Why Am I Having Weird Dreams?
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How often do you dream of men with guns and knives chasing you or you falling off a mountain? If you have weird dreams like these, you are not alone. In recent times, search queries on “Why am I having weird dreams lately?” have increased considerably in the US.
Your lifestyle, stress, and anxiety might be contributing to these strange dreams. This blog will take you through the various causes of weird dreams and how you can stop having them.
Causes of Weird Dreams
Watching TV Before Bed
Watching your favorite shows might be an exciting way to wind up for the day. But, if it is a ghost movie or a crime thriller, chances are there you will get scary and strange dreams.
You will have difficulty falling asleep since the images from the show will keep hovering in your brain. And when you fall asleep, you might wake up having nightmares. It is more common in children. However, a British study with 2000 adults showed that 60% of the people had weird dreams after watching a scary show.
You Are Super Stressed Out
If you have weird dream stories every morning, you might be stressed. It can be something related to work, the events in your life, or the pandemic in general.
Research shows a direct relationship between anxiety levels and the occurrence of nightmares. When you survive a traumatic event in life, it might keep haunting you, leading to frequent nightmares. However, more research needs to be done on the relationship between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the occurrence of nightmares.
If you are taking melatonin supplements, it might help you fall asleep quickly. However, you may have weirdly vivid dreams if there is an overdose. Melatonin and weird dreams may have a relationship as melatonin is a hormone, and doctors suggest not to mess with hormones as it may have adverse side effects.
Instead of taking melatonin supplements, you can go for natural sleep aids that will not have any side effects.
You might experience withdrawal symptoms if you discontinue medications suddenly. It happens the most with antidepressants.
Antidepressants are a good way to deal with depression, and might help you get back on track. However, if you and your doctor decide it’s time to discontinue the medicines, then you might experience withdrawal symptoms. It might include nightmares and strange dreams among other things.
Not Getting Adequate Sleep
If you have ever wondered, “Why do I keep having weird dreams?”, it might be due to a lack of adequate sleep. Neurologist Mark Mahowald says that when someone is sleep deprived, they will experience greater sleep intensity and hence greater brain activity during sleep. That would lead to vivid dreams that might be scary and disturbing.
Dreams occur during the REM ( Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep. It occurs towards the end of your sleep before you wake up. If you deprive your body of REM sleep, it will have the urge to go back into the REM stage when you go to sleep the next time. Thus, you will experience strangely vivid dreams.
If you have a heavy and spicy dinner just before bed, your body will have a hard time digesting the food. Thus, you will end up tossing and turning in your bed. If your brain remains more active during the night, the chances of having weird dreams increases.
Foods that cause weird dreams include fried and spicy foods with a lot of oil. Consuming alcohol can also lead to strange dreams.
How to Stop Having Weird Dreams?
Knowing what causes weird dreams is not enough. You need to control them if these dreams are taking a toll on your well-being. Here are some superb tips to manage your weird dreams effectively.
You might have a stressful day at work. However, do not go to bed anxious and stressed out. That will only increase the chances of having unpleasant dreams and nightmares.
You can try several stress reduction techniques like deep breathing, exercise, and taking adequate breaks between your work hours. You can also try out yoga to kill your stress and anxiety.
Disconnect from Tech
Keep your phone and other devices away at least half an hour before hitting the bed. The endless notifications will keep your mind racing and you will be unable to get a peaceful night’s sleep. The more active and anxious your brain is, the higher are the chances of having disturbing dreams.
Maintain a Sleep Schedule
Get into the habit of going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. That will ensure you get enough sleep. Getting proper sleep will keep nightmares at bay. We have already seen how sleep deprivation can cause strange dreams.
Imagery Reversal Therapy
IRT or Imagery Reversal Therapy can be helpful if you are having weird dreams lately. Studies show that IRT can reduce the instances of nightmares and also improve sleep quality.
How do you go about it? Follow these simple steps.
- Choose a less traumatic nightmare
- Write in down by giving it a pleasant or happy ending
- Now rehearse the reimagined dream for a few days before going off to sleep.
It will help prepare your brain to perceive the nightmare differently, preventing you from having scary dreams.
A Dreamy Final Word
Don’t keep asking yourself, “Why do I keep having bad dreams?” This blog has outlined the probable causes for you. Find out what might lead to your strange dreams and try to manage them using the tips mentioned.
If your nightmares persist and mess up with your mental and physical health, consult a therapist or doctor immediately.
Surveys show many women report having weird dreams in early pregnancy. However, it may continue in the later stages as weird dreams during pregnancy are quite common.
There is no evidence to show that cheese can give you weird dreams. However, if you overeat cheesy foods just before bed, you might have a restless night and get strange dreams.
Birth control pills can have several side effects and you might get weird dreams.
Melatonin helps you sleep better. However, an overdose of melatonin can cause strange dreams.
If you have nightmares regularly, it might be due to a stressful and traumatic event in your life. You might also be too stressed out by your daily routine.
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