like electrical surges in an ancient power grid.

With the death of the Emperor, The Inquisition finally lost its facade of unity, and most died, killed by the more powerful within its once hallowed ranks. The greatest Inquisitor Lords seized whole systems for themselves, becoming feudal Kings and Regents. Uniting scattered mobs of their deadly fellows around them in order to wrestle power from local governors.

The church also shattered, becoming nothing more than a series of minor sectarian cults. All save Ophelia. The Adepta Sororitas withdrew from as many worlds as they could, and gathered around Ophelia and nearby systems. Ophelia became a vile charnel house for the Ecclesiarch, who had been driven insane by all he had seen. He gathered his Canonesses, Abbesses and Witchhunters together and put billions to the torch. Any system within range of short warp jumps (as navigators could no long make long jumps, due to the warp storms) of Ophelia were terrorized by the Imperial Church, who searched desperately for someone to blame for this nightmare.

It was said that in those days, a hundred thousand ‘Petty Imperia’ were created from the carved up corpse of the Imperium of Man. Each claimed legitimacy and claiming to be led by a leader chosen by the Emperor as he finally died. Some even claimed to be the Emperor reborn. Humanity, so scared in their huddled masses, believed this heresy without question, too afraid to imagine a universe without their father and protector.

The noble Space Marines fared little better. Most Chapters utterly disintegrated as their forces, who fought individual missions across the galaxy, found they could not return to their Chapter Masters. In the darkness and loneliness, many Marines chose the only path they knew: War. They became rogues and near bandits, pillaging Imperial worlds for the war effort as they would say in justification for their actions. It was said the White Scar and Raven Guard war bands were the worst, as they were so swift and ruthless in their pillaging.

The Black Templars retained the most of their original fervor, and merely continued their crusades. They became full worshipers of the God-Emperor, and High Marshall Dorstros declared a new and greater crusade – To destroy every human that did not submit to them and the God-Emperor, and purging everything and everyone else. Their zealotry blinded them to their own heresies, as more and leaderless Marines, desperate for orders and purpose, tagged alongside the Black Templars’ crusade. Millions of rag tag former Imperial Guard and massive mobs of flagellating Imperial Cultists quickly joined the crusades’ march across the stars. Soon, their depleted numbers, drained from the wars with the New Devourer, had nearly reached two thousand Astartes, representing the second largest single group of Imperial Marines still in existence (second only to Grand Sicarium). Yet, no matter how large their crusade got, the Templars were naught but a band of raving fanatics.

Ultramar was renamed Grand Sicarium, under their new ruler, Cato Sicarius. His realm became a holy site for the other Ultramarine successors. Their fractured remnants gathering around Ultramar like a swarm of flies. Sicarius declared himself High King, decreeing that those under his protection should worship him as the god he was. Sicarius became the ruler of his own little empire, the angelic Marines and ordinary mortals under his decree became his worshipers. Upon Macragge itself, the fortress of obsidian was crafted; the heads of Agemman and Calgar were stuck upon great steel pikes. A grim demonstration of Sicarius’ desire to rule all. Ultramar became a darker place in those centuries.

Those Forge Worlds still intact after the collapse of the Imperium either fell to chaotic or Dragon-cult invasions. Some were ransacked by rival warbands, desperate for tech priest slaves to help them work their stolen technologies. These slaves became bartered like currency amongst the various larger Petty Imperia, as they became known now. Some Forge Worlds simply sealed themselves off from the galaxy entirely, their Fabricators for once preferring ignorance over knowledge of what lay beyond.

Chaos became a raging torrent in these dark millennia, rising to levels of corruption not seen since the Age of Strife. Worlds were dragged into the Warp as whole planets were over-run by rogue psykers, madmen, and monstrous Space Marines. The Chaos Legions became virtually indistinguishable from rabid bands of former loyalists. Some groups slaughtered in the name of Dark Gods, others just slaughtered.

Abaddon the Despoiler seized massive swathes of space around the Eye, being careful to not disturb the New Devourer, as it blundered around him. Dodging like a skilled swimmer giving a swarm of predatory fish a wide berth, he avoided them. Abaddon and his 200th Black Crusade plunged into the Sol system. It is there that legend tells of the war of two spheres. Here, Abaddon faced the army of the Dragon transcendent, a vast army of fallen Mechanicus and those same silver sentinels that already plagued thousands of worlds.

The confrontation was epic in scale. Warped-spawned magic and daemonic machinery and weaponry battled arcane weapons of unimaginable power. The vast serried ranks of Necron and Pariah, which covered nearly every solid world in the Sol system like a silver carpet. In the end, Abaddon was forced to merely surround the ort cloud. The Dragon had ensured the solar system was his.

His, save for a single orb of diamond-hard stubbornness: Titan. It stood a stony fortress, its doors sealed from the Necrons by adamantium and heavy cannons, its soul sealed from Abaddon by the cold steel cage of faith encasing the hearts of the Grey Knights and Custodian Guard trapped upon the world. All other humans on the world had perished a thousand years previously, yet the ancient warriors stood firm, a shadow of the Imperium’s past glory.

In the turbulent energies of the Warp, the Chaos Gods also suffered. For with the end of the Emperor, something else was stirred. Birthed upon the death of the Carrion Lord on Terra, the Starchild suckled upon the raged religious lunacy of the dying Imperium, consuming every soul remaining upon Terra in its birth pangs. This is what killed the Astronimicon. Ophelia became a focus for this dark zeal. At the dawn of the 50th millennium, the Starchild became the Star Father, and the Warp became a battleground. For a brief instance (or perhaps an eternity. In the warp, none can tell for sure) the Star Father became dominant over the Chaos foes. Then, with the sickening inevitability of the great game of Chaos, the Star Father became one amongst the five, an god of order amongst gods of chaos.

Where they spread chaos, He spread oppression. Where their daemons were feral nightmares that rend souls, His daemons were faceless automata, enslaving the souls of humans into servitude. The Star Father’s daemon worlds sprung up in the Eye and across the galaxy in the closing millenia of this dark age. They were globes of featureless gold, with golden faceless daemons and billions of mindless, empty humans. The inhabitants of these worlds shuffled across the surface for no particular reason until they simply died of starvation or fatigue.

It is the 51st Millennium and I cannot wake up from this nightmare! I cannot wake up!

The Shape of the Nightmare to Come: Section Navigation

  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Overview of the Second Age of Strife
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 01: Cadia, Abaddon and the Western Chaos Imperium
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 02: The Situation in the East: The Tau Empire
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 03: The ‘Petty Imperia’
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 04: Angels Unleashed: The Space Marine ‘Free Companies’
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 05: The Adamantine Worlds: The Adeptus Mechanicus, The Awakening, and The War of Two Spheres
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 06: Church of the Deluded: Grand Sicarium
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 07: The Crusade of Insanity: The Templars on the Rampage
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 08: Ravagers and Rogues: Piracy in the Second Age of Strife
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 09: The Unseen Wars
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 10: The New Devourer
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 11: The Last Solar Bastion: Titan
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 12: Warriors of Fortune: Mercenaries in the Second Age of Strife
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 13: The Wolf Lords
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 14: The Star Father Incarnate
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 15: The Dying: Biel-Tan, the Eldar, and the Lord of the Dead
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 16: The Blackheart’s Reign: The Eastern Chaos Imperium
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 17: The Webway Wars: The Net Breached
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 18: The Xenos Resurgent: Alien Empires of the Second Age of Strife
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 19: The Fist Clenches: Strongholds of the Sons of Dorn
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 20: The Hammer Shattered: What Happened to the Imperial Guard?
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 21: The Psychic Apocalypse, The Black Ships, and the Nex…
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 22: The Blood and the Sword: Blood Knights of Baal, and the Legacy of Mephiston the Undying
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 23: The Cognate (200.M43 – 992.M48)
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 24: Legends of the Hermit
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 25: Of the Webway Waaaaggh…
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 26: Of the C’tan and the Ophilim Kiasoz
  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 27: (In)famous Persons of the Second Age of Strife

Continued in Warhammer 60K: Age of Dusk

YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic

It is the 51st Millennium and I cannot wake up from this nightmare! I cannot wake up!—From the Introduction, and It Gets Worse from there.

What’s worse than Warhammer 40k? Warhammer 50k. The Orks and Tyranids become a hybrid, The God Emperor has perished, the Imperium is shattered, the Necrons reawaken, Chaos reigns supreme, and that’s just the beginning. The sheer amount of despair and horror can be unnerving at times, and the often Lovecraftian style of writing amplifies these elements. Basically, this is to 40k as 40k is to Star Wars or Star Trek. The story can be found here. Note that since it is posted on a forum, there will inevitably be some posts between the updates. There is now a sequel, The Age of Dusk, which can be found here.

Because this is a fanfiction of Warhammer 40000, please consult that page for tropes pertaining to the original universe of which this fanfic is set.


  • All Your Powers Combined: The New Devourer is basically what happens when the optimal hybrid forms of Ork and Tyranid are created by the Octarius war; they then decide to eat their forebears and everything in the way (i.e. half the galaxy).
  • The Alliance: The Thexian Trade Empire.
  • Anticlimax: Ynnead, the Eldar God of Death which will rise up and finally defeat Slaanesh, comes into existence early. It’s trapped in the Infinity Circuits, though.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: In a truly horrifying version of the Star Child theory, the Emperor upon death becomes the Chaos God of Order.
  • Balkanize Me: The fate of the Imperium, which collapses into thousands of “Petty Imperiums”, all trying to re-unify the galaxy.
  • Came Back Wrong: The God-Emperor / Star Father, as noted above.
  • Corrupt Church: The Ophelian Imperium.
  • Dark Fic: Of Warhammer 40000. That should be saying something.
  • The Empire: Abbadon’s Chaos Imperium, Grand Sicarum (previously known as Ultramar), Huron Blackheart’s Chaos Imperium and the Tau, to name a few.
  • Eldritch Abomination The Ophilim Kiasoz, which unmakes solar systems just by passing by them. Also the Star Father and the Nex. The New Devourer could possibly be this, but it’s hard to know since it was Put on a Bus (it did eat about half the galaxy beforehand, though).
  • Evil Versus Evil: Abbadon’s Chaos Imperium versus the Perturabo-Angron alliance (Abaddon wins), and later on Abaddon’s Chaos Imperium versus Huron Blackheart’s Chaos Imperium (ends in a draw).
  • Fallen Hero: Commissar Yarrick, hero of Hades hive, butcher of Betek.
  • Framing Device: The story presents itself as a scholar’s record to collect and store the history of the Post-Imperial galaxy.
  • A God Am I: Cato Sicarius.
  • God Is Evil: The Star Father, the aforementioned Chaos God of order.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Many Forge Worlds become this, often combining it with Mordor. Ironically averted with the surviving Eldar, who manage to trick their way into top positions of several Petty Imperiums (the Exodites), become pirates (the Corsairs), or become The Empire (Biel-Tan).
  • Last Stand: The Imperial Fists on Terra, the Orks on Octavius, the Space Wolves on Fenris, the Grey Knights and Custodes on Titan…
  • Our Angyls Are Different: They’re the daemons of the Star Father.
  • Private Military Contractor: The Free Companies (Astartes for hire), the Kroot (not suprisingly), Janisar’s Fremen (no, not those Fremen), and the Serf-Soldiery of Krieg (formerly the Death Korps of Krieg), among many others.
  • The Reveal: At the end, it is revealed that the (in-universe) author of the Fictional Document is none other than Inquisitor Kryptmann, the person who first “discovered” the Tyranids. He joined the Order of the Recollectors in order create a summary of post-Imperial history, which is the story itself, as mentioned above. In addition, the Hermit mentioned is in fact Vulkan, Primarch of the Salamanders, who is building an empire centered off Armageddon.
  • Scavenger World: Even more prevalent than in 40k. Gerhed Lussor’s Rogue Trader Empire is an entire star empire based on scavenging.
  • The Cavalry: A villainous example. Typhus the Traveller and his fleet arrive just in time (although it actually took them two weeks to traverse the Warp) to reinforce Abaddon’s fleet during his war with Perturabo and Angron. The Nurglesque vessels besiege the Goliath Engine and heavily damage it, enough for Abaddon’s capital ship to finish it off and win the battle.
  • Truce Zone: Belius, the Barter King’s world, free geld.
  • Ultimate Evil: The Nex, which is hinted to be related to the deepest layers of the Warp, and the Ophilim Kiasoz, of which almost nothing is known except for the above.

Nightmare Effects: The Evolution of a Horrifying Character Mask

Photo by Jason Ragosta

As a child, I had an overactive imagination. Most people would consider this a gift, but when you’re a kid sent to bed at 8 or 9 at night, with insomnia… it’s terrifying. It’s the scariest thing in the world. Shapes come out at you from the darkness, swirling tentacles and teeth and eyes. Every noise you hear in the hallway or outside your room is some kind of madman with a knife, or monster ready to eat you. Every pair of headlights that pass by your window is an alien ship coming to abduct you. Needless to say, this was a huge problem for me. And, basically, I needed to solve this problem.

—Jason Ragosta, World-Building: Experiments in Immersive Storytelling | TEDxConstitutionDrive, June 2015

Writer-director Jason Ragosta faced his nightmares as a young child, making a deal with them — to write them, to draw them, to sculpt them; to tear down the walls they were confined within and create whole worlds for them to roam. Such deals have led to a lifetime of creativity with dark tendencies, to exorcise demons and shine light on a more human side of things.

These demons and nightmares are explored in Boy in the Dark, a short horror film. The film centers on Jake, a young boy who copes with the recent death of his mother by drawing monsters in his sketchbook. By night, Jake is paralyzed as his imagined terrors come to life, and life is no better during the day as he faces bullies at school.

Photo by Jason Ragosta

Photo by Jason Ragosta

No Need for CGI

Aiming to shoot with 100% practical effects, Ragosta teamed up with Margaret Caragan of Oakland, California-based Pandora FX to bring this nightmare into reality.

As longtime friends and collaborators, Ragosta and Caragan were an ideal pair for this project. Caragan, a seasoned special makeup effects artist, and founder of Pandora FX, has worked with Jason on many projects previous to BITD. Both believe in the power of practical effects, which create characters that are more visceral than their CG counterparts. Ragosta explained, “In my opinion, the horror genre is better served by practical effects, where physical effects can better tap into our mortality.”

The Road to Boy In The Dark

Ragosta was developing a film using VR technology when he put it on hold to start BITD. The idea was jumpstarted by a TEDx talk he gave in June. The talk led Ragosta to recall his childhood nightmares, which ultimately landed him on his chosen creative path.

Spurred by the talk, his friend and fellow filmmaker Tom Pankratz suggested he take his childhood experiences and turn them into a film:

His idea had a pulse because of what the kid was going through, influenced by what happened to in his own life. I told him, this is the type of film you should make. It had a great premise and the environment was right in his wheelhouse. I thought this idea… would resonate with audiences and go beyond standard genre fare. Boy in the Dark goes beyond that, and has a legitimate chance to strike a chord with audiences.

In the following weeks, the script was written and storyboarded, character sketches were completed, a crew was assembled, and a successful Indiegogo campaign exceeded its goal.

Creativity Borne from Constraint

Though the Indiegogo campaign exceeded its goal, the producers kept a judicious stance on budget. Even for a short made amongst a passionate group of artists, $11,000 goes quickly, especially when practical effects, creatures, and custom design are involved. The team also faced a short timeline: conception to principal photography was just under three months, but the heads involved all felt the constraints made a better product in the long run.

Caragan felt right at home when faced with the tight circumstances. “I love limits!” she says. “Money will always be an object. And, when time is no object, things can be loose and soft as far as getting the creative juices flowing, so when you’ve got limited resources and time, that creates inertia, which for me is the key to great special makeup effects opportunities.”

As the film’s costume and wig designer, I could say the same for myself. Working with a small budget means that I know immediately what materials I can work with — and then that’s when the creativity comes into play. Instead of spending money, I’m spending my time learning new processes and treatments, and figuring out how I can transform, for example, a plain cotton into something terrifying and beautiful. How can I manipulate, texturize, transform, and combine all these elements in a way that serves the story and the character, and does justice to the writing and other artists involved?

However, despite the limited timeline and budget, no one was happier than Ragosta seeing his nightmares come to life. Most filmmakers dream of large budgets and a generous pre-production, but Ragosta felt that BITD was best served by its budgetary and time limitations. “It forced us to simplify things,” says Ragosta. “Boil the story down to its essence. Which actually helps in a short film.”

Bringing Diana to Life

Ragosta did the preliminary designs for the creatures, most notably for Diana. Diana is sketched by Jake, and takes form as his underworld mother while asleep. Ultimately she helps him face his real-life bully. Caragan and I took these designs as our starting point, and designed our Dianas both individually and collaboratively, seeking Ragosta’s feedback along the way.

Ragosta and Caragan’s Diana went through several in-tandem reconceptualizations. Using Ragosta’s first sketches as input, Caragan furthered her research by looking at similar designs and ideas. After a preliminary sculpt, Caragan felt she needed to push the character further. For inspiration, she looked to artist Paul Komoda, and his work helped encourage Caragan with the direction she wanted to head in.

After a reboot and additional sculpt days, humanoid anatomy and eyelids were added to the forehead and Caragan was ecstatic with the result. “One of the things about my job is that the spectrum of what I do means that I’m often learning while I’m working. Multi-eye sculpt and placement was new and I wanted to make sure that it made Diana leap off the screen as much she leaps of the pages of Jason’s sketchbook.”

Caragan wanted to combine her prosthetic forehead with a facial prosthetic from RBFX, designed by Miranda Jory. “I felt that since loved vertical lines, I wanted him to see this and use it. He loved it. So from there, the design evolved to become more transformational, which of course brings me great joy.”

Photo by Margaret CaraganPhoto by Margaret CaraganForehead prosthetic sculpted by Margaret Caragan; mid-face prosthetic is from RBFX by Miranda Jory. Photo by Dylan Baxter

Playing Dress-Up

I decided to create a costume as close to the sketch as possible. What resulted was a hybrid of sketch and high fashion — a sketch brought to life, precisely what Ragosta had expressed to me as his ultimate goal.

Photo by Jason Ragosta

Working expressly in black and white, I created a multi-textured dress with hand-sewn trim, and black dye painted to mimic sketch lines. To finish, the white skirt was dip-dyed to create a gradient effect, so that on camera it would look like it’s disappearing into the darkness of Jake’s bedroom.

Photo by Rachel Dagdagan

For Diana’s wig, Ragosta offered inspiration from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. “Gary Oldman as Dracula is one of my favorite characters, so designing a wig inspired by Eiko Ishioka was a huge privilege for me.” Starting with a pre-made lace-fronted wig from Arda, I cut and styled it into a shape echoing Ragosta’s sketches. To finish, I painted in dye to distress and bring the wig into the same realm as the rest of the costume.

With the costume and the wig done, the final step was for Ragosta to make the crown. He made the base out of aluminum wire and fine wire mesh, and introduced texture with twine, hot glue, and Sculpey teeth. The crown was finished with Smooth-Cast ONYX from Smooth-On, resulting in the final piece that would be instrumental in bringing his character to life.

Photo by Jason Ragosta

Shooting the Nightmare

With just one day allotted for special makeup effects, it was essential for the entire team to be on point from the moment we got to set. Ragosta began to shoot what he could without Diana, and Caragan set each artist to a task. “I was buzzing on coffee, confidence, and passion. From the moment the team started rolling in, I was like a magnet, sharing with each member what I needed from them and rolling the makeup forward as fast as possible,” she says.

Photo by Dylan BaxterPhoto by Dylan BaxterPhoto by Dylan Baxter

Caragan soon realized she was missing something from her kit, and had to improvise around it:

One of my major challenges came from being so stressed and sleep-deprived from juggling this project with an emergency surgery for my mom. Keeping my eye on the ball as a filmmaker was a challenge against trying to be my mom’s foundation. I’d forgotten a product that would have helped me blend the edges of the prosthetic and paint faster. Regardless, I just used extra glue to blend the edges, which took more time to build and dry. I’m very happy with how everyone stepped up and rocked it. I feel this is my film family and we are there for each other. I have so many things I want to do for the team and it feels amazing that such creative, dedicated, and great people showed up to be a part of this. One of the unique things about Boy in the Dark is that this time, it wasn’t just a passion project for someone else, we did it for ourselves.

The crew made our day and Ragosta captured everything he needed to bring Diana, and the rest of the story, to life. Because of the tight schedule, this day on set was the first time Ragosta, Caragan, and I saw our work combined.

Photo by Rachel Dagdagan
“Diana was a three-way collaboration between , , and myself — bouncing ideas and designs off of each other that we didn’t really see the full version of her until all of our combined work came together on set. Which ended up AMAZING,” says Ragosta. Photo by Jason Ragosta

What’s Next

With BITD heading into post-production, Ragosta is looking toward his next projects. “Hopefully the film will be finished before the end of the year. We currently have a list of festivals that we will be submitting to as soon as it is finished and plan to have a digital download release once the festival run is finished.” Now, he’s getting back to developing his VR short, Ballad of Celia Lee.

While initial thoughts on VR tend toward genres like exploration and documentary, Ragosta will use this new technology to combine practical effects and high-concept costumes with horror. Touching on VR during his June TEDx talk, Ragosta said, “The biggest thing with this technology is that we should experiment. Experiment, and not reduce it. VR can be used to take down walls and create real or imagined worlds, tell stories that connect us through human experience and imagination.”

There is no doubt that Pandora FX will be key in creating Ballad of Celia Lee, and beyond that, Caragan has her sights set on a big 2016. “I’m looking for larger scale prosthetic projects and people to collaborate with in animatronics and puppeteering. I’m looking forward to making more original characters. Our next projects involve much more practical effects and I’m aiming to top myself.”

Completing BITD has been instrumental in bringing Caragan and Ragosta’s collaborations to the next level. “We’ve always enjoyed collaborating,” says Caragan, “but over time our sense of how he develops a design and how I execute has merged into a unit where we get to throw out ideas and talk about how to make things that we’re dreaming of making. It was a perfect storm of time, money, artistic discoveries, and racing the clock that produced a look I’m proud of. All in all, we gave birth to an amazing, beautiful creature together.”

Artist Credits

Jason Ragosta and Pandora FX are eternally grateful to all artists involved in this project.

Margaret Caragan – Makeup Department Head, Lead Prosthetic Makeup Artist; Jason Ragosta – concept art, “Diana” crown; Rachel Dagdagan – Costume and Wig Designer; Consuelo Lopez – Key Makeup Artist; Melissa Capistrano – Hair and Makeup Artist, Special Makeup Effects Artist; Tony Aldrich – all moldmaking and prosthetic runs; Josie Rodriguez – Hair and Makeup Artist, eyelash application on “Diana” forehead prosthetic; David Ainsworth – Senior Prosthetic Makeup Artist; Kristin Ainsworth – Makeup Assistant; Julian Bonifiglio – additional moldmaker and lab technician

5 Weird Reasons You Had a Nightmare

Nightmares aren’t just a kid thing: Every now and then, we all get ’em-they’re super common. In fact, The American Sleep Association suggests that between 80 and 90 percent of us will experience at least one throughout our lives. And horror movies aren’t the only culprit. We talked to experts about five (surprising) reasons that could be behind why you woke up in a panic.

You Boozed

A night on the town can lead to a freaky night in between the sheets (…and not that kind of freaky). Alcohol is a huge cause of nightmares, says W. Christopher Winter, M.D., a sleep expert and medical director of the sleep medicine center at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, VA. For one, booze suppresses rapid eye movement (REM) sleep-which is when we dream, he says. Then, as your body metabolizes your drinks, dreaming comes roaring back-sometimes making for intense nightmares, he explains.

Alcohol also relaxes your upper airway. When you drink before you sleep, your airway wants to collapse more, he says. “The combination of dreaming and not being able to breathe regularly can create a situation where you have a nightmare-often involving drowning, being chased, or a feeling of suffocation,” he says. Your body basically takes that feeling of struggling to breathe (which may actually be happening) and creates a story around it-likee that a wolf is chasing you. (Find out how else alcohol messes with your sleep.)

You Slept Somewhere New

We’ve all woken up in a hotel bed in the middle of the night not knowing where the heck we are. A change in setting can be anxiety-inducing-and that element of confusion can creep into your dreams, says Winter. Sleeping in foreign places can also sometimes mean you’re waking up more in the middle of the night, which can disrupt your snooze and lead to nightmares, he adds.

You Ate Dinner at 10 P.M.

Lying down on a full tummy can trigger acid reflux, which might disrupt sleep, says Winter. And while some research suggests that certain foods (like spicy ones) are to blame for bad dreams, the more likely reason for freaky dreams is that your sleep is simply being disturbed. In fact, anything that causes sleep disruptions-young kids waking you up, a room that’s too hot, or a dog as a sleeping partner-can cause nightmares, says Winter. When your body is busy trying to cool itself down, digest food, or filter out a snoring spouse, your sleep is thrown out of whack, which can make for scary dreams and more wake-ups throughout the night. (Make sure to fill your pantry with The Best Foods for Deep Sleep.)

You’re Super Stressed

If you go to bed with fears and worries, you’ll likely find that your dream are filled with similar content, says Winter. In fact, some research suggests that 71 to 96 percent of people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may have nightmares. But other studies also show us that small stressors like an upcoming presentation, an athletic competition, or exposure to trauma via the media can disrupt our minds while we sleep. (Will Melatonin Really Help You Sleep Better?)

You Slept on Your Back

If you snooze on your back, you may have more breathing disturbances-and thus, the possibility of more nightmares, says Winter. “Generally, sleeping on your back creates a position where the airway is less stable and more likely to collapse,” he says. And just like with the drinking, this need for air could be translated to scary imagery in your mind. (There are more Strange Ways Sleeping Positions Affect Your Health too.)

Why we have nightmares, and what they mean

Psychologists usually define a nightmare as ‘a terrifying dream’. Most children experience nightmares – some even nightly, but they usually outgrow them. Adults with frequent nightmares have traits related to either the ‘terrifying’ aspect and/or to the ‘dream.’

These are:

1) Anxiety: Often the same people experiencing terrifying dreams are more afraid of their daytime world.

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2) High dream recall, and vividness of dreams and waking imagery: Many of the people with frequent nightmares also report more vivid, beautiful, ‘peak experience’ dreams.

Most of the drugs which increase nightmares also increase either general anxiety (some malaria meds) or vivid dreaming in general (antidepressants). Likewise rarebit (cheese) or spicy foods may wake you up more to remember all sorts of dreams but are not specific to nightmares. So nightmares are a result of anxiety or a vivid dream-life – or often both.

Nightmares themselves fall into two categories. One is ‘garden-variety’ nightmares. Much like other dreams, these have a fantastic narrative, and the terrifying threat is often one seen only in film or fiction – a witch is chasing you, teeth or other body parts falling away, a completely law-abiding dreamer who has inexplicably murdered someone.

There is a flood of relief upon awakening and finding oneself in the sane, safe world. Some people want to stop these nightmares – but some find them interesting or don’t much mind them. Others downright enjoy them: I’ve heard many people compare their nightmares to the thrill of horror films.

Dreamers distressed by garden-variety nightmares shouldn’t just try to suppress them, however. It’s more useful to reflect on your nightmare or interpret them with. You may gain insight into stresses and fears – (see below for more on how to do this). And nightmares can inspire creative types. When I was researching my book, The Committee of Sleep, I found writers and artists used their dreams in their work, but nightmares had an especially high rate of incorporation – probably because they are such unusually dramatic, powerful dreams.

The second category of nightmares is the one no one wants to have: post-traumatic nightmares. After a person has suffered a horrific event, they tend to have recurring dreams which re-enact that event – either completely literally or often with a bit of dream-like distortion or by making the trauma even one step worse than waking life. These nightmares re-traumatize the dreamer, making them feel like the horror has just happened, even if it’s years in the past.

They’re not like other dreams, including garden-variety nightmares – both of which happen mostly during Rapid Eye Movement Sleep. Post-traumatic nightmares happen across all stages of sleep. They may have at least as much in common with daytime ‘flashbacks’ as with other dreams and nightmares. All victims of post-traumatic nightmares want them to stop. Fortunately there is a good treatment that helps many victims.

Unlike the garden-variety nightmare, there is little point in trying to understand why the post-traumatic is happening or what it’s about. The most effective treatment is what is called ‘imagery rehearsal therapy’ or ‘incubating’ a ‘mastery dream’. This grew out of the observation that many who’d been having post-traumatic nightmares, would eventually have a ‘mastery dream’ in which the event changed in some positive way. Sometimes this was realistic – they escaped from the attacker or someone put out the fire; in other cases, it changed in a fanciful, dreamlike way – the burning house or attacker shrunk down to minute size that couldn’t hurt them.

Therapists who noticed this found that they could talk to clients about it and just hearing about the phenomena made it somewhat likelier to happen. Then we began specifically coaching them on “how would you like your dream to turn out differently?”.

For interpreting garden-variety nightmares or re-scripting post-traumatic nightmares, many dreamers find they can do this effectively on their own, but others may want to seek out a therapist trained to work with dreams.

Parents can help children understand nightmares with some of these same interpretative questions phrased in child-friendly language.

Children are also subject to another scary sleep phenomena, night terrors. Rare in adults, the night terror consists of awakening in terror with no content at all or a simple image or idea. Kids who experience this often scare their parents with screams but go right back to sleep and don’t remember it in the morning. Just keep in mind night terrors diminish dramatically after a few years. Nightmares decrease too, but many adults still have this frightening but potentially insightful experience.

How to interpret your nightmare:

1. Think about each main element in the dream. “What is a witch? What are my associations to a witch? When did I first hear of witches?” etc. for every main character or action.

2. Think about how you felt in the dream: “What in my waking life gives me that feeling in the pit of my stomach I had when the witch was chasing me down the hall?”

3. For recurring nightmares, ask yourself, “Which nights do I have nightmares and is there anything I can identify that’s been different in my day?”

4. Put those associations together. If witches make you think of the Hansel & Gretel witch who locked up the children in her house and you got a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach when your boss announced yesterday that you were being assigned to a particular work group, you’re well along in figuring out what the dream is telling you.

Nightmares and night terrors are both scary and can cause sleep disturbances, but they are not the same thing. Knowing some of the main differences can help you understand what’s going on and discover possible steps you can take to improve sleep.

Nightmares occur during REM sleep. Nightmares, or dreams with explicit, unsettling content, occur most often during REM sleep, when the brain is most prone to vivid dreaming. Because they happen during REM sleep, nightmares often occur later at night or early-morning hours when the brain reaches that part of the sleep cycle. Night terrors, on the other hand, tend to occur earlier, during non-REM sleep.

Nightmares are vividly recalled. Typically, someone who experiences a nightmare will awaken immediately with a pretty clear recall of the bad dream. Often, children will want to talk about the bad dream and have their parent reassure them that everything is ok.

On the other hand, someone experiencing a night terror may shout, sleepwalk, or appear scared for several minutes before relaxing back into sleep. Later, that person will only have a vague recall of the dream. Although it can be distressing to witness, night terrors aren’t harmful and chances are the sleeper won’t even remember it in the morning.

Night terrors are more common in kids. While anyone can experience a nightmare or night terror, the latter is much more common in children than adults, especially if they’re between the ages of four and eight. Night terrors typically go away on their own as a child gets older. Nightmares, meanwhile, can affect any age.

Whether the concern is night terrors or nightmares, if frightening dreams are keeping you or your child awake at night for several nights (or weeks) in a row, consider talking with your doctor or your child’s pediatrician. Sleep disruptions, whether you remember them or not, can negatively affect daytime energy levels, leading to a negative spiral of events. Discuss the situation with a medical expert to be sure your child—and you—get the good night’s sleep you need for a healthy life.

Photo: Pelly Benassi (Unsplash)

If you’ve ever been jolted awake during a particularly awful nightmare, you know how jarring it can be. It would be one thing if the experience ended there, but for a lot of people—myself included—the feelings of fear, anxiety and/or depression brought on by a bad dream can be hard to shake. It’s a terrible way to begin the day, especially if you’re someone who regularly deals with anxiety.

Fortunately, there are ways to recover from a nightmare, so you can start your day off fresh. Lifehacker spoke with two psychiatrists to find out how.


Why we can feel depressed or anxious after a nightmare

Before we look into how to recover and start your day after a bad dream, let’s look at why nightmares have the power to do this to us in the first place. According to Dion Metzger, M.D., a psychiatrist based in Atlanta, a disturbing dream presents just like reality. “Similarly to how we would feel after a scary real-life experience, we can have the same reaction of anxiety, sadness or even anger following a bad dream,” she tells Lifehacker.

And that’s part of the reason why our brains have been wired to quickly forget our dreams, says psychiatrist Alex Dimitriu, M.D. “Otherwise, we would not be able to distinguish our waking from our dreaming lives,” Dimitriu, who is board-certified in both psychiatry and sleep medicine and the founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine, tells Lifehacker. He says that dreams are “sort of the best VR simulator around,” which is also what makes nightmares especially scary.

In fact, it’s that “realness” of dreams that causes us to continue to experience feelings from the dream—whether that’s joy, sadness, fear or anxiety—upon waking. “There is some theory that we process emotions and feelings in dreams, and in some cases if the emotions are too strong, we wake up, and never get to ‘process’ these thoughts,” Dimitriu explains. “This is believed to be the case with PTSD, and why people with PTSD continue to suffer and wake with disturbing nightmares by night, and flashbacks by day.”


What we can do to recover after a nightmare

The first step to dealing with the aftershocks of a nightmare is to acknowledge the anxiety and other negative feelings that bad dreams can cause, Metzger explains. She says that anxiety is a natural response and nothing to minimize or be ashamed of. “I’ve had patients admit that they’re embarrassed that they feel so upset about a dream,” Metzger notes. “It doesn’t matter if the cause is a dream or a real experience; our brain responds similarly.”


Next, try and process the content of the dream—something Dimitriu says is consistent with the treatment of PTSD—especially if it is a recurring theme or dream. “The goal in the morning is not to bury the feelings, but to confront them—to journal, to discuss, and to give them some time and thought,” he explains. “My approach to therapy is the ‘bogey man model,’ which basically says as long as you are afraid of the dark and keep running, you remain afraid of the dark, and, well, keep running. The goal of most therapy, and certainly in dealing with nightmares, is to confront the fear. Sometimes we need help doing this, which is where therapy becomes instrumental.”


The idea here is to actively process the dream, working through your thoughts and feelings about it. Just make sure to get up and start your day, instead of staying in bed and stewing.

Photo: Masaaki Toyoura/Getty Images

I haven’t slept very well this week (I blame a very enjoyable concert which forced me to miss my bedtime by three full hours), and perhaps as a result, have had some pretty gnarly nightmares. And I do not use the word “gnarly” lightly, or perhaps ever at all before now. My dream last night was so upsetting that I actually don’t want to describe it, for fear that will somehow make it come true, but I’ll just say that it involved a family member’s extremely gruesome health emergency. (I was watching Making a Murderer part two before bed, which certainly didn’t help.)

Thankfully this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me too often, but when it does it’s jarring, and leaves me emotionally drained and anxious all day — even though I know what I dreamt isn’t “real.” I tend to feel guilty about dwelling on something I only imagined, but according to Alice Robb, author of Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey, out later this month, it’s normal to experience real, bodily effects after traumatic dreams. “Emotions and stress experienced in dreams can have very real emotional and physiological consequences,” she says. “There are even a few reported cases in which nightmares seem to have contributed to heart attacks.” (Oh, great.)

Fortunately, there are some strategies people can employ to reduce their nightmares’ frequency and harm. In the long-term, Robb suggests learning to lucid dream, or even just practicing lucid dreaming techniques during the day. In her book, she writes: “If people can learn to become conscious in their dreams, they can wake themselves up or even banish their dream-foes.” She describes a 2006 experiment done by psychologists at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, in which the researchers asked some participants to practice lucid dream induction techniques on their own, gave private lucid dreaming lessons to others, and then left a third group untreated. Both groups that practiced lucid dreaming techniques saw fewer nightmares as a result: “Patients who learned in private sessions started out with an average of 3.6 nightmares, and that number went down to 1.4,” Robb writes. “ the improvement didn’t depend on achieving lucidity; several people who never managed to become lucid in their dreams still had a reduction in nightmares.”

Not to brag, but I lucid dream all the time, and am often able to exit my nightmares this way — I first figured it out as a kid, when I realized that, to escape whatever was chasing me, I needed only to find a yellow circle and climb through it. As an adult, I mostly just … recognize that I’m dreaming, and either wake myself up, or change the narrative. (I also have this thing where, when I dream of flying, I’ll start to “sink,” and then have to sort of propel myself back up by reminding myself I’m dreaming? This is probably interesting only to me, sorry.) But with certain nightmares — those involving the injury to or death of a loved one — that option never seems to pop up.

In those cases, Robb offers two more (unofficial) techniques.

Write down your nightmares.

“I find that writing down a nightmare in the morning is helpful,” says Robb. “Dream recall is sharpest right when you wake up, and I like knowing as many details as I can — rather than having that hazy feeling of ‘WTF happened last night to make me feel this way?’” Dream journals are often recommended as a means to greater self-intuition, but they can be more utilitarian, too. In Robb’s usage, the journal is a place to preserve the memory, so that when you still feel upset or exhausted hours later, you can turn back to your description and remember why. Putting the dream on paper rather than leaving it in your head can be a way to validate the feelings it may give you.

Talk about your nightmares.

If writing your dreams down isn’t your scene, or even if it is, sometimes it’s helpful to — yes — talk about your dreams with a willing listener or two. “I’ve found that talking about frightening dreams with my friends can help defray their emotional impact,” says Robb. “For example, the other day, I dreamed that I was at a party for law-school students and pythons, and because I wasn’t in law school (dream logic), it was my job to keep watch over the pythons. I woke up terrified! But then I sent it to the group text and my friends lol-ed and I appreciated that it was kind of funny.” It IS funny, but I can also see how it wouldn’t have been to Robb. And while this might not apply to every nightmare, talking (or texting) about it can still be helpful. Again, it makes the dream feel real enough that your reaction is legitimate, and it gives your friends or partner a chance to support you, in whatever way your dream might warrant.


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What Is a Nightmare?

A nightmare is a bad dream. Almost everyone gets them once in a while — adults and kids. It can may make you feel scared, anxious, or upset. But nightmares are not real and can’t harm you.

Why Do I Get Nightmares?

Stressful things that happen during the day can turn dreams into nightmares. Nightmares may be a way to relieve the pressures of the day. This usually means dealing with things most kids have to face at one time or another: problems at home, problems at school, and stress from sports or schoolwork. Sometimes major changes, such as moving or the illness or death of a loved one, can cause stress that leads to nightmares.

Another thing that may cause nightmares is watching scary movies or reading scary books, especially before you go to bed.

Sometimes if you are sick, especially with a high fever, you may have nightmares. Some medicines also can cause nightmares. Let your parents and doctor know if you notice you are having more nightmares around the time you started a new medicine.

But sometimes you might have a nightmare for no reason at all.

How Can I Prevent Nightmares?

Here are some tips you can try to get nightmares under control.

Get into a healthy sleep routine. Try to go to bed about the same time and wake up at the same time every day. Unless you’re sick or didn’t get enough sleep the night before, avoid naps during the day. Avoid eating or exercising just before bedtime. Avoid scary books or movies before bedtime.

Sleep with a stuffed toy or favorite blanket. This helps some kids feel more secure.

Use a nightlight. Even if you gave up yours up years ago, you might want to turn it back on. With a nightlight, if you awake from a nightmare, you’ll be able to see familiar things and remember where you are.

Keep your door open. This will help you remember that your family is close by. If you are scared, get up and find someone for reassurance. You’re never too old for a hug!

What if the Nightmares Don’t Go Away?

Most of the time, nightmares are not a big problem. It often helps to tell a trusted adult about your bad dreams. Just talking about what happened might make you feel better. If something has been troubling you during the day, talking about those feelings also may help.

Some kids “rewrite” their nightmares by giving them happier outcomes. Another trick is to draw a picture of the bad dream and then rip it up!

Sometimes it helps to keep a dream journal, a notebook in which you describe the dreams you can recall. Tracking your dreams — good and bad — and how you felt before you went to sleep can give you a better sense of how your mind works at night.

If you have nightmares a lot, you and your parent might want to see a counselor or a psychologist to help you deal with your bad dreams. It will give you a chance to talk about some of the things bothering you that may be related to your nightmares.

Rarely, kids with frequent nightmares may need to visit a doctor who can see if the nightmares are because of a physical condition.

Remember, nightmares are not real and they can’t hurt you. Dreaming about something scary does not mean it will happen in real life. And it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person who wants to do mean or scary things. Everyone has nightmares now and then.

You aren’t a baby if you feel afraid after a nightmare. If you need to snuggle with a parent or even a sister or brother, that’s all right. Sometimes just talking to a parent or grabbing a quick hug may be all you need.

Nightmares may be scary for a little bit, but now you know what to do. Sweet dreams!

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD Date reviewed: May 2018

What are the Most Common Nightmares?

No one loves experiencing a terrifying nightmare, yet almost everyone has had one.

To find out what wakes us up in the middle of the night and causes our heart to beat out of our chest, we surveyed 2,000 people about their anxiety-fueled nightmares. It turns out we tend to be scared or anxious about the same things. We then broke down the data further by gender and relationship status. Continue reading to see what we discovered.

When You Fall Asleep, and Keep Falling

Many of our respondents’ nightmares were shrouded in fear, which is no surprise considering the word “nightmare” is defined as a dream full of extreme anxiety or sorrow. Nearly 65 percent of our survey takers experienced falling most frequently in their nightmares. While this type of nightmare is nearly universal, experts don’t quite know what causes people to dream this way. One theory suggests that when your muscles relax as you enter sleep, your brain interprets it as an actual fall. Another theory suggests that dreams about falling are a result of your nervous system gearing down for the night.

Nightmares about falling were followed closely by dreams about being chased (more than 63 percent). Other distressing nightmares included death (roughly 55 percent), feeling lost (almost 54 percent), feeling trapped (52 percent), and being attacked (nearly 50 percent).

While not as common, dreams focusing on poor performance – whether at school or in the bedroom – sustaining an injury, seeing dead people, and drowning also made an appearance on the list.

Relationship Nightmares

Our survey concluded that nightmares about abandonment aren’t uncommon, but the data also suggest that infidelity is a major concern for both men and women, especially in their nightmares. According to NPR, 1 out of every 5 Americans has been unfaithful while in a committed relationship. Other polls suggest that 41 percent of marriages feature at least one partner who has admitted to infidelity, and 57 percent of men have admitted to cheating on their partner in one relationship or another.

Interestingly enough, single men were more than twice as likely as single women to report nightmares about being abandoned or cheated on by a significant other. Women who were in committed relationships, however, had slightly more abandonment and infidelity dreams than men in relationships. The percentages only continued to rise once wedding vows were exchanged – around 50 percent of married women reported having distressing nightmares about abandonment and infidelity.


Teasing the data out a bit further showed that more than 65 percent of women surveyed tended to have nightmares about their significant other cheating on them compared to almost 35 percent of men.

Other significant divergences between men and women included nightmares about a loved one dying. More specifically, nearly 61 percent of women dreamed about this unfortunate event, while roughly 39 percent of men have experienced the same. This may possibly have something to do with gender stereotypes and the expectation that women are the caregivers of the family.

Additionally, nightmares about technology malfunctions tended to occur more commonly in men (almost 66 percent), while about 60 percent of women reported having dreams about bugs crawling on them. This isn’t surprising considering that the Zika virus has become a major concern in recent months, especially for pregnant women. Women are also more apt to have nightmares about fires or their house burning down (about 62 percent).

The Fears in Our Dreams

A wide variety of things can cause nightmares, including daily stress. Major life changes – such as a move, a new job, or a death in the family – are particularly stressful, as are traumatic incidents, such as an accident, attack, or injury.

In our survey, we asked people to tell us what fears they most frequently experienced in their nightmares, and we found that the majority of respondents (nearly 53 percent) had nightmares that focused on dangers to their well-being. Work-related fears accounted for almost 17 percent of recurring nightmares, followed by family and relationship issues (both 12.5 percent). Nightmares about friendships and health were each mentioned by fewer than 4 percent of respondents.

Bringing It Home With You

Nightmares can and do follow us home from work. According to our survey, broadcasters and journalists were often plagued by nightmares about missing a deadline, probably because their daytime hours can be filled with the same horrors that dreamland has in store for them. Those in the arts, entertainment, or recreation industries seemed to be haunted by dreams about being naked at work, while respondents in almost every industry had frequent nightmares about being late to work.


Nightmares are an unfortunate reality for most of us, but they can be a way to subconsciously work out normal and excessive stresses in our lives. Whittling down the data, we found that engaged couples dreamed about abandonment and infidelity the least. At the same time, it came as no surprise that nightmares about dangers to our well-being were pretty common, while work-related terrors followed directly behind.

To help you get a more restful night of sleep and put those anxiety-filled nightmares behind you, check out and their impressive line of eco-friendly, high-quality mattresses.

Tips for Healthier Sleep

Getting quality sleep doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Below are simple steps you can take to fall asleep fast stay asleep longer.

  • Limit the use of technology before bed. This isn’t necessarily only an issue with blue lights but how stimulated we are making our senses. Watching an engaging movie or working a late-night project for work keeps the mind active and is counterproductive to a good night’s rest.
  • Eat a healthy diet. What you eat (and when you eat it) plays a significant factor in how your body falls asleep. Eating too close to bedtime can lead to digestive issues that are not conducive to quality sleep. Stick to eating at least one hour before sleeping and avoid red meats, spicy foods, and caffeinated snacks.
  • Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. There is plenty of literature about the benefits of daily exercise. Sleep experts are starting to see how exercise also promotes better sleep.

Another thing to consider? Your mattress. The best mattresses are ones that support your body’s natural sleep posture while reducing pressure points. Reducing pressure points helps to keep you from tossing and turning.

Sleeping on a comfortable mattress and following the steps above play a significant role in getting refreshing sleep each night.


We surveyed more than 2,000 people regarding their nightmares and dreams. To make the data easier to read on the infographics, we rounded percentages to the nearest tenth. This may cause some figures to only add up to ninety-nine percent.


Fair Use Statement

There’s no reason that using the above images as you wish should cause anxiety that may manifest later as a nightmare. We welcome you to share and use them! All we ask is for you to please link back to this page so the designers and authors of it get credit for the work they put in.

About the author

McKenzie Hyde is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and a full-time writer focused on sleep health and the mattress industry. She currently writes articles on a variety of topics, ranging from sleep hygiene to the newest trends in the mattress and bedding industry. Just some of the topics she has covered include best sleep practices for students, the consequences of going without sleep, and choosing the right bed if you suffer from back pain. McKenzie Hyde holds a Master of Arts degree from Utah State University where she studied literature and writing. While there, she taught argumentative writing and wrote a variety of articles and analyses for literary and academic journals.

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I Had a Nightmare Last Night about THE Toilet

Last night i had experienced some trouble staying asleep. I awakened and snacked on something sweet. Anyhow, i suppose i had a bit much of this snack food. When i fell back into a slumber I “Had a Dream.” Actually it was rather not a dream but a horrid nightmare.

I had dreamed that I found a stack of seemingly perfect textbooks, being thrown out of a teachers library. So, I took it upon myself to find a “Good Home” for these texts. I knew friends in past times who always stored books in their bathrooms. I thought that to be rather strange place to store books. But I copied their idea, and put all these books that were being thrown out, onto a nice designer book case also in the same bathroom.

Then I received a phone call from sum Officious School Maintenance-Plumber guy. He had told me that his toilet detector has detected an Unflushed Toilet in the Library. So he demanded of me to go and flush the latrine. Being a good person and all I went right away and naturally flushed the toilet.

The toilet began overflowing, and it was as bad as all the flooding on the news currently. Only the toilet was overflowing onto the bottom shelf of the text books which I had just found a new home for in the bathroom.

I suppose I was right all along w/ my hunch that the bathroom Really wasn’t a good place to store books, at least not at toilet basil level. I shall try Not to eat too many of the sweets, which I had eaten last night, when i couldn’t sleep.

In Korean, how do you say the phrases “I had a nightmare last night” and “I had a dream last night”? And how do you talk about what happened in your dreams? For example, what would this sentence be: “Last night I had a dream that I was a mother. I had 3 kids and a husband.” I’m curious how you discuss dreams. 🙂

See a translation

Question 16 Oct 2019

English (US) Question about Korean Answers What are “disagrees”? When you “disagree” with an answer The owner of it will not be notified. Only the user who asked this question will see who disagreed with this answer. OKEnglish (US) Near fluent Korean Near fluent @MaggieLee123 나 어젯밤에 악몽 꿨어
나 어벳밤에 꿈 꿨어 0 likes 1 disagreeKorean 1. 나 어젯밤에 악몽(nightmare)/나쁜 꿈(bad dream) 꿨어
2. 나 어젯밤에 꿈 꿨어
3. 나 어젯밤에 꿈 꿨는데 내가 엄마였어. 자식도 3명 있었고 남편도 있었어.
when I talk about my dream, the sentence usually starts with 나 꿈 꿨는데 ~, and I use past tense to describe the experience in the dream, same as what you wrote in english! 0 likes 0 disagrees Highly-rated answererKorean 0:00 0 likes 0 disagrees Share this question Newest Questions

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I had a nightmare

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