Can Stress Cause Nightmares? – Is There Something You Can Do?

Can Stress Cause NightmaresToday I woke up from a strange nightmare that seemed like a terrifying horror story. So I started to think about stress and bad dreams because recently I was feeling stressed. Are they related?

Can stress cause nightmares? What do you think? Do you have this kind of experience? Does Stress cause bad dreams for you?

If stress causes nightmares, how can you avoid them or wake up when you encounter them?

Can Stress Cause Nightmares?

In general, I think many of you know that when people are stressed, it’s not easy to get a good night sleep. And in the morning many of you feel awful and not ready to face new challenges and enjoy your day.

If you often can’t get a restful night, everything keeps getting worse day by day.

Can Stress Cause Nightmares

Sadly, nowadays stress impacts every part of our lives, and if we don’t do something about it, we can get overwhelmed by stress and experience terrible consequences to our health and well-being.

Both stress and anxiety may trigger a nightmare. You know how hard is to wake up from a bad dream. Right? Some people even wake up loudly screaming like my grandmother sometimes does. I am lucky because I never experience something like that even when I was stressed and anxious.

Can Stress Cause Nightmares

I wonder, what kind of nightmares do you have?

I remember that I had bad dreams which were related to impending tests in school or university. I am sure you also had this kind of nightmares about some exam or event, that you were worried about.

Can Stress Cause Nightmares

What Can You Do?

Stress and anxiety come in many forms, and sometimes worries, tension, and fears show themselves also in your dreams. Yes, and it looks like you can’t escape from daily stress even in dreams.

This is why you need to relieve stress and relax every day. Of course, there is another way to avoid nightmares or get control over your dreams. It is called lucid dreaming that can also become a great way to deal with stress.

How To Minimize Nightmares?

1. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

I think that many of us have a bad dream from time to time and it’s not always possible to completely prevent nightmares. It’s important to do everything in your power to set the stage for good sleep.

  • Your bedroom should be dark, quiet and cool.
  • Turn off light sources like TV, computer, alarm clocks
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
  • Avoid eating before bedtime

Can Stress Cause Nightmares

2. Deal With Daytime Stressors

You need to think what kind of routines or areas in your life contributes to stress or fear? According to the American Psychological Association, stress is associated with poorer sleep, and the poorer sleep is associated with higher stress.

When you are feeling stressed, it’s important to at least take a few minutes to de-stress before sleeping. Read a book, listen to relaxing music, color, meditate or use other techniques that can help you with stress relief. Try and see what helps you the most.

You need to avoid watching a scary movie, reading suspenseful book or news before bed.

Can Stress Cause Nightmares

3. Lucid Dreaming

Oh, there is also this thing called lucid dreaming. Who doesn’t want to control their dreams? Right?

Last year I was a little obsessed with learning to lucid dream, but I didn’t do it. I guess my obsession with it wasn’t a big deal.

I published an article about how lucid dreaming can help you to deal with stress.

Can Stress Cause Nightmares


Stress affects your sleep and causes nightmares, so it’s essential to do everything to relieve stress and relax before you are going to sleep.

How stress affects your sleep? How often do you have nightmares? Let me know below!

I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this article helped you avoid nightmares and sleep better.

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Until next time! Have a great sleep and lucid dreams!

Linda Mo

Founder of How To Reduce Stress Naturally


  1. Melissa

    It is crazy how many areas of our lives stress can affect us. As a child, I was very anxious and I had a lot of nightmares. I am epileptic and it is nocturnal so I have seizures in my sleep when I am not on my meds and I also notice I use to have a lot of night terrors. Now that I am not under a lot of stress I am neither having seizures or night terrors. I noticed if I do too many things with my electronics before bed I go to bed more anxious and difficulty sleeping so I avoid doing certain activities before bed. I really love this topic, thanks for sharing!

    • Hi, Melissa!
      Yes, indeed. I also was anxious, but strangely I don’t remember that I had a lot of nightmares. But I noticed when I was very stressed, I had bad dreams, and I wasn’t sleeping well.

      I am glad that you liked it. Thank you for your comment!

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