a couple months back i wrote about my fear of dropping the ball in a pretty personal post. these days, i have been dealing with some very unpleasant sleep sessions. i know we all have bad dreams now and then…but what happens when they become much more frequent?

i like to think i am pretty good at multi-tasking, and to be honest that’s probably the only reason that i am able to juggle my two businesses at once…because i can easily jump from one task to the next. and listen, i am not really the girl that likes to sit around and complain about my long to-do list or how many emails i have to answer…because not having any emails to answer or anything on my to-do list sounds a little scary and i’d much rather be working than bored. so i am grateful for that. these overwhelming task lists (normally) don’t stress me out too much during the day…but they sure show their effects on me in my dreams.

i remember when my dreams used to be fantastical and, well, happy. and lately i have been dreading falling asleep some nights. for example, the other day i dreamed that i was forced to teach blogshop in a pool…and the projector wouldn’t work…and some of my students couldn’t swim…and besides that, it was just really hard to teach 25 people under 6 feet of water. last week i had a dream (a variation of this one actually happens a lot) that i accidently left all my luggage on the other side of security, and i was running as fast as i could to find it, but the airport turned into a maze and the TSA guards made me get a giant shot in my arm every time i wanted to pass back through security. very random (and stressful). or how ’bout the one where i was late for a meeting and i found a gorilla in my bathtub…and it wasn’t a friendly gorilla either. and of course there’s that classic teeth falling out dream that occurs every month or so, which supposidly means wealth in your future or a bad change is coming? i really can’t remember which one (but i’m just gonna hope for the first option).

i think i need a dream doctor? or maybe one of those funny waterfalls that go next to your bed that make you feel all zen at night. do you go through certain months where your dreams are full of stress?

gosh i wish i had some of these dreams in a video that i could playback. that gorilla one would actually be pretty hilarious to watch. this is the part where you may be thinking…man, this chick needs therapy. and who knows, maybe you’re right! but i’m just hoping this is a phase because i really miss the dreams where i was time traveling or doubling as a secret agent spy.

(photo above via )


Add your own

    Kate says:

    The tooth one is a recurring dream for me–I’ve read that it means you feel that you lack control in your life. I’m afraid of the dentist though, so I think that probably has some influence.

    Latrina says:

    Therapy, no. But maybe a little yoga or meditation though! I can definitely relate though. I’m married, work full-time and I’m juggling personal projects all while trying to start my own business. Very stressful times! But I’m like you.. I like having to-do lists & when I don’t… I feel very unorganized and I start to freak out. But apparently when there’s a lot on said to-do list.. I freak out in my dreams instead.

    The past few months have been really bad – I’m to the point where I dread falling asleep too. And the whole tooth-dream… oh man, I have those at least once a week! I’ve been told it can be a key indicator of being stressed.

    I decided I’m going to start journaling before bed — I’ve heard getting out all your thoughts & worries before bed can really help you sleep better. It’s worth a try!

    I wish you the best. I know how important good sleep is to us busy ladies! 🙂

    Silkie says:

    Ahh Bri,poor you. You sound like you need a break? I always get anxiety dreams heading towards trade show season..normally where I’ve arrived and forgotten everything with only 5 mins to go till everyone turns up! You don’t need therapy,you just need someone to help you with some of the things on your lists!

    Have you ever heard about lucid dreams? they are dreams that you can controll, because “you know” you are dreaming so you decide in that moment what are you going to dream with. It’s something very abstract, I read that it takes time and concentration try to have one of this kind of dreams, but I’ve had them without too much effort.
    Just try this: when you are sleeping and you are dreaming “try to” notice that it’s only a bad dream and decide to change the topic of it (I know it sounds silly but it’s what I do when I want to dream sweet things) and just redesign your dream… Just try it, maybe it works!

    On the otehr hand: before going to sleep try to take around one hour doing relaxing things: take a bath with a sweet soap with smells you like (maybe some incense), have a cup of warm milk or infusion, read… all these actions will really help you to fall asleep in a relaxing way which will benefit your body and mind. You could also swim in a pool half an hour before going home and sleep, this is a very good sport but also active meditation that makes your body feel very tired and clears your mind.
    Try all these tips, I read them in a book about dreams, and they will help you I’m sure! and don’t worry! it’s just a phase, we do all have bad dreaming phases! 😉


    Amanda says:

    I dream a lot and my dreams also always relate to what’s going on in my waking life, just usually in a bizarre weird dream kind of way. For example when I am in times of big change in my life or uncertainty of what’s coming next [which in the last 10 years has been a lot] I have one of two dreams. The first one is I park my car somewhere, go away and do whatever I need to do, then I come back and I can’t find my car. I search for hours over a huge distance and can never find my car. The other is I am trying to catch a train somewhere, but I am always on the wrong platform. I try for hours and always end up on the wrong platform or I just miss a train and have to change to another platform. The trains ones have turned into me having to overcome some sort of danger to get to the platform. It always results in me waking up very stressed and tense and highly strung… so I can totally relate to the feeling of not wanting to go to bed sometimes!

    Kitty says:

    I love hearing about dreams, I’ve (self) studied some dream psychology because the subject fascinates me. I’m pretty sure all of the dreams you’ve described are related to anxiety. A lot of it is feelings of being ‘in over your head’ and being ill-prepared for something. We all suffer from these kinds of doubts, especially when times are busy and unrelenting. It sounds like you need some downtime! Perhaps sitting in a park, or going for a walk (and not checking email/internet!) will help. Also yoga, meditation as others have mentioned.

    I’ve had that teeth falling out dream, I’m going with the wealth interpretation too 😉 I’ve been having some super vivid scary dreams (being chased and hunted dreams) lately which are really unnerving. It’s definitely related to stress and anxiety in waking life! It’s good to take a step back from the emotion of the dreams and try to interpret them using the symbols so you can realise why you’re having them. Hope that helps 🙂

    Eliza says:

    Aw….bad dreams are never fun. If I were you, I’d take a day off. Completely off. Find a day on your calendar, and go to a quiet, secluded spot outdoors without your phone or anything electronic. Just enjoy a disconnect! Bring a notebook, and a snack.

    It’s very calming.

    Hope you feel better!

    Jillian says:

    this happens to me the nights before I have to present at work. This past week I had a pretty big presentation, so of course I was hiding from raptors in my dreams.

    Although hard to do during times of stress, but I find replacing coffee with tea helps.

    good luck lady!

    Emily says:

    I was having trouble sleeping for months and I came to the conclusion that it was due to anxiety. This may sound weird, but I turned to guided relaxation and it has totally help me sleep. Not only does it help with sleep, but I wake up refreshed, relaxed and I’m able to deal with my day better. You can look up guided relaxation tracks on amazon downloads or itunes and there are a ton! I’ve even found a bunch on groove shark. Some are totally weird so you kind of have to search for one that works for you, but they really work! I hope you feel better soon!

    leigh-ann says:

    i find that it’s usually a phase…although it lasts quite a while. maybe months. i used to have terrible dreams and would hate going to bed. now it’s not so bad, but i can’t really remember my dreams now.
    if you wake up a lot at night, you might want to get a sleep study. i wake up at least once and, according to my ENT doctor, that might mean i suffer from a sleep disorder. he suggested that i get a sleep study done- haven’t done it yet though. no matter what you’re going through, it can be fixed! good luck girl.

    Joy says:

    Bri, you must check out As You Dream It.

    It’s very beautiful and fascinating!

    I am so sorry to hear this Bri. In my country we consider it common to have bad dreams in Fall, it is because of the falling leaves. Beside this I think you might need a little vacation. Take your man and head somewhere near for a night or two. Also, check the zen of your bedroom. I’m not a pro, but it is worth it to check the flow and the direction of your bed and other furniture. I’m sure it will get back to normality soon and happy dreams will embrace you 🙂

    rita says:

    when this happens to me, it’s time for a vacation! make some plans for a (NON WORK) trip and take a day/night/at least 5 hour block away without any technology each week till you go!

    Chick Tyler says:

    Oh Honey, I feel you. I have crazy, vivid dreams all of the time. Mostly I’m grateful for them but other times I want to just go to sleep and wake up without remember a darn one!

    The teeth falling out dreams are the worst. It also means your stressed (obvs.) and if you start having dreams about being late for class or forgetting your homework (even if you’ve been out of school for YEARS) then you probably need to take a half day and just have fun.

    When it comes down to it, your personal health is all you really have. It can make or break you. So if you start getting too stressed, a simple and fun half day can make all of the difference! Good luck!

    Latrina says:

    Joy! What a great website… and brilliant idea. Thanks for sharing!

    I also used to have dreams about my teeth falling out. Then my dentist told me I was grinding at night, and made me a night guard (like a retainer but it separates your teeth). I wear it every night now and I haven’t had that dream since!

    Erica says:

    If your stress dreams warrant therapy then mine should have me committed to an asylum. Seriously crazy/dark stuff. When they happen the terror of them are a good self reminder to take a break now and again. And dreams are better than stress causing a physical breakdown right? and Hey! You could turn those dreams into some pretty cool poster designs!

    Bitty says:

    I totally feel ya girl,
    The entire school year I get so stressed out that I constantly dream about zombies EVERYWHERE… it’s just a constant run from them. And I’ll even wake up and be like phew it was just a dream, but then when I fall back asleep, back to the zombie fighting.

    Also, I hear eating cheese before bed gives you nightmares… just in case you happen to do that … haha 😛

    And I agree about the poster designs ^

    Melissa says:

    I cannot believe I am divulging this but… this yoga DVD right before bed… and I pass out like a rock star – dreams, what dreams 🙂

    Mai says:

    i was going to suggest meditation, and see a couple people have mentioned that too. i really think that should help!

    Miriam says:

    anxiety tends to manifest in my dreams as well (had that tooth dream before – they fell out in my hand and I was trying to hold them so I could get them put back in but they started to crumble to dust!) and one thing I’ve found that works is listening to something as I fall asleep – there are lots of videos you can play on your phone that are meditations or relaxation focused with someone talking in soothing voice about positive things. Audiobooks are also awesome (so long as it’s not a horror or really tense drama – something light!) I just pop my headphones in and lie down – it’s like having a bed time story to listen to!

    Tish says:

    Google ‘dream dictionary’ it will help my dear

    chickything says:

    Get a dreamcatcher.
    Drink milk.

    jill says:

    Bri, love your posts. Don’t give up girl, go get a facial and a massage. LOVE YOUR POSTS. I would miss you SO much. Haters be damned.

    Faith says:

    I would definitely say something needs to change in your waking life. I had to give up watching The Walking Dead because I was having horrific zombie dreams every night! Ha!

    Sarolta says:

    Actually I think your dreams reflect that you are a perfectionist. You want blogshop to be perfect, your blog to be perfect and your other projects to be perfect, too. And well, I think they are pretty perfect already so you can tell your brain you are already handling all as well as possible. Maybe your dreams will accept that, too 🙂

    Ellareki says:

    It’s horrible isn’t it. I went through a time of horrific nightmares a few years ago (turned out to be stress from an emotional issue that I’d dealt with by sweeping under the carpet and not acknowledging – a great English tradition!) and not only did I come to dread going to sleep, but I felt idiotic suffering the from fear of nightmares as an adult! Wishing you sweet dreams and relaxation 🙂

    Amber says:

    Gahhh- bad dreams are the worst!! I get pretty intense nightmares when I have a lot of things going on and especially when a number of them are stressful. I usually listen (on my phone) to a tv show I’ve already seen. Then I don’t feel the need to pay attention too much, but it helps me not worry about all the things going on.

    Hope you have happy dreams soon!

    jasmine says:

    there’s a pretty simple technique that a lot of mental health professionals suggest to anyone suffering from recurring bad dreams that has helped me a lot. it’s simple in theory – but it does take a little bit of willpower to change your mood. basically, when you wake up, you actively try to remember your dream, and then finish whatever story it was telling but in a positive manner. for example, your gorilla dream could end with you asking him what made him so mad, and he could tell you he was just cranky he has such long arms but still can’t soap up his back all the way. then you help him shampoo where he can’t reach and have a dance party to dry off. or whatever. it sounds silly but it totally helps.

    Sarah says:

    I had a “nightmare” last night about getting married in a straw cowgirl hat, and realizing how absurd I looked 30 seconds before I was about to walk down the aisle. Then I was upset, because I hadn’t bothered to get my hair done. I’ve been married for 6 months now, and everything was perfect and beautiful. I think vivid and sometimes scary dreams (although obviously the one im describing is more funny than traumatic) come with a creative mind. Stress affects people in strange ways, I hope your dreams are about unicorns and rainbow puppies soon!

    Erin says:

    As a teacher, I am no stranger to stress dreams. Last year, it all got to be too much. I have taken up Pilates, solely as a way to calm myself (it’s all about the breathing) and also consulted a naturopath who taught me how to relax and destress before sleep, ensuring a stress-free, nightmare free sleep. I recommend it– it’s all about controlling your breath and your mind in order to banish all that anxiety. I found that, even if I wasn’t FEELING anxious, I’d have terrible sleep and dreams– my body’s way of telling me that I was not handling my work stress well, after all.

    Since I started consciously working to destress before bed, it’s a lot better. Not perfect, but I no longer dread going to bed.

    Good luck– I hope you find something that helps!

    Erin says:

    ps–I have also stopped bringing ANY work into the bedroom with me. The bedroom is for sleeping and getting frisky with my man. Nothing else. I am religious about sticking to this new approach– I used to work in bed ALL THE TIME. Marking essays in bed. Ugh. A colleague referred to it as “fouling the nest” and that grossed me out so much that I stopped doing it! 🙂

    Molly says:

    Me too, girl. I’ve always ALWAYS dreamed. But now I frequently have nightmares about the inability to meet the standards I’ve set for myself, everything from being late to my own marriage failures (i’ve never been married!) to failing as a leader to natural disasters. And then waking up in a mini anxiety attack. And if I do wake up and go back the sleep, the next dream is worse and even more real (and scary)!

    Noor says:

    I hate having bad dreams I also have dreams a lot that I loose my teeth and ones about missing a school bus. For the past few weeks I have been dreaming about boats. Weird I wish I knew what they all meant as well. I hope your dreams get better..

    I’ve been fascinated with dreams since I was very young (and my mom is a therapist which helped feed the fire)

    Dreams are not predictions of the future, but more symbolism of your current subconscious state.

    Teeth falling out indicates you are worried about what people think of you – your self image.

    Water in dreams (drowning, rain, floods) symbolizes deep emotions associated with the situation.

    If you start to think of your dreams as metaphors for emotional or abstract parts of your life, you’ll be able to understand the dream and yourself better.

    A gorilla is probably not a gorilla, but symbolizes something big, scary and violent. A bathroom is a private place at home. What else could the gorilla stand for in your life? What else could a bathroom symbolize?

    This is another a helpful source:

    Rachel B says:

    I’ve had terrible nightmares as an adult, most often during periods of stress at work. Guided meditation helped, especially with getting back to sleep after an upsetting dream. Although it’s a little “out there,” Rodger Kamenetz’s book “The History of Last Night’s Dream” changed how I viewed dreams. You can listen to an interview with Oprah via his website ().

    Michelle says:

    Bikram. Yoga. Seriously, only thing that keeps me sane. Each class I sweat out a part of me I don’t need.

    kelly says:

    bri – i also have the teeth dream and unfortunately everything i have read says that it is related to being concerned about your appearance and how you look. which i guess is a concern to a lot of women. ;0

    Lauren says:

    I started getting horrible dreams after my workload went up and my life started getting more hectic. What I realized was that I had stopped working out as much as I used to since my busy work schedule came first. My body was getting no outlet for stress, so it started manifesting itself in dreams, insomnia, you name it. I would check and see if certain habits (eating/exercise) have fallen by the way side. If so, try hard to get them back in your schedule! Hope this helps!

    gabrielle says:

    I get into phases where I have crazy dreams, too! My boyfriend recently bought me this book called Oneironautics for my birthday (his friends wrote it!) It’s about how to control your dreams and be aware in them, so you can change the course it takes. It will take practice but I highly suggest the book (even if it’s only for the vintage-inspired typography and illustrations!)

    I also found that meditation helps, especially before bed. Even 10 minutes to clear your mind will help you fall asleep faster and have a sound night’s sleep.
    If your interested in the book, the link is here:

    I hope this helps! <3

    lauren says:

    tooth dream is stress — but is also an indicator that you’re grinding your teeth at night. i get that one all the time and it freaks me out. i swear i’m losing all my teeth and tasting the blood and then i wake up and it’s business as usual (full set 🙂

    i hear it helps to stay away from electronic devices at least 30/minutes before you go to bed. something about staring at the lights? that’s a tough one because i am ALWAYS with my iphone before i go to sleep.

    gabrielle says:

    oops, here is the link for the book!

    Sharon says:

    Bri! I’ve been having crazy/dark dreams recently as well. Don’t know if you’re spiritual or not, but it helps me to pray and ask God to guard my dreams before sleeping. I personally believe that dark/afflicted dreams could be caused by something spiritually dark. Just a suggestion!
    I also noticed I get bad dreams when I’m really stressed.. maybe a cool feature in the future would be ways you unwind/relax!

    yvonne says:

    Sounds like there are a lot of opinions out there on what you should do, so let me add one more, though with all these comments, it might have already been mentioned. Have you tried meditation? Might be worth a go, start with like 5-10 mintes once a week and move up from there. I have struggled with anxiety my whole like and this one small act has made a hugely positive impact on it and how I handle stress. Might be worth a try. Keep up all the great work. You are a true talent!

    bethany says:

    Lol, sooo I looked up what a gorilla might symbolize in your dream, and here is what I got : “To see a gorilla in your dream suggests that you may be too “over the top” in your behavior. Perhaps you are compensating for your rigidity and stiffness in your waking life. Alternatively, the gorilla symbolizes your primitive impulses, wild nature and repressed sexual energy.”
    Google it!

    Mary says:

    Dear Bri, I’ve had the same thing, months were I would get nothing but nightmares and just not-so-nice dreams. They are really exhausting too, especially in the morning when you’re supposed to have lots of energy. The thing that worked for me is Bach original flower remedies in ‘rock rose’. I take four drops on my tongue each night before going to bed and it works like a charm (sounds weird maybe but worth a try i reckon). Hopefully you’ll get over those bad dreams soon! best, mary

    Krysta says:

    I’ve always had very vivid and sometimes very weird or scary dreams (I tell myself its a side effect of my creativity/imagination). But I’ve only had very stressful dreams or trouble sleeping when I’ve been overwhelmed in my day to day waking life. The thing that works for me is to make a list of all the things swimming around in my head: things I need to get done, ideas I have, tomorrow’s game plan hour by hour, etc. The simple act of writing it down seems to calm my brain and I don’t spend the night either tossing and turning or playing out dreadful scenarios in my dreams.

    Steph says:

    Have you looked it up yet?

    Kara says:

    Oh Bri! I’ve been there. It sounds like you may need to add a little more stress relief to your days. Sorry to hear that you are having all of these nightmares. I know you have a lot on your plate. It’s hard being a (almost) one woman show. But it doesn’t hurt to take time out and talk to someone too outside of your circle like a life coach or counselor. A lot of times they can help take the pressure off and lessen anxiety. Sending happy thoughts and prayers your way!

    I delight in, cause I discovered just what I was looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

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