Vivid dreams during times of stress -- normal?

I haven’t dreamed a lot in my adult life, but a few years ago when my dad was dying I had a series of very vivid, realistic dreams. They were so real that to this day I still have trouble sorting out what were the actual events at that time and what was dreamed. Sometimes I even have to ask family members, “Did this happen, or did I dream it?”

Anyway, I was wondering if this is a standard psychological thing.

IANAPsychologist, but during a period of intense stress while I was a graduate student I started having extremely vivid dreams.

If it’s the case that dreams are the mind’s way of sorting through the events of the day, it would seem reasonable to assume that intense waking emotions require heavy-duty dreams to put them in order.

Isn’t a period of stress by definition an abnormal condition?

I have dreams that are quite different form normal ones during periods of stress. The dreams will invole random snippets of things related to the stress and I’ll spend all night going in and out of sleep trying to “solve” them.

The most vivid (and disturbing) dreams of my life occurred when my father passed. There’s a lot of emotion, baggage, etc. wrapped up in the loss of a parent. I think that is all it is.


I walk and talk in my sleep. It always gets worse when I’m under stress. Within the past two weeks I’ve had a heavy work load and other issues floating around in my head, and my wife says I’ve gotten up about 5 times and talked a blue streak nearly every night.

I always have exceedingly vivid dreams when I’m stressed out.

My wife, who has “night terrors,” almost exclusively has them when she’s under a lot of stress or worried about something.