Can You Cry In Your Sleep?

Sleep is usually a calm experience and it should be an opportunity for our body to recover for the day.

Can You Cry In Your Sleep?

Sometimes, however, this is not the case. Occasionally, during our sleep, we experience some nightmares which can interfere with the restful sleep that our bodies need.

It can be even more concerning if you wake up crying. However, there are a lot of different reasons that this can happen, including underlying grief, and dreams that spark emotion. 

This article will explore whether it’s possible to cry in our sleep, what waking up crying actually means and whether you should be concerned. Read on for more information!

What Is Actually Happening When You Cry In Your Sleep?

All of us have experienced vivid dreams from time to time that feel convincingly real. This can be very traumatic for your brain, as it will be responding to your dreams as if they are actually happening

While we sleep, our body goes into sleep paralysis. This is what stops us from acting out our dreams.

Our brain is blocking the signals that it would usually be responding to that control movement. This paralysis sometimes does not work in the way that it should, and this is what leads to people sleep talking or sleepwalking. 

Crying in our sleep is similar to sleepwalking, it is a signal that our brains would usually block, but it fails to do so in this case.

This often happens when the dream that we are experiencing is particularly emotional. It can also be a result of underlying stress.

Who Can Experience Crying In Your Sleep? 

Crying in your sleep is not an uncommon experience. It can happen to anyone at any time. If it becomes something that you often experience, it might be a good idea to speak to your doctor. 

Children are likely to experience crying in their sleep. For them, it is usually a result of experiencing nightmares. 

Adults can also experience crying in their sleep for the same reason. For them, it is also often caused by a traumatic event or depression. It can happen to anyone at any time.

Causes Of Crying In Your Sleep

Can You Cry In Your Sleep?

Crying in your sleep can occur for a wider range of reasons. We might feel that it is a worrying thing to happen, however, in most cases, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. 

The common reasons for crying in our sleep include: 

Night Terrors 

Night terrors are very common among children, particularly those between the ages of 3 and 12. They can continue into adulthood, and some adults can even experience them for the first time as a result of trauma. 

Night terrors are not just nightmares. They often include screaming, paralysis or other very strong emotions.

Crying is a very common symptom of night terror. In a lot of cases, the person who is experiencing the night terror will not remember what it contained when they wake up.

Night terrors are nothing to worry about, and they are not dangerous. However, if they are a common occurance it is a good idea to speak to your doctor about what might be causing them.

Emotional Dreams

Lots of people report crying in their sleep when they have a dream that contains strong emotions. For instance, if you have a dream about a deceased loved one, then you might find yourself very emotional following the dream.

You may also dream of someone dying or someone hurting you. This may lead to crying. 

In a lot of cases, this will likely be the cause of you crying in your sleep but you may not remember the dream. This can be alarming, but in reality, it is just a reaction to a scary dream. 

Suppressed Emotions 

If you have a lot of strong emotions that you haven’t dealt with, then you might find that these emotions show themselves when you are sleeping. 

As you sleep, your brain processes the emotions of the events that you are experiencing in the waking world. This can lead to crying in your sleep.


We all react differently to medication, and some medications can cause very strange reactions. If you’ve recently started taking a new medication, this is likely to be the reason that you are experiencing a change in your sleep pattern. 

Is Crying In Your Sleep The Same As Crying While Awake?

Whether or not crying in your sleep is the same as real crying depends on why you are crying.

If crying is related to a dream, it is not the same as crying as a reaction to sadness or pain.

However, if the reason for your crying is due to grief or stress, then it is the same as real crying. This is because it is caused by sadness. This will release the same endorphins as crying in real life will as it is caused by the same emotions.

When Should We Worry About Crying In Our Sleep?

Crying in your sleep is often no problem, however, there are a few cases where crying in your sleep could be a cause for concern. You should speak to your doctor if any of the following are true for you: 

  • It happens often. 
  • You’ve experienced a traumatic event.
  • You’ve suffered a head injury. 
  • Do you have any other symptoms?
  • You’ve changed medication.
  • It causes disruption to your sleep.

Final Thoughts 

It is possible to cry in your sleep and it is a very common occurrence. There are many different reasons for this to happen and most of these reasons are not of any real concern.

However, there are some occasions where you may want to talk to your doctor about your symptoms. If you are experiencing problems with your sleep because of this problem, book an appointment to discuss it with your doctor.

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About the author

Easy Sleep Guide

We are a group of individuals who have a fascination, with the world of sleep and dreams. Our website and social media community were created with the purpose of educating and informing our audience about every aspect of sleep. We cover everything from tips to the advancements in sleep technology. Our team, consisting of real life experts works tirelessly to curate top quality content that offers an understanding of sleep related topics. We take pride in being your trusted source, for all things related to sleep providing insights and knowledge to help you achieve an revitalizing sleep experience.

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