Vivid dreams can be a normal part of sleep, and they aren’t always harmful. But if they happen frequently or are causing distress, they may be linked to stress, anxiety, a sleep disorder, or certain medications and pregnancy.
Dreaming occurs during a REM cycle in your sleep, and it’s thought that vivid dreams are the brain’s way of making up for lost sleep and processing the events of the day. It is also common for people who undergo EMDR therapy for trauma to have very vivid dreams at first, as a result of how EMDR activates the memory network to re-process the event.
Whether you are having good or bad dreams, they can make you feel mentally exhausted. This can lead to mood problems and difficulty performing at work or school. Vivid dreams can also cause daytime sleepiness, which makes it difficult to complete tasks and may increase the risk of accidents or injuries.
If you are experiencing frequent and distressing vivid dreams, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider. They will be able to help you rule out medical issues that could be contributing to them and provide referrals for mental health care or other treatment options. Some strategies for decreasing vivid dreams include reducing alcohol and caffeine intake, exercising regularly (not at bedtime), and practicing healthy sleep habits like establishing a regular bedtime and avoiding screen time before bed. These changes can help you feel rested and improve your overall quality of life.