A fever dream is an intense dream experience that can be remembered as part of a feverish illness. It is therefore a reminiscent event in sleep that is associated with the existing increase in temperature. The fever dream can have both positive and negative content and be both coherent in its subject matter as well as completely meaningless. The only thing that is important for the definition is that the dream was experienced during a fever phase. Subjectively, sufferers often perceive fever dreams as stressful or confusing.


The basic mechanism for the development of fever dreams is the combination of an increased need for sleep and the increased body functions of the patient. Anyone who has ever had a flu before knows that the body needs a lot of rest and sleep to recover. Often, however, pathogens cause such massive inflammatory and defense reactions of the body that are increased as a result of metabolism and circulation. The body temperature is also increased to kill the pathogens. In purely figurative terms, the bodily functions run on "full speed" to render the pathogen harmless. Now it may be that in the brain, the areas that are responsible for sleep, are irritated by the increased metabolic functions. Normally, the body down regulates all functions in the sleep. If there is a dysbalance between bodily functions such as the pulse or the body temperature with the activity of brain areas, it can lead to false perceptions. Fieberträumen are very intense dreams, which are perceived as "really experienced". This impression arises, however, above all because the body does not come to rest properly during sleep.

What happens with a fever dream?

A fever dream usually occurs only with a significant increase in body temperature, and thus rather speaks for a more serious disease course. If the body temperature increases significantly, the heart rate is reflexively increased. Thus, the body reaches that all organs in the body despite the stress situation "disease" are sufficiently supplied with nutrients and oxygen. At the same time, the body is signaled that it is in an active performance phase. If the person is weakened by his illness and understandably tries to sleep, it may be that brain areas responsible for sleep are irritated by the increased metabolism. In addition, the person affected often only reaches a dream-like stage, as he is too stressed by the disease. As a result, the subconscious can send out disordered signals and lead to so-called fever dreams. At the peak of the fever curve, the discrepancy between need for rest and exercise is greatest, so that the likelihood of occurrence is highest here. Unconscious thoughts mingle with memories and then express themselves to the person affected as a fever dream.


The simplest symptom of a fever dream is the fever itself. It depends entirely on the affected person and his initial condition, from which temperature increase it can come to the fever dream. In theory, physicians speak of a temperature above 38 ° C of fever. If the affected or relatives measure a significant increase in body temperature after a suspected fever dream, this is a clear indication. However, if you do not have a thermometer at home, you may also consider nonspecific symptoms as an indication of a fever dream. The basic requirement in almost all cases is a clear malaise. The associated elevated temperature often manifests itself in the feeling of "burning eyes" and "glowing cheeks". In addition, the bed linen is often sweaty after waking up. But these are purely subjective observations that do not always have to be based on a fever dream. Often it is really the relatives who can observe a fever dream with the person concerned. To establish it in oneself is more of a conjecture, often based on the feeling of not restful sleep or wild dreams. In any case, a fever thermometer should be used for follow-up in case of recurrence.


The duration of a fever dream can vary a lot, but should not last longer than a few hours. As a rule, these are rather short phases of about half an hour, which are associated with the peak of body temperature in the course of the fever. It is not uncommon for fever dreams to recur when the body temperature rises again. However, it is important that the duration should be limited to the sleep phase. Any persistent confusion or distorted perception should be assessed by a physician, since in such a case it is more likely to be the result of the temperature increase. A concomitant fluid loss can cause confusion states.

Fever dream with the child

With the child, fever dreams are nothing unusual. Especially children around the first year of life up to the kindergarten age are particularly sensitive to strong temperature fluctuations, which manifests itself in addition to the fever dreams in so-called febrile convulsions. The fever dreams are, however, to be regarded as uncomplicated. Parents often notice a restless sleep in their child at the beginning of an infection and an increased sweating in the night. Characteristic of fever dreams are vocalizations coming from the child while sleeping. From a quiet whimpering to a slight babble or cry, everything is conceivable. Objectively, it helps to measure the temperature rectally with a clinical thermometer to estimate the probability of a fever dream. If the temperature is permanently elevated and the child is increasingly weakened, antipyretic measures should be taken to give the child enough time for a restful sleep. In case of a single occurrence or only very short fever dreams, these should be tolerated. The increased body temperature helps to kill the body's own defense of the disease-causing pathogens.

Are fever dreams hallucinations?

Hallucinations are perceptions that are perceived as "real" only by those affected. Other people can not empathize with these perceptions. You can express yourself in pictures as well as in sounds or in the taste. In a fever dream, the person concerned usually experiences a situation that he finds "real" at the moment of the dream. On waking up, however, most sufferers immediately realize that it was a dream. As a distinguishing feature for outsiders should apply here, that a fever dream in the affected person can certainly take on characteristics from restless sleep to nightmares, however, an alert and feverish man can distance himself clearly from his dream afterwards. At the latest he can do this when his temperature has returned to normal.

What can you do about fever dreams?

It only needs to be done against fever dreams when the fever causes significant damage. Otherwise, fever dreams need no treatment, since they disappear on their own with the decline of the fever. Once the disease has been overcome, feverish dreams can no longer be expected. Since the fever is the cause of confused dreams, the key to therapy is lowering the temperature. It usually suffice simple measures such as adapted to the body temperature bedding or adequate hydration. Only in rare cases fever dreams require a drug therapy, which is then used prophylactically. For this purpose, the selected drugs are usually used regularly during the acute phase of the disease or before the expected peak of the fever curve. As a permanent measure they should not be used.

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