Why Do You Cry in Your Sleep

If you wake up in the middle of the night and your eyes are wet from crying, you might think you had a bad dream. That’s not always the case, though. There are other reasons why someone may cry in their sleep, and understanding why it happens can help you get to the bottom of this and maybe even put a stop to crying in your sleep.

Medical Conditions that can Cause you to Cry in Your Sleep


A low blood sugar level, known as hypoglycemia, can be a dangerous condition. Someone who suffers from hypoglycemia may have low energy levels and a feeling of lethargy until they get their blood sugar back up.

Glycemia can be caused by diabetes or another health condition, or it can simply be the result of a poor diet. If you don’t eat any food with sugar in it for a few hours, your blood sugar levels may drop. You may start to feel shaky and unsteady. You may notice that your hands are trembling. These are all indications of hypoglycemia, but so too is crying during sleep.

Why do you cry in your sleep if you’re not emotional? It could simply come down to a medical condition, specifically a lack of sugar in your bloodstream. If this is something that happens often to you, you may want to eat something with a little sugar before you go to bed. If you’re looking to control your weight and are concerned about weight gain by snacking before bedtime, you can eat something that’s low in sugar or that is healthy, like a yogurt or fruit.

Other Physical Health Issues

It’s not just hypoglycemia that could cause you to cry in their sleep. There are other health problems as well that may be the root cause of this issue. Crying during the night due to health problems is something that’s fairly common in elderly people. It’s sometimes attributed to low blood sugar, but it can also be the result of a urinary tract infection, ear infection, or bed sores.

How could these kinds of problems result in crying during the night? They can cause discomfort that makes it difficult for someone to sleep, and the pain they cause can manifest itself as bad dreams or simply a physical stimulus that causes crying. The same way you may cry your skin has been pricked, you may also cry in your dreams if you’re feeling uncomfortable while you sleep.

Anyone taking care of an elderly person should consider all of these factors before trying to treat the problem at home on their own. If the source of the night crying is not evident, the caregiver should refer the elderly person to a doctor.

What Else can Cause Crying in your Sleep

Emotional Trauma

Why do you cry out in your sleep? Hypoglycemia could be the answer, but it’s not always what’s causing this. There may be a mental or emotional issue at work rather than a physical one.

It’s very common for someone who has just recently been through an emotional or traumatic experience to cry in their sleep. They may fall asleep crying and wake up crying and may notice that their pillow is wet when they wake up in the morning. For many people, this is part of the grieving process after the loss of a loved one. They need time to get over that experience and to grieve properly, and that may mean some nights spent crying.

In your dreams, you can relive emotional moments. This is especially true in the weeks following a traumatizing experience. Reliving that experience over and over can be painful and might make you cry as you sleep. This should go away on its own in time, as your mind heals and you don’t feel so close to the situation any longer after a while.

If it doesn’t get any better, and you do find yourself crying in your sleep for months after an emotional experience, then you definitely need to talk to someone. There may be a reason why you’re not getting any better and why the trauma is still so fresh in your mind. Talking to a friend or family member can help, and in some cases it may be necessary to talk to a trained professional to deal with the trauma.

Bad Dreams

You don’t have to have gone through a traumatic experience to have dreams that are so awful they make you cry. Even people who have had relatively peaceful, good lives may cry in their sleep because of a frightening dream. A traumatic experience and fears do not always go hand in hand. You can have one without the other.

The things we fear, when they manifest themselves in our nightmares, can make for a very troubling sleep. You may end up waking from your dream crying because of how real it seemed to you. This lucid dreaming can be extremely frightening to you.

What’s the solution to troubling dreams that are so bad they make you cry? For some people, it just means they need to put away some of the media that scares them. If you watch frightening movies or read scary books, that can cause bad dreams. Moving into a new house can cause bad dreams as well even if the house isn’t scary to you.

There are fears many times deep in our mind that may not make their way to the surface. Consider any sudden change in your life and how that might be resulting in bad dreams. You may have fears about your job or family members, and these kinds of things can manifest as bad dreams and cause you to cry during the night. Even if you don’t worry much about them during the day, your mind can play some tricks on you and cause you to have bad dreams based on your subconscious fears.

If you notice that you’re having scary dreams about things that are happening in your life, it’s a good idea to talk to someone about them. Simply discussing what’s bothering you may help you realize just how fearful you are about something. You might not have noticed your fears before, but bringing them up to the surface in conversation may help you to deal with the scary dreams.

Should You Ignore Crying in Your Sleep

If you can’t really place fears that are the cause of your bad dreams or you’re convinced that whatever is causing crying in your sleep will go away, you may want to take a different approach. Health experts recommend that you don’t ignore something like crying in your sleep. It’s serious enough that it needs to be dealt with in one way or another.

As I mentioned, crying in your sleep can be the result of a medical problem. It’s something you want to address if you have low blood sugar on a regular basis. There could be a serious medical problem at work that needs to be dealt with.

If you’re having traumatic dreams, nightmares, and even night terrors, you should definitely get help in dealing with them. Talking to someone you trust about these experiences can help you to face them and to get some control over them.

Some people are scared to talk about what scares them, especially those things that they have nightmares about. They may think it reveals too much about them or that they may seem foolish. However, crying in your sleep is not something you want to ignore.

Scary, traumatic dreams shouldn’t be simply brushed under the rug. They may continue to come back into haunt you and keep you from sleeping unless you do something about them.