For the dream explanation, go read Ninja-Jackie san's answer.
And Cookie's answer is spot on from a Christian point of view.
But when you spoke about experiencing Hell on earth I thought you were talking about something much more horrifying than a nightmare. Dante summed up the meaning of Hell in his Inferno when, over the gate he posted the warning, "All hope abandon, ye who enter here."
Hell is the loss of hope. Despair. And it has many forms ranging to clinical depression in our society (which feel bad enough) to living in a war zone. Think about the atrocities being committed in Syria, Somalia, Columbia, and the rest. Imagine life as a child clinging to life in such places. That's very close to Hell and it has nothing to do with God, thought much of it is related to his followers, of one religion or another.