Is the Menopause Causing My Vivid Dreams?

4 Min Read | By Lottie Salako

Last Modified 4 August 2023   First Added 27 July 2023

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

Going through menopause can be a difficult time with so many changes to your body and emotions, but one thing you might not expect is how your dreams are affected. Many people report a correlation between menopause and increased vivid, strange, and scary dreams, so what’s the deal?

Let’s explore how hormones can affect your dreams to help you get a better night’s rest…

Why does menopause cause vivid dreams?

Hormones can affect everything our body does, including dreaming. Whether we realise it or not, many different hormones, such as melatonin, oestrogen, and progesterone, are at play during sleep. Menopause is the transitional process when your body stops producing as much oestrogen and progesterone. In the most basic terms, it marks the end of a woman’s reproductive cycle.

Decreased oestrogen and progesterone can cause less deep sleep and more REM sleep, the stage of sleep where most dreams happen. During this sleep cycle, you’ll be closer to waking, causing you to experience your dreams more vividly.

Can menopause give you nightmares?

There is no defined link between perimenopause or menopause and nightmares or night terrors. But that doesn’t mean that people don’t experience a correlation. Menopause can cause other symptoms, such as an increased risk of sleep apnoea. This can bring about cardiac problems like chest pain and an irregular heartbeat, which disturb your sleep and possibly increase nightmares.

If you experience cardiac symptoms, speak to a medical professional as soon as possible.

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Are vivid dreams normal?

Yes, of course! Generally, we forget most of our dreams when we wake up. Nevertheless, some dreams stick with us because of how real they feel. It’s these dreams in particular that we refer to when we say “vivid dreams”. They can be good, bad, or just downright weird. But the lasting power makes them stand out, which is a natural part of dreaming.

Some people have a clearer mind’s eye, meaning they can imagine things in more detail. At the same time, some people can’t create mental images very well– also known as aphantasia. Both of which are not cause for concern. Although, vivid dreams can become an issue if they affect your sleep quality and day-to-day wellbeing.

According to Healthline, vivid dreams can be caused by stress or anxiety, medications, early pregnancy, and sleep disorders. So, if you lose sleep over your nighttime adventures, contact your GP for professional health advice.

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The common causes of vivid dreams and nightmares

When it comes to dreaming and nightmares, there are quite a lot of recognised triggers:

  • Some foods are linked to nightmares, such as alcohol
  • Stress and anxiety have a significant influence on the content of your dreams
  • Hormone fluctuations during pregnancy
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Sleep disorders, particularly those that reduce deep sleep
  • Some medications like SSRIs

These are just a few factors to watch if your dreaming is causing you sleep issues, and as we mentioned before, talk to a medical professional if you are concerned about your sleep.

If you suffer from bad dreams, learn more about avoiding nightmares.

Tips on getting better sleep during menopause

Losing sleep is the last thing that you want during menopause, so we’re here to provide some helpful tips on how to regain your slumber…

1. Keep cool

Hot flushes can be one of the most uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. Unfortunately, temperature significantly impacts our sleep quality, so learning how to stay cool at night will give you much-needed relief. We have 26 tips to help, from how to maximise airflow, foods to try, what to wear, and even unusual techniques like the Egyptian sleep method.

2. Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed

You’ve probably heard it before, but alcohol and caffeine can have a negative effect on your sleep quality – they make it difficult for you to fall asleep and get the deep sleep you need. It’s recommended to avoid caffeine 8 hours before bed (yes, that means no late afternoon pick-me-ups!) and alcohol 3 hours before bed.

3. Try journalling or mindfulness

Fluctuating hormones can cause emotional dysregulation, making us more vulnerable to stress and anxiety during menopause. This can fuel sleepless nights and bad dreams. Many great mindfulness techniques like journalling, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation help you shed the weight of the day and encourage soothing dreams. And, if none of the above seems to work for you, you can find more tips with our guide to how to sleep better at night.

Not getting enough Zzzs? Discover your ideal bedtime

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