weird dreams

Why Am I Having Weird Dreams? 7 Reasons Explained

Posted By Vaibhavi K on Jul 20, 2021

Have you ever dreamt of falling off a cliff or robbers chasing you? 

You might wake up feeling anxious and disturbed. But why do you get weird dreams?

Nightmares are common in kids. But grownups also are haunted by them. Research shows that about 29% of adults experience disturbing dreams. Several reasons might lead to this condition. We will take you through them in this article.

What Do Dreams Mean?

According to Sigmund Freud, dreams indicate your repressed thoughts when you are awake. So, your dreams are the expression of those thoughts you push at the back of your mind while awake. It might be a lofty desire or socially unacceptable behavior.

Another psychologist Carl Jung argued that dreams tell you about the neglected parts of yourself. Thus, they boost your self-awareness and provide insights into your mind.

Dreams can therefore act as an excellent bridge between your conscious and unconscious mind. It is not a wise idea to ignore them as insignificant. Your strange dreams might try to give you a signal. You never know.

Girl riding giant dragonfly to the moon in dreams

Causes of Weird Dreams

You must have wondered, “Why are my dreams so weird?” Experts are yet to find a definite answer. But here are some exciting reasons that might lead you to have nightmares.

1. A heavy and spicy dinner

What you eat impacts your sleep. If you have a spicy dinner, you might have trouble falling asleep. As a result, you might get some crazy dreams.

Your meal size also matters. For instance, you gobble up tonnes of delicacies at your friend’s birthday party. What would be the effect? You might end up tossing and turning in your bed. That is the ideal condition for disturbing dreams.

Does eating late cause weird dreams? Well, having your dinner late will not give enough time for digression. Thus, you will go to bed with incomplete digestion. It can raise your body temperature and prevent you from getting sound sleep, causing unpleasant dreams.

heavy and spicy dinner on the table with a bunch of people enjoying it

2. Stress and anxiety

A lot of events in daily life cause you anxiety. Quarrels with friends, office politics, and financial difficulties are some of them. They might even give you scary dreams. 

A study conducted with 147 participants shows a direct relationship between anxiety, depression, stress, and nightmares. Thus, the more stressed out you are in your wakeful life, the higher the chances of getting bad dreams.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can also induce nightmares. PTSD is a condition where some shocking and stressful events continue to haunt you long after their occurrence. Survivors of traumatic events with PTSD are more likely to get vivid dreams. And those can be the exact recollections of the events.

3. Spending too much time on your phone or TV

If you love binge-watching your favorite shows before sleeping, you might get weird dreams every night. Watching a TV show might be an excellent way to relax after a tiring day. But the blue light emitted from your devices can do the foul play.

Children often struggle to fall asleep after watching something scary. That is because they are unable to differentiate between the real and virtual worlds. Do you remember those haunting fictional characters from your childhood? Some of them could send shivers down your spine.

A young woman watching the TV while eating the popcorn on bed

Studies, however, show that even adults find it hard to sleep after watching horror movies and shows. Thus, scary events strike us hard, whether they are in the virtual or real world.

Limiting your screen time before going to bed might be a good idea. Substance Abuse

Alcohol and drug addiction can lead to dreams and nightmares. Too much alcohol consumption can mess up your sleep and take you to the land of not-so-pleasant dreams.

Using recreational drugs or even experiencing a withdrawal from drugs can lead to strange dreams.

4. Taking sleep supplements

Sleep supplements like melatonin can help you fall asleep in no time. However, they are one of the leading causes of weird dreams.

A 2015 case report looked at the effects of melatonin on a person who has insomnia. It shows that the person started having nightmares while consuming the drug. However, it stopped as soon as they discontinued the medicine.

Experts are yet to find a definite answer to this. However, it might be because melatonin induces a stronger REM cycle, leading to intense dreams. But more research needs to be done on the effects of melatonin on your dreams.

Natural sleep aids are far better. Dump supplements and take magnesium for sleep instead.

5. Getting off medicines

Suppose you are taking antidepressants and the doctor suggests discontinuing them. That might have several side effects including vivid weird dreams.

Antidepressants alter the level of neurotransmitters in your brain. So, stopping these medicines all of a sudden will affect how these neurotransmitters behave. And, that can influence your dreams.

6. Pregnancy

Many women report having weird dreams during pregnancy. It might be because pregnancy causes several hormonal changes in the body. That, in turn, can lead to emotional disturbances, causing unpleasant dreams.

How to Stop Having Weird Dreams?

If you are thinking about how to stop having weird dreams, here are some superb tips for you.

Manage your stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety are like your loyal partners in everyday life. However, you have to cope with them well. Here’s how you can cope with stress like a pro.

  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Going for walks
  • Connecting with nature
  • Indulging in your hobbies

You should also get enough rest every day. That will prevent your mind from getting overwhelmed with too many thoughts.

Eat healthy

A healthy and balanced diet will solve half of your problems in life. So, cut down on those unnecessary carbs. You can include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. That will keep you energetic and fresh throughout the day. Also, make sure you drink a lot of water and stay hydrated.

What are the foods that cause weird dreams? Well, oily and spicy stuff or anything hard to digest can affect your dreams.

A young female chopping the fresh and healthy vegetables

Get medical attention

You have tried everything under the sun. But you are still wondering, “Why are my dreams so weird and random?” Then it is time for you to seek medical help. Some physical or mental health problems might be troubling you.

Your doctor will be able to guide you best about solving your problem. They don’t usually recommend medication. However, if the problem is due to stress and anxiety, they might suggest some antidepressants or mood uplifters.

Final Word

You must never ignore your dreams. They can make you aware of an underlying condition. And, when you take care of it, you can lead a better life.

Now that you know why do we have weird dreams, you can work towards preventing them.

Read our blog here and know how to drift off to sleep easily.


Why do we dream?

We dream during REM ( rapid eye movement ) sleep. It is because the brain stays super active during this phase. Moreover, dreams are the expressions of our repressed thoughts and desires.

Does eating late cause weird dreams?

Eating late might make it hard to digest your food. You will have trouble sleeping. And, that is when you can get strange dreams.

Can melatonin cause weird dreams?

Taking melatonin supplements can cause weird dreams. However, more research is required to arrive at a definite conclusion.

Does covid affect sleep?

Research shows that COVID 19 can affect the consciousness of patients. It can lead to confusion, clogged memory, and impair your sleep patterns.

Does eating before bed cause nightmares?

If you eat just before bed, your body will have a tough time digesting the food. Hence, you won’t be able to sleep well and can get disturbing dreams.