You went to sleep last night and woke up feeling tired. There’s also this feeling that you dreamed all-night long. You’re not alone if you’re wondering whether dreams can make you feel tired.
So, are you asking yourself: why do I dream too much and wake up tired?
Vivid dreams can make you feel tired during the daytime. There can be several causes for excessive dreaming. The most common one is anxiety. It may also be a side effect to medication or pregnancy other times. Besides, you may also experience vivid dreams for underlying mental health issues.
Several other factors may trigger vivid or excessive dreaming. This article will explain everything you have to know, along with some prevention tips. So, make sure to keep reading till the end.
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Why Do Vivid Dreams Occur?
At times, you can tell why you’re waking up feeling tired. A week without sleep worrying about finals will do that for you. But other times, it’s not easy to pinpoint what might be the real reason.
In this section, you’ll learn more about the several factors that may cause a vivid dream. So, you’ll be getting the answer, “why do I dream too much and wake up tired?” here. Buckle up because there’s a lot to know.
Anxiety or Stress
Stress may trigger several weird sleeping sensations. And among them, vivid dreaming tops the list. Anxiety or anxious thoughts may appear in dreams often of these stressed individuals.
Problems with school, academic stress, family, or friends may trigger intensely real dreams. The panic and emotions may linger even after they are gone. It may even persist throughout the day. You may even be able to recall the details of the previous night’s dream.
Major life stressors can impact the quality of sleep significantly. It also makes it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Daily stress may also contribute to the frequency of dreams. The more stressed you are, the more vivid dreams you may experience. Traumatic events may also trigger stress.
It’s particularly true for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder. Car accidents, sexual abuse, a loved one’s death may cause emotions to internalize.
Not processing these emotions may lead to frequently dreaming vividly. Research suggests that individuals with PTSD experience nightmares. And these nightmares allow the patients to revisit their trauma repeatedly.
Side Effects on Medication
No medication is free from side effects. Antidepressants can sometimes increase the frequency of experiencing vivid dreams.
In particular, some antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, can cause bad dreams.
This class of antidepressants links more closely with vivid dreams. Prozac (fluoxetine) users report the increasing occurrence of vivid dreams.
They can also recall their dreams in more detail. Research evidence also backs up this claim.
Besides, certain prescription meds for Parkinson’s disease also increase the frequency of vivid dreams. Studies confirm that these may include beta-blockers, such as Toprol XL and Lopressor.
Scientific investigation links metoprolol with sleep disturbances and vivid dreams. Besides these, drugs that boost quitting smoking may also be responsible for your vivid dreams.
Insufficient or Fragmented Sleep
If you scroll up, you’ll see the previous section mentioning vivid dreams occurring in REM sleep. So, waking up after or during this time may increase the chances of experiencing a vivid dream. Research investigations also confirm this finding.
Besides, sleep deprivation may also cause vivid dreams. A study compared the REM sleep of participants. On one night, they were REM sleep-deprived. The following night, they experienced a longer REM cycle.
Incidentally, the intensity of dreaming also increased that night. Additionally, change in the regular schedule or traveling may also increase dreams.
Narcolepsy and insomnia are also common causes of having vivid dreams. Individuals with narcolepsy often describe their dreams to be intense and bizarre. And incidentally, research also supports this idea.
In narcolepsy, the line between sleep state and wakefulness starts to blur. People suffering from narcolepsy feel fatigued in the daytime. They may even fall asleep without warning and lose control over their muscles.
These individuals go right into REM sleep as soon as they fall asleep. So, they may experience vivid dreams, lucid dreams in particular, even during short naps.
Substance Abuse and Alcohol
Research suggests that ketamine, cocaine, and marijuana affect sleep quality and dreams. These dreams can seem very real and unpleasant.
Besides, individuals recovering from drug addiction may also have vivid dreams of using the substance they were addicted to. So, withdrawal from these drugs may trigger nightmares.
Mental Health Issues
Several people experience nightmares if they’re struggling with mental illness. Research data show that these may include:
- Complex PTSD or C-PTSD
- Generalized anxiety disorder or GAD
- Major depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
Nightmares can indicate the beginning of a manic or depressive episode in people with bipolar disorder. Other times, as research shows, these dreams can occur even before the disorder’s onset.
As the previous points mentioned, people with PTSD repeatedly face their trauma in their dreams.
These dreams are termed intrusive dreams, which can often cause insomnia. It’s especially the case when one with PTSD fears falling asleep.
Dreams are also more frequent if people with mental illness relapse into it. For example, it may be the case for schizophrenia and dissociative disorders.
Studies show that people with depression have longer to go to REM sleep. In turn, the rapid eye movement during their sleep increases. So, people with depression also report experiencing more bad dreams than healthy individuals.
At times, physical illness may also accompany vivid dreams. The immune system takes charge while we’re asleep and repairs damaged cells and tissues.
It’s one of the reasons you need quality sleep to remain healthy physically and emotionally. Without quality sleep, your immune system faces a tough time combating illness and keeping you free of diseases.
Researchers have well-documented the relationship between the immune system and sleep. Several scientific investigations show that certain illnesses may cause vivid dreaming and nightmares. One study, in particular, observed 1,233 people with cardiovascular disease.
Among these participants, 19% were depressed, 17% suffered from anxiety, and 15% had a minimum of one nightmare per month. The authors found strong correlations between cardiovascular disease, anxiety, and insomnia.
Moreover, cancer patients have frequent nightmares and are more prone to insomnia. Studies find that these are the distress of having cancer may be causing these side effects.
At times, early pregnancy may also be at the root of having vivid dreams. Pregnancy involves changes in the pregnant women’s hormones, emotions, and sleep patterns. Nightmares can also be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy.
The stress of bearing another human and growing could trigger vivid dreams. Besides, the fear of delivering a tiny baby may also be to blame.
One of these reasons doesn’t need to be the cause of you having vivid dreams. You can also wake up and feel tired without having dreams. But if you suspect one of these to be the cause, there are steps you can take.
Prevention of Vivid Dreams
There are some side effects of vivid dreams. These may include sleep resistance, mood disruptions, and feeling sleepy during the day.
In most cases, vivid dreams go away on their own, typically lasting only a while. If your dreams cause you distress, you might want to consider medical intervention or lifestyle changes. So, prevention is better than cure.
Sleep specialists may suggest you make some modifications in life. This section will highlight a few treatment options and prevention tips for your intense dreams.
Managing Anxiety and Stress
Stress is necessary for leading a life. But when you overdo it, it’s a problem. It’s safe to say that everyone experiences extreme stress at least once or twice in their lifetime. Some people are much better at managing it compared to others.
If you feel super overwhelmed and think that your anxiety is getting out of hand, you might want to consider the following.
- Relaxation tricks
- Deep breathing
- Art therapy
- Investing time engaging in hobbies
Some people love journaling or reading. It’s essential to set time aside for yourself when things get a bit much. If you’re not relaxed, you’ll have trouble falling asleep. And when you do go to sleep, you might have intense dreams.
Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene
Paying more attention to your sleep hygiene will sign you up for sleeping better at night. Effective sleep hygiene includes a consistent sleeping routine and bedroom environment.
Your bedroom or sleeping area should be soothing to you and disruption-free. Herbal tea may also help you sleep better. Besides, here are a few other things you can try.
- Consider cutting off caffeine and avoiding alcohol. You should stop drinking caffeine six hours before you go to sleep. Other stimulants such as chocolate or nicotine should also be on your list to avoid.
- Limit your screen time before going to bed. Maybe read a book or listen to some soothing music before you go to sleep.
- Pay more attention to the temperature in your room. Make it comfortable enough and remove excess noise and light. Using earplugs is also a good idea. Keep your bed warm and cozy.
- Don’t take too many naps. While naps can replenish your energy, too many will keep you up at night.
- You can also practice relaxing exercises. Make sure you’re physically active and eat your last meal early. You can try falling asleep to calming-white noise.
The basic concept of sleep hygiene is the same. But it differs from person to person. So, there’s a chance some of these techniques may work for you. Focus on what does work for you, and you’ll be okay.
Sometimes when a problem persists, you might need medical intervention. If the intense dreams you’ve been having are a product of physical illness, consider visiting a doctor.
The doctor will know what to do about your vivid dreams. Moreover, the chances are that the intense dreaming will go away after your physical illness subsides.
Most physicians won’t recommend using medication for vivid dreams. But if you have them for traumatic experiences, doctors may prescribe you sleep medication. It depends on how often you get nightmares and the degree of your anxiousness.
Stay Healthy and Get Exercise
It’s a good idea to work out 20 to 30 minutes every day. But remember to avoid exercising just before you go to sleep. Develop better eating habits with a nutritious breakfast and maintain a healthy weight.
Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day. But most importantly, look after yourself mentally, and talk about what distresses you.
Imagery Rehearsal Therapy
This therapy is beneficial for people who experience nightmares for their trauma. Naturally, a mental health professional usually administers this therapy. It involves changing how your nightmare ends.
The entire process takes place when you’re awake. Imagery rehearsal therapy aims to make your nightmares not threatening anymore. Your psychologist will ask you to play over the nightmare in your head.
They’ll also ask you to assign a non-threatening and new ending to your dream. The end target is to reduce the frequency of your vivid dreams.
Melatonin facilitates the sleep-wake cycle. Research data does support the idea that melatonin boosts sleep quality, though it’s conflicting. It does seem to reduce sleep disturbances and vivid dreams to some extent.
A recent study investigated people with REM sleep disorder and found that melatonin supplements reduced frightening nightmares. But in other situations, melatonin increases REM sleep, making vivid dreams more frequent.
Is dreaming every night bad?
A healthy individual dreams three to six times every night. Nightmares may occasionally impact the quality of sleep. But dreaming too often, in general, does not mean anything unless you wake up tired.
Are vivid dreams and lucid dreams the same?
Lucid dreaming is when you are aware that you’re dreaming. To clarify a bit, it means you can tell that what you’re dreaming isn’t real. Any dream occurring during REM sleep is a vivid dream. Lucid dreams also happen during REM sleep. So, lucid dreams can be vivid dreams.
Can vivid dreams make you sweat?
Nightmares that feel too real can make you sweat. Sometimes, it may even induce panic attacks while you’re sleeping. When we panic, sweating is an immediate reaction.
Sleep is crucial to function healthily. Not getting quality sleep or experiencing intense dreams could impact your daily activities. Spending too much time being anxious or some lifestyle choice could induce vivid dreams.
It’s important to remember that research evidence linking meaning to dream is weak. If your vivid dreams are disturbing you, remember that dreams usually don’t mean anything. The only thing it could mean is: you’re stressed. Hopefully, you know the answer to, “why do I dream too much and wake up tired?” I hope these tips work for you. Good luck.