Everyone has dreams. Dreams being a normal phenomenon becomes more common and more vivid during your pregnancy phase. You may start experiencing more dreams than usual. Many pregnant women recognize unusual dreaming patterns or a change in their dreams. While some find it concerning and look at how to stop bad dreams during pregnancy, others may find it very interesting!
Your dreams can vary from person to person. Some might experience a variety of dreams, a few may encounter the same set of dreams while others might not have any. Many pregnant women want to get rid of bad dreams during pregnancy and find ways to do so.
Let’s throw some light on what causes bad dreams in pregnancy and how to stop them.
Why Do I Keep Having Bad Dreams While I’m Pregnant?
Though it is hard to pinpoint one reason for the change in your dreaming pattern during pregnancy, there are many factors to blame due to the changes that are occurring within your body. When you are pregnant, your body goes through a lot of changes, be it physical or emotional.
During pregnancy, many women experience dreams where they remember seeing images. The dreams become so realistic that they could even feel emotions. These dreams can impact pregnant women to an extent where some people remember their dreams after waking up, whereas others, despite having multiple dreams, are unable to recall a single one in the morning.
The most commonly experienced patterns in which pregnant women have dreams are as follows.
- Vivid dreams
- Frequent nightmares and intense dreams
- Anxiety-based dreams
- Nightmares about death during pregnancy
- Clarity and reminiscence of dreams
Vivid dreams can occur to anyone. But the pregnancy phase seems to trigger more spark for the moms to be. That is why many pregnant women fear their bad dreams during pregnancy about husbands. Since pregnancy is a time for emotional and psychological changes, these get reflected in patterns of sleeping and dreaming. Changes in hormones could affect the sleep pattern and quality thereby increasing the causes of sleep deprivation and bad dreams during pregnancy.
Since pregnancy is more attached to motherhood, unborn baby, and childbirth, it is common for women to experience dreams based on these. Most of these dreams translate your worries and fear over your baby and motherhood journey. Though this is normal, as pregnancy progresses bad dreams during pregnancy third trimester could be unnerving.
For those wondering what causes bad dreams in pregnancy, here’s the answer.
Just blame them. Pregnancy causes your hormones to change. The increased levels of hormones are to be rebuked for the vivid dreams that you experience during pregnancy. These hormones have control over how you feel and could increase your anxiety issues. Also, they could make your dream so surreal that you get confused most of the time.
2. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep
REM sleep is a lighter form of sleep than the usual deep sleep. When you are pregnant, you are most likely to experience more REM than non-REM because your sleep is interrupted by many factors such as discomfort or frequent urination. This is the stage where pregnant women dream a lot and the dreams are more vivid.
Most of the dreams could be recollected if the person has had a pretty decent amount of deep sleep. Since pregnant women seem to stay in the REM stage, they are easily able to recollect their dreams which are more expressive than typical.
Related Reading: Excessive Sleeping During Pregnancy – Causes, And Remedies
3. Stress and anxiety
It is no surprise that pregnancy comes with stress and anxiety. It is believed that your dreams are a way of thoughts on your subconscious mind to find a solution for your increased stress and anxiety during pregnancy.
How To Stop Bad Dreams During Pregnancy? 5 Tips
Nightmares are a common phenomenon for pregnant women. If your thoughts whilst you sleep are positive, it is called a dream. In case there are raunchier and disturbing thoughts, making you wake up a jerk from your sleep, you can call them a nightmare. Nightmares not only disturb your sleep cycle but could shatter you completely if you have had back-to-back wake-ups.
This could make you tired leading to distress. Sleep deprivation and changes in your sleep schedule could lead to irregular sleep patterns which could affect your entire sleep cycle. For pregnant women, it is vital to get some good hours of sleep to keep you away from those dreadful images that keep replaying in your head. It is believed many pregnant women encountered more bad dreams during pregnancy in the third trimester about the baby’s safety, due to their fear of preterm labor.
Listed below are a few tips to answer your question on how to stop bad dreams during pregnancy.
1. Avoid pregnancy nightmares by relaxing
Pregnancy is a natural process and women have been doing it wonderfully for ages. Before you could know the difficulty, it would all be done safely and you will soon be a mother of a little champ. In case you have concerns over the health of the baby to be born, you can be assured that most babies are born healthy.
Staying relaxed throughout pregnancy by cutting off those unwanted thoughts is one way to have a good night’s sleep. Try to follow a bedtime schedule and wake up and sleep during that time. Make sure you stick to it, even on the weekends so that it becomes your sleep routine.
Related Reading: 12 Best Movies To Watch During Pregnancy
2. Take a warm water bath before bedtime
Having a good warm water bath 60-90 minutes before you go to bed is said to improve the quality of your sleep. This is because there is a drop in your core body temperature which signals the body to get prepared for bed. The hot bath acts as an antidote and helps to reduce the stress and anxiety you face during pregnancy. This in turn relaxes your mind and body. Ensure not to add any scented oils or bubbles to the warm water as they can alter your vagina’s acidic balance which could lead to a yeast infection, one of the most common infections caused during pregnancy.
3. Calm your mind before you go to bed
Pregnant ladies go through a lot of emotions throughout the day. While these are mixed emotions, not everything that happens during the day remains positive. Whatever is going through your mind before you go to bed is what you probably get as your dreams. Hence, ensure to get rid of those nagging thoughts before you lay down in bed.
We suggest you develop a night routine to keep your pregnancy phase a happy one. Make sure the routine helps you and your mind and body to calm down and get yourself tight for a good night’s sleep. This could be anything simple such as listening to calming music, switching off the lights, and enjoying the dark. Many women even believe in doing some meditation right before bed to ease stress and improve sleep. You could also jot down points on ideas that might help you find peace and calm your mind.
4. Understand the reason for the nightmare
A nightmare once in a while isn’t a big deal. Everyone experiences nightmares once in their lifetime. However, if this seems to be a recurring one, you need to get it addressed. Experts believe that any underlying problems or something you worry about could trigger your senses physiologically. Hence the basic step is to identify what your fears are and find ways to overcome them.
Through nightmares, the brain works through a particular problem and fixes them. This could be your past traumas, or suppressed emotions/anxieties, which could help you to prepare for a potential real-life threat. You can maintain a dream diary to ascertain your dream patterns.
Related Reading: 12 Simple Ways to Prevent Pregnancy Nausea
5. Practice a good sleep hygiene
There are a variety of techniques that could help pregnant ladies to get a good quality night’s sleep. Just as dental hygiene is followed by many before bed, there are good sleep hygiene methods that work out to help you sleep better. These include the following.
- Do not force yourself to go to bed early unless you are sleepy. Engage in relaxing activities such as listening to a song or reading books
- If you aren’t able to sleep within 20-30 minutes from the time of waking up, it is better to get out of bed. Trying to sleep when you are unable to will add more stress
- Develop rituals such as listening to music, or reading books that help you relax before bed
- Do not use electronic gadgets such as mobile and laptops before bed. Your body could get confused with the glow from these devices
- Maintain a pleasant and relaxing sleep environment. Keep your sleep room a soothing and restful place
Can Nightmares Affect Unborn Baby?
Pregnancy is a time for many changes and with sleepless nights being a major one. Many women report sleepless nights or have passed many nights with vivid dreams that could affect their sleep schedule. This could lead to high levels of stress and anxiety. If the stress continues for a long time, it may cause health problems, which could lead to conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
According to a study, too much stress due to sleepless nights, especially during the last trimester could increase the chances of having a premature baby. Preterm babies are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy or come with low birth weight. These could cause certain pregnancy complications. Also, serious or long-lasting stress due to sleepless nights may affect your immune system making you easily prone to infections.