• Emily Stetzer / 1 comment

Do you ever feel weird after a bad dream?

After a night of very long, very involved, VERY upsetting/exhausting dreams, how can one function the next day? Well, giving it a name can certainly help.

They are called Dream hangovers.

(When I initially googled "dream hangover," I thought it was something I made up. Apparently, this is a very real phenomenon.) 

Here are 5 things you should know about Dream hangovers:

1. A Dream Hangover is a biological phenomenon.

This causes the distress of bad dreams to linger on throughout the next day. These feelings of anxiety, exhaustion, guilt, or sadness are caused by stress hormones that are released during sleep. These hormones continue to course through your bloodstream when you wake up.

2. They are a pretty universal experience.

Research shows that nearly all participants in a trial experienced effects from their dreams on daytime moods. Around 18% of dreams affected people's moods during the day, with introverted or emotionally sensitive individuals more susceptible to dream influences.

3. They prove to be more intense for people with anxiety or OCD.

Individuals with anxiety of OCD might interpret their dreams excessively, leading to obsessions about the past dreams, worries about dreams manifesting in reality, or concerns about dreams reflecting their true desires or fears.

These dreams can have a lasting impact, influencing behaviors and thoughts even after waking up, thereby affecting daily routines and social relationships.

4. Preparing for a good night sleep can be beneficial.

It is common to be afraid to go to sleep after having a nightmare. If troubling dreams consistently impact your mood and daily functioning, it's beneficial to take measures to relax your mind and body. Consider activities like meditation or deep breathing exercises before bedtime.

5. How to recover from a Dream Hangover?

Try recalling the dream and jotting down details in a journal or recording yourself talking about it. Reflect on the emotions the dream evoked and consider any connections between the dream and your real-life experiences. Confront the dreams in a secure setting, potentially reducing dream intensity. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven effective in treating OCD and disruptive dreams by aiding individuals in understanding and managing their thoughts and behaviors.

1 comment


It’s not just nightmares, even happy dream. I have dreams that are so real I’m exhausted when I wake up and what I experience in the dream stays and lingers on me all day.

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