Why Do I Cry In Sleep? And What You Can Do About it

Last Update on November 18, 2022 : Published on November 20, 2022
Why do I cry in sleep

Crying while sleeping in infants and young children is very common but did you know it can happen in adults and the elderly too? Crying in sleep is indeed something that can happen to anyone across ages and we are here today to find the reason behind it.

If you are someone who is struggling to understand why you cry in your sleep, worry no more! There can be plenty of reasons why someone might cry in their sleep. Imagine waking up with tears in your eyes, how frustrating that must feel.

Without wasting any more time, today, we will be exploring all the causes and reasons behind “why do I cry in my sleep?”

Let’s get started…

What Does That Mean When You Cry In Your Sleep?


It’s important to understand the reason behind everything that your body does. Now, when infants or young children cry in sleep, we instantly put them back to sleep. But have you ever wondered why that happens?

Infants often get scared when they transition from one stage of sleep to another, that’s why they cry in sleep mostly during transitions. Young children might cry because of nightmares or terrifying incidents happening in their dreams.

But why do adults cry in sleep? They aren’t scared of transitioning from one stage of sleep to another and they are old enough to understand what nightmares are. Adults who feel drained emotionally or are dealing with a severe mental health condition can cry in sleep.

However, crying in sleep happens depending on how unstable one is feeling mentally and emotionally. Let’s have a look at all the causes of crying in sleep in adults and the elderly…

“Why Do I Cry In My Sleep?” – Reasons


1. Transitioning from one stage of sleep to the other: this is usually seen in infants and young children. When young children are developing their sleep routine, transitioning from one stage to another makes them experience brief wakefulness. This can make babies cry in sleep.

2. Night terrors: these are usually experienced by young children and teenagers. Night terrors are those scary dreams that children get while sleeping and can easily recall upon waking up. The fear caused by these scary dreams makes children cry in sleep.

3. Nightmares: nightmares are an extended version of night terrors. Anyone can experience nightmares at any age, usually, grown-ups experience nightmares more. Nightmares seem so real and terrifying that anyone having them can burst into tears even before waking up from fear and shock.

4. Suppressed grief & emotions: some people can express their feelings and grief but some simply suppress those feelings. Suppressed feelings are most likely to surface when you are about to sleep because that’s the only time you’re alone with your thoughts. Crying in sleep can be a physical manifestation of those suppressed emotions and grief.

5. Anxiety and stress: when you have a lot going on in your life and you are in a constant fight with your emotions, sleep crying can do you a favor. It is very common to express your emotions through crying in sleep because in your wake hours you’re busy bottling your feelings up.

6. Depression: it is a mental health condition that is characterized by a prolonged feeling of sadness and loss of interest in things you once enjoyed. Depression can manifest as sleep crying to relieve you of the emotional pain.

7. Morning depression: also known as diurnal mood variation is a condition where you feel depressed upon waking up. Experts say it can make you feel frustrated and overwhelmed when your time to wake up comes close and you can end up indulging in sleep crying.

8. Dementia: it is a brain health condition that is strongly associated with sleep disorders. Dementia can be one of the reasons why you cry in your sleep because it degenerates into the hypothalamus and the brainstem. This degeneration can cause problems in your sleep-wake cycle.

That’s All folks!

I hope you found this blog about why I cry in sleep informative, interesting, and thought-provoking. Do share this blog with your friends and family and especially those people who find themselves crying in sleep quite often.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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