MONDAY, Dec. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- If you're having bad dreams, feelings of frustration with your life may be triggering them.
That's the finding of researchers whose assessment of 310 people found that frustrations and emotions associated with certain psychological needs affected their dreams.
People whose needs for independence, relatedness and feeling competent that weren't being met felt more frustrated and had more nightmares or dreams featuring sad or angry emotions.
When asked to interpret their dreams, these participants were more likely to use negative words than were people who felt their psychological needs were being met.
The British study was published online recently in the journal Motivation and Emotion.
"Waking-life psychological need experiences are indeed reflected in our dreams," said study lead author Netta Weinstein, from the University of Cardiff in Wales.
"Negative dream emotions may directly result from distressing dream events and might represent the psyche's attempt to process and make sense of particularly psychologically challenging waking experiences," she explained in a journal news release.
The study also found that people who felt frustrated with their lives tended to have recurring dreams in which they were falling, failing or being attacked.
"Researchers and theorists have argued that recurring dreams challenge people to process the most pressing problems in their lives, and these may be thought to result from their failure to adapt to challenging experiences," Weinstein said. "As such, dream content may be more affected by enduring need-based experiences."
The National Sleep Foundation has more on nightmares.