What Causes Bad Dreams?


Quick Answer

Bad dreams, or nightmares, can be the result of various factors including medications, late-night eating or sleep deprivation. Some psychological factors, such as depression, can also cause nightmares, as stated by WebMD.

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Full Answer

Sleep disorders can also be a contributing factor to nightmares. Chronic nightmares can contribute to sleep deprivation as a person wakes up from the bad dream and is unable to go back to sleep. Nightmares can sometimes focus on distressing situations and cause a number of emotions, including disgust, fear and anger. Sometimes, the details of a bad dream are clearly remembered when the person wakes up.

If the bad dreams become chronic, treatment is needed. Treatment depends largely on the cause of the nightmares. For instance, if medication is thought to be the cause, the dosage needs to be adjusted or the type of medication changed. If there is no physical cause of the bad dreams, behavioral changes can possibly help stop the dreams. Therapeutic techniques, such as imagery rehearsal treatment, can sometimes be used in conjunction with medications. Good sleep practices, such as avoiding stimulants before bedtime, are natural ways to avoid bad dreams. A doctor can help pinpoint the cause and determine the best course of treatment.

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