Why Does My Mom Cry in Her Sleep? Understanding the Causes and Solutions

Do you wake up startled by your mother’s cries in the middle of the night? I know this can be a tough situation – I’ve been there. After extensive research, it turns out that there could be many causes behind this occurrence ranging from physical changes to serious health conditions like dementia.

This blog will help unravel these complex reasons and provide compassionate solutions for easing your mom’s nighttime distress – let’s explore why sleep isn’t always peaceful for everyone.

Key Takeaways

Crying in sleep can be caused by various factors, including sleep stage transitions, night terrors, nightmares, suppressed emotion or grief, anxiety and stress, parasomnia, depression, dementia, changes in medication, and certain medical conditions.

Understanding the cause of crying in sleep is important for finding appropriate solutions. It may involve observing patterns and seeking professional help if necessary.

Offering emotional support and maintaining a healthy sleep routine can also help address crying in sleep. This includes creating a relaxing bedtime routine, having a consistent sleep schedule, and providing empathy and understanding to those who cry in their sleep.

Understanding Sleep Behaviors

Mom Waking Up With Sadness From Sleep

Your body does a lot when you fall asleep, going through different stages called sleep cycles. Meanwhile, your brain is busy, too, making you dream and see things that aren’t there.

Sleep can be deep or light, resting your body well in deep sleep. However, in light sleep, some people may talk or walk around without knowing it! Some might even cry while asleep.

Crying during sleep is not strange for both kids and old people, like grandma or grandpa. There are many reasons why this happens. Let’s find out more together!

Common Causes for Crying in Sleep

Mom Cries In Sleep

There are several common causes for crying in sleep, including sleep stage transitions, night terrors, nightmares, suppressed emotion or grief, anxiety and stress, parasomnia, depression, dementia, changes to medication, and certain medical conditions.

Sleep Stage Transitions

Sleep stages change many times during the night. This happens to everyone (it’s normal), but sometimes it can cause problems for people, including your mom.

These are called “sleep stage transitions.” If she has trouble moving from one sleep stage to another, she might start crying in her sleep. Sometimes, spending too much time in REM sleep leads to this issue too!

Night Terrors

Night terrors are scary things that can happen when you sleep. They usually happen to kids aged 3 to 7, but adults can have them too. During a night terror, you might cry, scream or even sleepwalk without knowing it.

Unlike nightmares which may wake you up feeling scared, with night terrors, you stay asleep and won’t remember anything in the morning! Things like stress or big changes in your sleep habits can make them worse.

So try to get good rest every day for better sleep health!


Nightmares are scary dreams that can happen while we sleep. They can make us feel very afraid and cause us to wake up crying. Nightmares are a type of sleep problem, and they can happen to both kids and adults.

Sometimes nightmares happen because we’re feeling anxious or stressed or when things in our daily life change a lot. Other times, nightmares might be related to feelings that we haven’t talked about or sadness that we’re keeping inside.

It’s important to remember that nightmares are not real, even though they can feel very real when we have them.

Suppressed Emotion or Grief

Sometimes, when we go through difficult or sad experiences, we may try to hide our feelings. But even though we don’t show it during the day, those emotions can come out while we sleep.

That’s why some people may cry in their sleep because of suppressed emotions or grief. It’s like our brain is trying to process those feelings and let them out while we rest. So if your mom cries in her sleep, it could be because she’s feeling sad about something deep inside that she hasn’t talked about or fully dealt with yet.

Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress can make you feel really worried or scared. Sometimes, when we have a lot of anxiety or stress, it can affect our sleep. It might make us cry in our sleep without even realizing it! Our brains are working hard to process all the tension and overwhelming feelings.

Anxiety and stress can also mess with our sleep schedule, making it harder for us to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. If you find yourself crying in your sleep or having trouble sleeping because of anxiety and stress, it’s important to talk to someone who can help – like a doctor or a mental health professional.

They can give you some ways to manage your anxiety and stress so that you can get better sleep! Remember, there’s always help available if you need it.


Parasomnia is a big word, but it just defines people who have sleep problems. It’s like when you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Parasomnia is a category of sleep disorder that can cause different things to happen while you’re sleeping.

One type of parasomnia is called night terrors, which mostly happens to kids between 3 and 7 years old. It can make them cry and scream in their sleep. Sometimes, changes to medication can also cause problems with your sleep.

Another thing that can lead to parasomnia is dementia, which affects older people and messes up their sleep-wake cycles. So if someone cries in their sleep, it might be because they have parasomnia.


Depression is a condition that can make people feel sad, tired, and not interested in things they used to enjoy. Sometimes, when someone is depressed, they may cry more often, even when they are sleeping.

This can be because depression affects sleep and can cause problems like difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Some people with depression also have something called morning depression, which means they feel really down in the morning when they wake up.

Changes to medication can also sometimes cause sleep problems and crying during sleep. It’s important to talk to a doctor or therapist if you think someone might be dealing with depression so that they can get the help and support they need.


Dementia is a condition that affects the brain and memory. It can cause changes in behavior, thinking, and emotions. Sometimes, people with dementia may cry or moan in their sleep.

This can be because they are feeling confused or scared. It might also be because they are experiencing physical discomfort or pain. If someone’s mother has dementia and she is crying in her sleep, it’s important to talk to a doctor for help and support.

The doctor can check if there are any medical problems causing the crying and recommend ways to make her feel more comfortable and safe during sleep.

Changes to Medication

Sometimes, when someone takes different medicines or changes the amount of medicine they take, it can affect their sleep. This may cause them to cry during their sleep. Medicine can have different side effects, and one of those side effects could be changes in sleeping patterns.

So if your mom recently started taking a new medicine or changed how much she takes, that might be why she cries in her sleep sometimes. It’s important to talk to a doctor about any changes you notice in your mom’s sleep behavior so they can help figure out what might be causing it and find a solution.

Certain Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions can make people cry while they sleep. For example, if you have allergies or a blocked tear duct, your eyes may water and cause you to cry in your sleep. Depression and disruptions in our sleep-wake cycles can also make it harder for us to sleep well and might lead to crying during sleep.

It’s important to remember that when we’re experiencing these medical conditions, it’s not our fault, and there are ways to help manage them with the help of doctors or other healthcare professionals.

Effects of Crying in Sleep

Woman Crying In Her Sleep

Sometimes, crying in sleep can have effects on how we feel when we wake up. It can leave us feeling sad or confused. Crying during sleep might make it harder to get a good night’s rest and affect our mood the next day.

It can also disturb other people who share the same sleeping space with us. However, it is important to remember that crying in sleep is not always something to worry about. Sometimes, it just means our body is trying to process any difficult emotions or experiences from the day before.

If you or someone you know experiences frequent crying in sleep, it may be helpful to talk to a doctor or mental health professional for guidance and support.

Remember that there are different reasons why people cry in their sleep, so understanding the cause is important in finding ways to address it. And don’t worry; there are things we can do to help improve our sleep and minimize the effects of crying during sleep!

How to Address Crying in Sleep

Mother Wakes Up With Daughter

To address crying in sleep, it is important to first identify the cause by observing patterns and seeking professional help if necessary. Offering emotional support and maintaining a healthy sleep routine are also crucial steps in helping your mom find relief from her nighttime tears.

Identifying the cause

Sometimes, people may cry in their sleep. It can happen for different reasons. Let’s talk about some ways to figure out why it’s happening:

  1. Pay attention to feelings and emotions before bedtime.
  2. Notice if there are any stressful events or changes happening in life.
  3. Keep track of any patterns or triggers that might be causing the crying.
  4. Talk to a doctor or mental health professional for guidance and support.
  5. Share your concerns with a trusted adult who can help find solutions.

Seeking professional help

If you’re crying a lot in your sleep and it’s affecting your daily life, it might be a good idea to talk to a doctor or mental health professional. They can help figure out the cause of your crying and come up with ways to help you sleep better.

Sometimes, crying in sleep can be because of feeling very tired or having strong emotions that are hard to handle. Other times, it could be because of things like trauma or stress related to growing up.

Medication changes or certain medical conditions can also make you cry in your sleep. So, talking to a professional can give you the support and guidance you need for better sleep and overall well-being.

Offering emotional support

When someone we care about cries in their sleep, it can be unsettling and confusing. We might wonder why they’re crying or if they’re okay. It’s important to remember that crying in sleep can happen for different reasons, like processing difficult emotions or feeling overwhelmed by anxiety or stress.

Offering emotional support means being there for them, listening without judgment, and showing empathy and understanding. By providing this kind of support, we can help them feel comforted and understood during these challenging moments.

Maintaining a healthy sleep routine

Having a healthy sleep routine is really important for everyone, including kids like you. It helps your body and mind to rest and recharge. Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy sleep routine:

  1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine before going to sleep, like reading a book or taking a warm bath.
  3. Make sure your bedroom is comfy and quiet, with a cool temperature.
  4. Avoid eating heavy meals or drinking caffeinated drinks close to bedtime.
  5. Limit screen time (like watching TV or playing video games) before bed because it can make it harder for you to fall asleep.
  6. Try to get some exercise during the day, but not right before bed, as it may make you feel too energetic.

Frequently Asked Questions On Why People May Cry In Their Sleep

Why does my mom cry in her sleep?

Crying in sleep can be caused by various factors, such as stress, anxiety, nightmares, or underlying emotional issues.

Is crying in sleep a cause for concern?

While occasional crying in sleep is usually normal, frequent or excessive crying may indicate an underlying problem, and it’s best to consult a healthcare professional for evaluation.

What can I do to help my mom if she cries in her sleep?

Offering support and reassurance during the day, creating a calming bedtime routine, and encouraging open communication about any concerns or worries can help alleviate distress during sleep.

Can certain strategies or therapies help reduce crying in sleep?

Yes, depending on the underlying cause, strategies like relaxation techniques before bed, counseling, or therapy sessions with a mental health professional may be beneficial in reducing crying episodes during sleep.


If your mom cries in her sleep, it can be a sign of various underlying causes. Understanding these causes is important so that you can find appropriate solutions. Whether it’s due to sleep stage transitions, night terrors, suppressed emotions or grief, anxiety and stress, medication changes, or certain medical conditions like dementia or depression – there are ways to address the issue.

Identifying the cause, seeking professional help when needed, offering emotional support, and maintaining a healthy sleep routine can all contribute to finding solutions for your mom’s crying during sleep.

Remember that reaching out for help from doctors or mental health professionals can provide valuable guidance in managing this problem effectively.



Mental Health

Leave a Comment