Ever awakened from a terrifying or odd dream and wondered where in the world did that come from? 

Although dream science isn't precise and interpretation can often be misconstrued, it's important to analyze your dreams, for better or worse, because terrifying dreams have the potential to derail our sleep health and our regular schedule. 

For those with high career stress, these nightmares may be inspired by our workplaces and conjure up unpleasant memories or scenarios that occur in the office.

A new study from HealthySleep.org looks to explore this further. Over 1,000+ employees were surveyed to determine which types of work-related dreams are common, and how these dreams can impact job satisfaction and performance.

Work Scenarios In Our Dreams

Between the eight-hour standard workday and the suggested minimum of seven hours of sleep experts recommend, most of us spend the majority of our lives working or sleeping. It makes sense that work-related issues and experiences not only permeate into our daydreams but our nightly dreams as well. Overall, 38% of employees say their work dreams are negative, compared to 18% who have positive dreams.

Top 5 most frequent work-related dreams:

  • Making a huge mistake (35%)
  • Being late to work (32%)
  • Having a normal day at work (30%)
  • Being unprepared (29%)
  • Missing a deadline (22%)

The prevalence of negative dreams could indicate how disappointing or embarrassing workplace scenarios can affect us, both in and out of the office. Although, taking the job home with you and working past typical office hours can also have a huge impact.

The survey found that employees who work in bed more than 4 times a week are the most likely to have negative dreams, which can often lead to burnout. It's crucial to avoid overworking yourself in order to maintain productivity -- and prevent work dreams from becoming night terrors.

When Bad Dreams Become Nightmares

While work-related dreams can be a simple indicator of how much time we spend in the office, our high-stress levels can also quickly turn them into memorable and debilitating nightmares.

Employees who struggle with efficiency and are the least productive throughout the week have the most work-related nightmares. These top 5 job stressors could be to blame:

  • Insufficient job skills (76%)
  • Poor relationship with co-worker(s) (76%)
  • Lack of autonomy (73%)
  • Poor relationship with boss (73%)
  • Inadequate work environment (73%)

When these nightmares become increasingly worse and more frequent, it could be a sign to refocus on your mental health and well-being outside of the office.

Tips for Success

Even working professionals can achieve a healthy mindset and a good night's sleep. It may be tough, but it will be beneficial in the long run.

To manage work-related stress, try these three simple strategies:

  1. Go to bed at an earlier time than usual,
  2. Create a distinct workspace that is separate from your sleeping space,
  3. Regularly relax away your work stresses and consider real-life options on how to resolve some of those issues.

With stronger productivity and motivation, employees find that improved mental health (and nightly slumber) starts with managing your work life more efficiently.