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5 min read

why do I keep having bad dreams?

written by Liz Tabron

updated 17.07.2023

Why do I keep having bad dreams?

If you’re concerned about having bad dreams every night or every so often, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with reoccurring bad dreams which impact their quality and quantity of sleep on a regular basis. Understanding the underlying cause of your night terrors can help alleviate their influence on your overall well-being, and we’re here to help - we’ve answered your most commonly asked questions about nightmares so that you can get back to having the best night’s sleep you deserve. 


what causes nightmares?

Unexpressed emotions, past traumas and unresolved conflicts are just some of the issues that can resurface during sleep, leading to vivid and distressing dreams. As well as this, lifestyle factors such as what you eat, the amount of alcohol you consume, and the type of content you look at can all have a big impact on the way you dream.  


why do we have nightmares?  

Stress and anxiety play a massive part in why we have nightmares, however, the specific reason for night terrors varies from person to person. The best way to find out the key cause is to get a strong understanding of how you are feeling and to really think about any challenges you may be experiencing in life, such as work-related concerns or subconscious stress. Journalling, mindful meditation and seeking professional advice are just some of the ways you can get a better understanding of your emotions, which is one of the first steps to relieving your bad dreams. If emotional factors aren’t having an impact, then it could be down to your sleeping environment – the amount of noise around you and light in the room can disrupt your sleep cycle causing unpleasant dreams. 


common nightmares

So, what are the most common nightmares and meanings? Below we have listed the most well-known and reported night terrors, along with what they can potentially mean. 

  • Being chased 

  • Teeth falling out 

  • Falling 

  • Drowning 

  • Getting lost 

  • Bug infestation 

being chased

Being chased is a very common dream. What you are being chased by doesn’t always have to be anything specific but it indicates that you are running away from something in your life.  

teeth falling out

The uncomfortable dream of teeth falling out is experienced by many. Dreaming about your teeth falling out can mean you’re going through big changes in your life caused by loss, which could be a job, a person or anything specific to you. 


Almost every person has experienced falling in their dream which has suddenly woken them up or made them twitch. Nightmares that involve falling are commonly linked to the feeling of loss of control over something in your life, leaving you vulnerable or helpless. 


A bad dream involving drowning can mean that you’re stressed and feeling overwhelmed in life, this could be to do with work life, home life or the misbalance of both. It can be a strong indication that you need to take some time out to focus on yourself and find time to destress. 

bug infestation

Dreaming about bugs can be associated with health problems, so is an important one to be wary of, especially if you’re having these bad dreams every night. A bug infestation specifically is to do with feeling worried or guilty about something in your life.  

Explore more of the most common dreams here. 


how to stop bad dreams

If you’re wondering how to get rid of bad dreams and nightmares, the key is to start by getting to the root of the cause, whether it’s your diet, your sleeping environment or suppressed emotions. Once you have established the reason why you might be struggling with night terrors, you can then look at how to prevent them. Below are some of our top tips on how to stop night terrors: 

  • Limit your screen time – try to reduce the amount of time you spend consuming content online, especially disturbing content such as horror films. 

  • Avoid eating right before bed – eating right before going to sleep can cause digestion issues and disrupt sleep. 

  • Use meditation and breathing techniques – doing things that relax your mind and help you destress can be great for bettering your sleep. 

  • Keep distractions out of your sleeping environment – if you sleep better in the dark make sure you have no light in the room to distract you, similarly with sound. 

 If you find that your bad dreams are becoming too much and causing disruption in your day-to-day life, it could be worth contacting your GP for professional advice on what steps to take. Things such as talking therapy can be really helpful for addressing factors that cause night terrors and greatly impact your quality of sleep. Delve into our blog for more sleep advice, including our top tips on how to get the best night’s sleep ever

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