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Severe sleep apnea decreases frequency of nightmare recall
Date:2/15/2010

ghtmares are coherent dream sequences that seem real and become increasingly more disturbing as they unfold. Emotions usually involve anxiety, fear or terror, and dream content most often focuses on imminent physical danger or other distressing themes. Nightmares may result in post-awakening anxiety and difficulty returning to sleep. Approximately 50 percent to 85 percent of adults report having at least an occasional nightmare, and about two percent to eight percent of the general population have a current problem with nightmares.

This retrospective study involved 393 consecutive patients who were evaluated by overnight polysomnography at the Sleep Disorders Center of Southern Colorado over a two-year period. Their mean age was 50.5 years with a range of 13 to 82 years, and 67 percent of participants were male. The mean AHI was 34.9, indicating a high frequency of severe OSA.

Questions concerning dream and nightmare recall frequency were incorporated into a general sleep questionnaire. Dream and nightmare recall were classified as infrequent when reported once a month or less, or frequent when reported at least weekly. About 52 percent (205 people) reported frequent dream recall, and 34 percent (134 people) reported frequent nightmare recall. Analysis confirmed that dream recall and nightmare recall were not associated.

The authors noted that the study clearly demonstrates that increasingly severe OSA has a much greater negative effect on reported nightmare recall frequency than it does on reported dream recall.


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Contact: Kelly Wagner
kwagner@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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