Too Much Sleep Could Be Causing Your Nightmares, Study Suggests

The idea of getting “too much sleep” honestly sounds like a dream come true for us. But in reality, it could mean a nightmare — literally.

A new study has uncovered a link between experiencing nightmares and having too much sleep. Researchers from the University of Oxford found that people who reported having nine or more hours of sleep were 40 percent more likely to have not-so-sweet dreams than folks who slept for shorter periods of time.

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Stephanie Rek, one of the paper’s authors, said that this may be caused by a longer than typical amount of REM sleep — a phase of sleeping where the brain is most active and when dreaming usually takes place.

The study involved 846 people over in the U.K. who filled out a survey detailing the frequency and severity of their nightmares, as well as providing other factors, like how much sleep they get at night, stressful life events, and any stress disorders they have. The researchers found that certain lifestyle choices like alcohol did not seem to have influence on whether the participants had bad dreams or not.

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But getting too much sleep wasn’t the only factor that did have a link. Worry, hallucinatory experiences, and paranoia were also linked to nightmares in the study.

Rek said that therapy might be able to help people experiencing nightmares, but more research is needed.


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