Bad dreams or nightmares occur towards the end of the night in the REM (rapid eye movement) part of sleep. These are usually linked to what is going on in your life at that time and reflects your current emotional state of mind. There is no doubt that a period of stress will increase the chances of nightmares, whether that be a bereavement, personal illness, relationship problems or work pressures, to name a few. Caffeine and alcohol and consumption of rich foods such as cheese may also contribute to sleep disturbances, so avoid these later in the evening. Medications such as sleeping pills and certain antidepressants can also be a contributing factor. It is primarily important to identify the stressors in your life and make changes where possible to reduce your anxiety levels.