What are anxiety dreams and why do we have them?

anxiety

I have an unusual amount of bad dreams. Way more than other people. Until my therapist explained the severity of anxiety dreams.

There are lots of different ways that anxiety dreams can present themselves. It could be through being chased, losing your teeth or even forgetting something important. Sound familiar?

An anxiety dream is a bad dream that causes an overwhelming feeling of panic. These dreams can be very similar to nightmares. However, instead of leaving you in a cold sweat they play on consciousness by increasing stress levels.  Anxiety dreams tend to occur during your REM cycle which is the when our most vivid and memorable dreams take place.

Why do we get these dreams? A variety of factors contribute such as medication, pregnancy and of course stress. Experts believe that anxiety dreams try to reveal something worrying us. Sometimes, it may be an unintentional way of trying to expose ourselves to a dread so that it lessens our fear.

It is not a surprise that we have so many bad dreams because of everyday pressures but it is important to remember that we can do a variety of things to help our sleep.

Get yourself into a healthy night time routine. Good nighttime rituals will protect your sleep, skin, waistline and health. Before you go to bed take 10 minutes to pick up and put the dishes away. A bath is another great way to relieve stress; a nightly bath ritual can detox toxins, soothe sore muscles, stop colds and infections.

Do not drink alcohol before bed. It is a complete myth that it makes you sleep well. If you have  a glass of wine make sure you give it a couple of hours before you go to sleep. Another helpful tip is to make sure that you just keep your bed for sleeping.

Leave the laptop at work and put your phone away. 90 per cent of us use a device during the hour before turning in. Using electronic devices before bed delays your body’s internal clock, suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and makes it difficult to fall asleep. This is largely due to the artificial blue light that’s emitted by these devices. One good substitution is reading. Reading a printed book under lamplight is a great choice.

Keep a notepad by your bed. When you feel anxious after waking up from an anxiety dream, write it down. By reviewing this the next day it will help you address any subconscious thoughts that you might be having with a clearer mind.

If you’re really concerned about your sleeping visit your GP. They will point you in the right direction.

To Read Next:

Four ways TV affects your mental health

How to stop being a people-pleaser

Dating after a toxic relationship

Author: Elizabeth Bennett

Elizabeth Bennett is a teacher based in England, she is obsessed with the gym and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. On her weekends off though, she can be found exploring and travelling the world.

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