How Pregnancy Can Alter Your Dreams?

It’s common for pregnant people to have strange, vivid dreams and nightmares. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, my dreams became incredibly lifelike and intense. I had no idea that pregnancy could have such a dramatic effect on dreams!

If you’re noticing a change in your dreams during pregnancy, you’re not alone. Here’s what you need to know about why pregnancy messes with your dreams, and tips to get better sleep while expecting.

Why Does Pregnancy Cause Crazy Dreams?

Researchers believe that dreams are your subconscious working through thoughts and emotions. It makes sense that pregnancy stirs up a whole mix of feelings – joy, anticipation, anxiety, fear – that all get processed through dreams.

Studies find that pregnancy dreams often revolve around themes like:

  • Giving birth.
  • Meeting the baby.
  • Conflict with the baby’s father.

First-time moms also tend to have more vivid dreams than women who’ve already had kids. And women who feel more anxious during the day often have worse dreams at night.

So your dreams may provide clues to the emotions you’re dealing with during pregnancy. Writing them down in a journal can help you identify and address stressors.

Pregnancy Disrupts Your Sleep Cycles

Oddly enough, the increase in crazy dreams may also be related to disrupted sleep. Pregnant women get less REM sleep but remember dreams more when woken up mid-cycle.

Frequent bathroom trips, discomfort, and general pregnancy sleep challenges lead to fragmented sleep. You don’t get as much time in deep REM sleep stages, but you’re more likely to wake up mid-dream and remember it.

Poor sleep sets the stage for intense dreams. Taking steps to get better rest can help dial down the vivid dreams.

Tips for Better Sleep During Pregnancy

You probably can’t eliminate the crazy dreams entirely, but you can get better quality sleep. Try these tips:

  • Sleep on your left side. This improves blood flow and oxygen to your baby. Use pillows for support.
  • Avoid heavy meals before bed. Heartburn and indigestion can disrupt sleep. Eat smaller dinners and stay upright after eating.
  • Limit fluids before bed. This reduces middle-of-the-night bathroom runs. But don’t get dehydrated!
  • Lower the thermostat. Being too warm interferes with sleep. Keep the bedroom around 65°F (18°C).
  • Do relaxing activities before bed. Take a warm bath, listen to soothing music, practice breathing exercises – anything that relaxes your body and mind.
  • Keep a dream journal. Write down your dreams immediately upon waking. This may help reduce anxiety about them.

When to See Your Doctor?

Vivid dreams are normal during pregnancy, but talk to your doctor if they:

  • Keep you from sleeping.
  • Cause you significant distress.
  • Are frightening or traumatic.
  • Are reoccurring.

This may signal an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Your doctor can check for sleeping disorders and provide support.

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