Anxiety and Bad Dreams

Anxiety and Bad Dreams


Anxiety has since long ages speculatively and also after research been correlated with bad dreams which can be anxiety dreams, or nightmares, or sometimes, night terrors. Bad dream is a huge umbrella term for these aforementioned specific phenomena. Let’s start off by looking at what is an anxiety dream. 



Now we don’t quite have a lot of control over our dreams, or what we dream about. Dreams are considered to be ways we process our emotions, they may constitute a mechanism for coping with stress. On occasions when we’re under stress and haven’t sought emotional support and have tried to avoid the stressors or suppress our emotions, our dreams can turn into anxiety dreams. These anxiety dreams are unpleasant dreams which cause distress to an individual. They can be more unsettling than nightmares sometimes and can result in you waking up to be panicky or nervous. These feelings of angst may then tend to stay with you throughout the day, picking at you from the back of your mind. Dream analysts, several Psychoanalysts and best psychologists in India have been working on these kinds of dreams for some time. Several say that the individuals who have anxiety dreams may have some negative unprocessed stimulus in their life which their brain is trying to process through the regulatory process of sleep. Some researchers say that anxiety dreams may also be a bi-product of different types of anxiety disorders. Now this does not mean that if you have an anxiety disorder you will get an anxiety dream, but it’s possible and vice versa if you get an anxiety dream, it does not automatically mean you have an anxiety disorder. The best of us are sometimes faced with stressors in front of which we feel incompetent or don’t have the resources to deal with, it is completely fine if our brain tries to process it through an anxiety dream.



We face a number of anxiety dreams namely drowning, being chased, not being able to reach our destinations, falling, and some others. Now how does one deal with these anxiety dreams? Taking care of your sleep and creating a bedtime routine can help immensely in coping up. Also, writing out your dream as accurately as possible can also help you in identifying some key issues which have been troubling you. 



Signs and symptoms of nightmares



  • The dreams appears to be real but very upsetting

  • The theme or the story line seems to be of threat

  • It usually awaken you

  • The result of the dream will make you scared or anxious.

  • While watching your dream you feel sweating in hands or the heart beating faster

  • You are able to recall that dream

  • You are not able to fall back to sleep again because it will make you anxious.


Causes of Nightmare or bad dreams



  • You may be suffering from stress or anxiety

  • You must have gone through some trauma in your life

  • There may be some sleep deprivation like people who are suffering from insomnia are having nightmares on a daily basis.

  • Some medications which are given for anxiety, depression or when you are hypertensive can also trigger bad dreams.

  • When you are having substance abuse.

  • Some disorders like Depression, Heart Diseases and Cancer can also make you dream negative


Now I’ll talk about our big bad nightmares. Our nightmares being related to anxiety is a very real thing. According to some research we experience two dimensions of nightmare stress, it is typically nightmare sleeping distress (distress experienced during the dream) and nightmare waking distress (distress of the remembered nightmare experience).



Individuals who are revealed to their inner conflicts during their nightmares may also experience more nightmare waking distress. Adding up to the aforementioned points, nightmares are quite complex because they are not only caused by anxiety, but they can also cause anxiety and distress. Those who may quite often experience nightmares may worry about going to sleep or would keep contemplating on days if they are going out of their minds. At a point like this it is important to understand what is causing you to feel anxious, it is important to understand the key issues and like I mentioned before for anxiety dreams, the same techniques and therapy could also work. 



Night terror is a pretty serious condition experienced by individuals with sleep disorders or a severe mental health concern. Night terrors are recurring night-time episodes where a person might wake up crying or screaming as if they’ve been terrified. The only thing is that with night terrors we often tend to forget what we dreamt about, unlike nightmares where we remember remnants of our dreams. Night terrors in adults can occur due to depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, also adults experiencing prolonged long-term stress. There are other factors why people can have these, but we’ll focus on just anxiety since that is one of our main variables. For its treatment individuals are suggested to keep a sleep diary, to pay attention to their health history, to find better coping mechanisms to cope with stress and other different techniques. 



Anxiety truly is the underlying issue of a lot of our sleeping problems and can cause us a lot of distress, but with the right help and support we can go on to help ourselves and others to tackle these issues. 



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