Detox dreams = scary nightmares?

detox dreams

This year, I made a conscious decision to eat healthier and to detox my body from a lifetime of junk food, fried food, meat, smoking (I’m not a smoker but I second-hand smoke quite a bit), pollution, chemicals and god-knows-what-else.

So far this year I’ve added juicing, various herbal teas and more raw food into my diet, and it’s been going really well. I feel great and healthier than ever.

Then about a week ago, I decided to kick things up a notch by adding a green barley powder into my diet. Green barley is different from barley grains  – green barley are the young and green shoots of the plant. It’s one of the most nutrient-rich sources of green food around. Its usage goes back to ancient Egypt and Greece.

The reason why I chose to take green barley powder was to add more chlorophyll to my diet. Chlorophyll is a powerful detoxer and blood cleanser. It cleans out the intestines really well. Chlorophyll also has the ability to bind to heavy metals like mercury and carry it out of the body. It also gives me a clean energy boost.

The only downside to taking the green barley powder? My detox dreams – which I’ve been having almost every night.

Detox dreams are pretty common when you’re detoxing. In theory, as your cells release physical toxins, you’ll also release emotional toxins. Some are tied to the food we eat over the years (and which have become a part of our bodies), some could be tied to painful memories and events. These toxins can show up in the form of intense detox dreams at night.

These inner toxins are actually good for me to release, but boy are my detox dreams scary! For someone who very rarely has nightmares, this is quite a change. My detox dreams are always intense. Some have been violent. One night I dreamt that someone was trying to hunt me down and kill me. Another night, I had a dream about ghosts (think the original Japanese version of The Ring and you’ll have a good idea of the kind of ghost I dreamt about). When I woke up in the middle of it, I couldn’t go back to sleep for several minutes because it was still haunting me.

The good thing about detox dreams is that they’re temporary. I know that eventually my body will get most of the worst stuff out of me and the scary dreams will stop. In the meantime though, I just might invest in a dreamcatcher. 🙂

Have you had any detox dreams? What were they of?

63 Replies to “Detox dreams = scary nightmares?”

  1. Where you can you buy green barley? Do you feel healthier from the time when you change your way of eating and went on detox?

    1. Hi, green barley is available online. It’s also pretty popular in health food circles so most vitamin shops should carry it too, (but so far I find that it’s much cheaper online).

      I get mine (it’s called Green Magma) from, there’s a discount code at the top of this page if you’re interested.

  2. Interesting that you have had these reoccuring dreams. I am actually on Detox Day #7 and have had dreams in 2 of the last 3 nights. Last nights dream was much more intense than the first one. My nutritionist and I are detoxing me off of sugar and providing a jump start to my workout regiment, etc. I have lost 6 lbs in 6days and feel great. My headaches are minimal (I actually have one this morning after the crazy dream I had) and I am eating much cleaner. It’s funny how food can be attached to so many things. In my dream I was stressed about work and I had something sweet. In my conscious life… I would usually eat something sweet when I got stressed. The correlation is spot on… I am curious about the future dreams (if any)… most importantly, I look forward to changing my relationship to food (especially sugar).

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes, it’s quite fascinating to experience this first-hand. To me it feels like a part of my old psyche is sloughing off. Thankfully, my scary dreams seem to be over now. I think they might be linked to my love/fascination with horror movies ever since I was young. Nowadays, my dreams are in the strange and weird category, nothing that keeps me up at night.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience too, LW.

    2. Thank goodness for this information on dreams, I have started the Carol Voderman Detox for life and the nightmares have been horrific and I am only on day 4. Will they carry on right through the 28 days?

      1. Hi Liz, my detox nightmares lasted about a week. They morphed into weird dreams after that (which were quite entertaining). I would imagine it to be different for everyone – depending on how much we need to “let go”.

        But I sure hope for your sake that it won’t be 28 days long 😉

  3. I came across your post after seaching “Detox diet – weird dreams”. Started detoxing on Monday and last night had the most craziest dream ever. Very disturbing! Wonder what tonight will bring? Thanks for letting me know I am not the only one!

    1. Hi Jeanne, thanks for stopping by and sharing. And no, you’re definitely not alone in having those weird detox dreams. 🙂

  4. I’m also glad I’m not the only one! I’ve been having nightmares almost every night simce I started detoxing, mostly about my family dying. Scary stuff!

  5. Oh my goodness! I thought it was just me, I have had the same bad dreams as you described above. I am no longer detoxing, but whenever I do, I get these dreams. This is too funny, and I am glad I am not alone. I never used the barley grass, but I do use my juicer a lot, and cleansed my bowels and liver with vegetable juices, and herbal teas. It makes you full of energy, and you feel a lot lighter and happier. MSM also, helps you detox, so I take that on a daily basis. I take no other supplements, because the new reports that have come in, state vitamins are basically useless.

    I’ve heard quite a bit about barley grass juice, so next time I see a good price on it, I may just pick some up. By the way, I had Melasma and the juicing has taken it away!

    1. Hi shylee, thanks for commenting.

      That’s really great that juicing faded your melasma. 🙂

      I love making my own juices and herbal teas too. And I agree that vitamins are “iffy” at best. At worst, they might contain heavy metals or some other contaminants. Plus, most are synthetic so I think they might not be as useful for our bodies as the organic vitamins found in fruits and veggies.

  6. I’ve had detox nighmares before when I was getting rid of candida. I was also taking chlorophyll with Chia. These can really take it out of you. I had them on and off for almost 3 months!

  7. I’m on the 3rd day of a 7-day detox (RAPID Cleanse) and had a nightmare last night, which was unusual for me because I rarely have them anymore. I was glad to have found this site and hear others are having the same occurrence.

  8. Man is that what is happening. I must be having detox dreams cause the past few dreams have been doozies. They have been really scary. I have been having nightmares and i dont know why. I have been dreaming of people getting violently killed and scary monsters and things of that nature. I hope it will pass soon.

  9. So glad I found this. I had nightmares for about 5 years when I was a kid about ghosts.. I keep starting to doze off and then all the sudden I “dream” or start thinking that something is touching me or pulling at me.. its scaring the heck out of me.. I tried texting my room mate to go jump in bed with her (I am That freaked out) but she’s not awake.. So I turned on my light and am playing Christian music like a loon. Lord help me. Any advice on a remedy?

    1. Wow… I don’t know if anyone will read this or not, but I’m detoxing from drinking. Talk about the dreams!! It’s been 5 days for me with out drink, that’s a lot for me. Last night I dreamed a demon tried to posses me. I’m sure it’s completely a metaphor for what I’m going through.. getting rid of my “drinking demon” but damn was it scary! I woke up at 4am.

  10. I have been doing a detox also and eating only whole foods. Wow what vivid dreams last night. I felt there was someone with me in the room the whole time and heard screaming a few times.
    My wife is also doing a detox the homeopathic doctor told her its ok to do it if shes breastfeeding. She called me this morning also telling me of night mares and feeling like there is some one beside her. She also said the baby woke up crying many times.

    She said she was not scared at all. I wish I could have told her the same lol.

  11. I’m glad I found this because I’ve been having nightmares for over a month now and it’s really gotten me down. I was starting to suspect a coffee substitute that I started about a month ago. I really love it, and am drinking way more of it than I ever drank coffee. But the main ingredient is barley. Maybe you are on to something…

    Too bad I bought a 2lb bag of the stuff. But I’d really rather not have the nightmares so I’m going to try quitting it for a while. Thanks for this post!

  12. THANK GOD FOR FINDING THIS POST! I’ve never done a cleanse, and in my 29 years on the planet, have ingested many a bad thing, a lot of things that I should have died from (previous party kid). All that being said, in the last year, I’ve changed my diet, I try to stay away from anything not organic and anything that’s gmo. Since discovering a gluten intolerance in the past 4 months, I decided it was about time to ‘clean house,’ and I started a whole body cleans (week 1 – cleans the guts, week 2 – focuses on cleaning the liver). BOY! I have never had such emotional, scary and downright terrifying dreams. They’re so lucid, like I can actually FEEL everything in the dreams. Scary! I was actually considering going off of the cleanse because of the dreams! So thank you very much for posting this… now that I know the dreams are somewhat normal in the process of cleansing, I’m going to stick with it and ride it out. THANK YOU!

    1. You’re welcome and thanks for sharing, Lili. I know exactly what you mean. Detox dreams can be very vivid.

      You know, I recently started meditating again and oddly enough, I got “mental detox” nightmares from that too. For some reason, meditation stirs things up in my brain/heart and shakes things loose. The dreams aren’t pretty, but better out than in! 🙂

  13. Somebody asked about detox nightmares. Yes yes and yes. I’ve been sober 5 years now but l still remember those. As l am a transgender woman, and also a commercial pilot; l found myself dreaming about airplane crashes that l was on the ground witnessing, bit could do nothing about many times they were happening right over were l was at and l had people l loved that l wanted to protect. I think it comes down to our venerable situation that we are, on when we arr addicted

    1. Hey, thanks for sharing. I would imagine that your detox dreams involve a strong sense of helplessness? It makes me wonder if detox dreams are a way of processing old “stuck” emotions.

      I know that in the past, whenever something made me really upset, I had a tendency to fight the feelings mentally while I was actually a mess emotionally. It would have been healthier to just let go, let myself feel all the awful feelings and cry/scream/hit a pillow/etc. If I’d done that more, I think a lot of my stuff would have just passed through harmlessly, instead of lodging itself in my brain/body over time.

      It’s like what they say — what you resist, persists.

      1. Hay Samantha I had nightmares every night when I was a child and again when I turned 19 back in 99. Imagine taking about 30 herbal pills every night from GNC when you just get your check buying that many detox and ephedrine herbal muscle building bottles I Was In actual what you call dream fright more then anyone I knew in high school. Finley I got some help with anti depressants I take Effexor 25MG non release dont go any higher Relapses Suck! It will take the bad dreams away what really helps to is fasting with lot of MSM every time I take alot a that my dreams fade away. I bought a book from Amazon called “Banishing Night Terrors And Nightmares” from Christopher Raoul Carranza and Jane Rogers Phd. “A breakthrough program to heal the traumas that shatter peaceful sleep”. If you havent got it yet that would be a grate help.

        1. I found MSM to be the CAUSE of my detox nightmares, but it could be the spirulina or wheatgrass which I am also taking, to be honest. Either way, detox means nightmares by the looks of things. Glad we’re getting that stuff out of us! Yuck, some of my dreams have been horrific – about repulsive disgusting rotten food coming out of my mouth, being trapped in a house with vampires after me, my old landlord stabbing someone repeatedly in front of me like it was nothing – just horrible stuff. Shudder. At first I thought it might be chemtrail mood manipulators being removed from my brain, I couldn’t imagine such things surely?! I have good emotional control in dreams, and awake I’m so happy, my inner peace is shining! I wish you all toxin free bodies and beautiful dreams.

  14. I’ve been detoxing for several months and most nights I wake up after 45 minutes of going to sleep and I say out loud…”I just died. I’m dead” The feeling stays with me for several minutes until I can get awake enough to realize I am not really dead – ha! Last night I woke up screaming and crying it was so real. It’s really bothering me!

    1. Wow dana, that is an intense dream to have. Did you have a near-death experience before or some situation where you were afraid for your life?

      And if it’s really bothering you, why not take a break? I took a break before when the dreams got to be too much and I’d wake up everyday feeling like I’ve been through hell.

  15. Thanks for this. I have been eating really healthy for quite some time now but my detox seems to go in stages. I have recently began drinking about 2 liters of distilled water a day as well as stopped smoking cannabis. Man…I have never have such horrible nightmares. I have always been a vivid dreamer and make a conscious effort to remain conscious while I dream each night and coupled with the increase in dream activity from not smoking dope it really makes for some hellish nightmares.
    Even if I decide to have a nap for an hr or so…bam, im straight into lucid dreaming of nightmarish proportions. I suffered from night terrors as a kid so nothing really compares but the dreams im having are quite horrific and almost on par with that.
    I know what dreams im capable of having and interacting with when Im dreaming normally so I cant wait till ive fully detoxed and the good ones come back again.
    It’s not nice but at least I know my efforts to rid my body of whatever toxins are left aren’t in vain.

    Thanks for your post. It’s made a lot of sense and it comforting to see others are experiencing the same from detox.

  16. Thanks for this post. I’m searching for this sort of information because I’m doing chlorella and detox baths for my four-year-old son and the first couple of times of chlorella and the first couple of detox baths, he’s woken up crying and I can only assume it’s from bad dreams. The timing is too perfect for me to not suspect it is a detox symptom, and of course it worries me. I hope it goes away soon and I worry that I’m shaking things up too much, too quickly in his system.

  17. Yes, I too experience these scary detox dreams. I wake up full of fear and terror. I am not using anything except a clean diet and some herbal tea for detoxing. My skin looks awful as a result of my good clean living. Anyone else experience this? And, is there any way to detox other than right out of your face? It is rather discouraging to have rosacea look worse when I actually am living better. Advice?? Thank you all for posting.

    1. Hi Carolyn,
      I stumbled upon your post while searching for “vivid dreams during food detox.” I’ve done several detoxes in the past and every time, I am amazed by the bizarre dreams that come along with it.
      I also suffer from Rosacea. I’ve found that certain foods, while technically clean, serve as triggers for flare-ups…..especially eggplant, which makes me sad b/c I love it so much. (Dairy also has a huge impact on my rocasea!)

      I printed a list I found online that categorizes foods into acid (high, moderate, low) and alkaline (low, moderate, high) and have noticed that if I aim to eat primarily moderate & high alkaline foods and avoid moderate & high acid foods, my skin really appreciates it.

  18. I have just started a 3 day juice cleanse. Am into day 2 only but last night I had the most violent and scary nightmares. I am so glad to see this is not just me! I really hope thats the last of them too. It is certainly interesting how the mind copes during detox!

  19. My PT has forwarded this link to me today as I was questioning the dreams I was having, I felt stupid asking him the question in the first place, but it seems I’m not alone!

    I’ve only had a handful or scary dreams but every night I dream, but the dreams are so intense and real I feel I am awake thought them and then when I actully do wake up, which is at the moment from 4am onwards(!) I am truly exhausted but unable to go to back to sleep. I hope it will pass soon as it’s starting to affect my working and training life! Thanks for the info!

  20. These comments are not mentioning supporting the liver. These side effects are a direct result of 1/2 detoxing. That is more dangerous than not detoxing. PLEASE add milk thistle, dandelion, turmeric, NAC, triphala, lemon juice, bone broth (usable and cheap glutamine) and/or methionine (plus many more) to your evening supplements. If you feel yourself getting angry, take it up a notch. Don’t let those negative emotions get stuck in your liver-or your colon. Be sure to “go” 2-3 times/day and get rid of that garbage.

    ALSO, I am a type O blood type. Barley and chlorella only make things worse for me.

    Never stop looking for the answer. It’s hard to be strong when you’re “sick” but it’s worth it.

    1. Hi Shannon, that’s quite interesting…

      I’m blood type A+ and from what I’ve read, we tend to do well on the green stuff. Green barley actually smells good to me, but my late father (who was blood type O) couldn’t stand the smell. I thought that was quite odd at the time, but now that I see your comment, I’m thinking it could be that his body knew it just wouldn’t be right for him.

      Thanks for sharing.

  21. I am currently three weeks in to a sugar free lifestyle, and am enjoying it. However after the first couple of days I have since suffered with hideously realistic dreams and nightmares, they are very vivid. I am hoping that they end soon, does anyone have an idea of how long they will last? It’s making my sleep extremely restless, which I had hoped, giving up sugar, would have improved my sleep.

  22. WoW, I’m soo glad I found this. I am currently doing an intense oxygen rich detox and I’m currently on day 4. And I’m at the point where I’m scared to go to sleep. I tried to listen to nice music while going to sleep but nope, my nightmares still persist. And I’ve never had nightmares like this..ever! I wake up shocked that my mind formed something so horrible/scary.. And the thing is I know that I’m detoxing emotionally b/c my nightmares are playing off of deep rooted insecurities and fears that have to w/ my family. It’s like my dreams are making me face all of my deep rooted fears/insecurities one night at a time. I can’t wait for all of this to pass. I never want to feel like this again.

    1. Ah “the purge”… It truly sucks when you’re in it, but I think you’ll be a new person after.

      One of my worst detox nightmares was me being in hell (I had/still have a very strong guilt complex). But this hellish experience proved to be immeasurably helpful in the end. Just the act of being forced to look at some of my accumulated mental and emotional garbage beliefs head on led me to be able to discard them.

      Hang in there, Briah!

  23. Glad to find this post to feel a bit less strange about my vivid dreams. It started when I began taking a detox pill made by Fusion Health before bed as reccomended. No scary but very odd and several different scenarios each night. I have used cannabis a lot in the past and have stopped as part of this detox and think the wild dreams may have something to do with that as well. Hope mine stay out of the horror zone. Yikes.

  24. I’ve been having nightmares everytime i sleep since I’ve been detoxing, my last one wasnt too scary, it was more abstract, I think what it meant was that there are areas in my life that I’m very deeply lacking in, and it’s going to take a long time before i get them to the next level as the others, after all we all want to be balanced right?

  25. Thanks for posting this. I am going through chlorella nightmare detox. Last night my dreams were awful and I got on the internet looking for answers. Thanks very much for your post!

    1. Hi Lucy

      You’re very welcome. It’s funny the dreams we get when detoxing!

      I’ve been doing a meatless detox this past week and the detox dreams I’ve been getting are more pleasant and quite emotionally cathartic. Not sure why exactly, but I’m glad for it!

  26. I’ve been drinking lemon water all day and i had a detox dream. It was that someone was trying to hunt me down and kill me and they did with a strong insect repellent. Scary!

  27. Wow, so glad that I came across this post. I have been detoxing for 6 days now, from gluten, dairy, nicotine and caffeine cut off. Started the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol… Nightmares, vivid dreams. one in particular, this old man broke into my house, it was SO real, every moment of it. I know i’ll never forget it. I do think its a purging of our deepest fears and insecurities. one thing I learned from my dream is not to hesitate on using my mace if someone ever does break in! not to fall for someone’s victim routine either!

  28. Glad I found this article too! I made a batch of bone broth with deer meat and bones.I only drank one cup of it. That night I had a vivid color dream about my x. He was going to kill me. Extreamly scary not knowing when he was going to do it, but watching him do things that let me know it was coming. I’ve never dreamed about him before. The bone broth diet book said it would happen, but I only drank one cup!! Wow. I’ve detoxed before and never had dreams. I usually wake up laughing when I dream. Not this time!!

  29. Hi. Wow so as everyone else says.. I was very interested to fibd this also. I just started a vegan diet along with cutting out most sugar … I’ve always had an intense sweet tooth. And ever since I had been eating a vegan diet.. My dreams have been crazy and scary. Waking up shaking and heart beating fast every time. So I checked to see if there was a correlation and ..there is!! I had no idea! So I went ahead and recorded my dreams. One my abusive ex,.. Was abusing me..and my cat.. Long story short… I had some crazy “effed” up dreams. That’s were very grungy dark settings and scary. So I guess I will try to figure them out.. But I guess i find a little comfort in knowing it is common but nervous to see what awaits in the upcoming nights.. Dun dun dun. Lol. Thankyou!

  30. Hi everyone, i have just woken up from a 2 hour nap, after the most weird dream, I am only on day 1 of a juice fast, I took the nap because of a slight headache, I have only been without solids for aprox 30 hours, anyway the dream wasnt scary just weird, it involved my son and I saving a girl from falling of a ledge by laying on the floor and breaking her fall, I woke with a start and looked at my computer screen and my son had that same moment sent me a message on skype saying “am cumming over to stay at yours dad” how odd.
    Anyway to everyone having the scary ones, dont worry dreams are awsome, and im sure they cant hurt you, im looking forward to dozing off again now, the next dream might be the winning lottery numbers hehe take care everyone.

  31. Me too! So glad to find out this is normal. I have been only candida cleansing for 3 days and for the last 2 nights had insane nightmares… first night I got paralysed in a horse riding accident and woke up crying. Last night I dreamt I was living in London and being bombed in the war. Madness!

  32. I’m 20 days into my first parasite cleanse and my dreams have been intense! Just woke up from one where I was laying naked on my bed with my crush, and bugs started crawling around nearby. I flicked them away but they kept coming. Then I’m literally smashing bugs left and right all over the room. Anger, disgust, fear, grief, and feelings of giving up. I cried out that I wanted to just give up and sell/close my business and start over again.

  33. Hi,

    I am doing castor oil abdominal massages at the moment and I have been having strange dreams, predominantly with ghosts, possessed animals, people being mean towards me, lots of travelling around in trains.

    1. Hi sasha

      That sounds horrible, but hang in there. You might be releasing some old pent-up fears, worries, etc.


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