Nightmares are common, and occasional nightmares, are usually nothing to worry about. However, they can become a problem if you have them, and often they disrupt your sleep or make you afraid to go to sleep. The diagnosis of disorders nightmare is only made if the nightmare causes constant stress or problems with the day’s work.

Nightmares can begin in children from 3 to 6 years old and, as a rule, do not decrease after the age of about 10 to 13 years; there are boys and girls to have nightmares in equal amounts. At the age of 13 years, nightmares seem to be more common in girls than in boys. Some people have them as teenagers or adults or throughout their lives.

Nightmare Disorder


Nightmare Disorder Symptoms

Doctors refer to nightmare disorder as Parasomnia – the type of sleep disorder, which includes adverse events that occur while falling asleep, during sleep or when you wake up. Nightmares usually occur during the stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement.

As a rule, you go through four to six sleep cycles during the night, riding a bicycle through the stages of sleep for about 90 minutes. However, your stage REM elongated with each process of a few minutes in the first cycle to the last hour. As a result, you are more likely to have a nightmare in the second half of the last third of your nights.

Nightmare may include the following:

  • Your dream seems natural and vivid, often becoming more and more disturbing as a plan unfolds.
  • Your dream story, as a rule, due to the threats to the security or survival
  • You feel scared, anxious, anger, sadness or disgust as a result of your dreams.
  • Your dream wakes you up
  • Do you feel sweaty and have a pounding heart, but do not leave the bed
  • You can think clearly after waking up and can remember details of your dreams
  • Your dream comes closer to the end of your sleep time
  • Your plan keeps you from falling back to sleep easily

You can have nightmare disorder if, in addition to the above:

  • The sleep disturbance causes significant distress or problems with functioning during the day.
  • Medications or physical or mental disorders do not adequately account for the fact that you have nightmares.

Children’s nightmare content varies with age, tends to become more complex. While a young child may dream about monsters, an older child may have nightmares about school or problems at home.


When to see a doctor

Mostly nightmares are not usually a cause for concern. However, if your child has nightmares, you might mention them in a routine well-baby exam.

Talk to your doctor early if nightmares:


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Nightmare Disorder Causes

Nightmares are only considered a disorder if the anxiety dreams cause you distress or keep you from getting enough sleep. Nightmares can be caused by many factors, including:

  • Stress. Sometimes the usual stresses of everyday life, such as problems at home or school, trigger nightmares. In addition, one of the significant changes, such as the motion or death of a loved one, can have the same effect.
  • Injury. Nightmares are common after an accident, injury, or other traumatic events. In addition, nightmares are prominent in post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Sleep deprivation. Changes in the schedule, which causes irregular sleep and waking time, interrupt or reduce the amount of sleep can increase the risk of nightmares.
  • Medicines. Some medications including antidepressants, blood pressure medications, beta-blockers, and medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease or help you stop smoking – can cause nightmares.
  • Addiction. Alcohol and illicit drug use or withdrawal may cause nightmares.

Some medical conditions and psychiatric disorders, and other sleep disorders may be associated with nightmares. For example, anxiety may be associated with a higher probability of repeated nightmares.


See Also: What is Insomnia?


Nightmare Disorder complications

Nightmare disorder can cause:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness can lead to difficulties in school or at work or problems with everyday tasks such as driving and concentrating.
  • Problems with mood, anxiety if the dream continues to bother you
  • Resistance to bed or sleep for fear you will have another bad dream


See Also: Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)


Nightmare Disorder Tests and diagnosis

It is usually done to diagnose disorders nightmares. However, recurring nightmares can sometimes indicate a significant concern. Most likely, if it is, your doctor may refer the child to a psychologist for assessment and management.

Nightmare disorder should be distinguished from:

  • Sleep terrors, other Parasomnia, which you probably sit, cry, talk, thrash and kick.
  • REM sleep behavior disorder, which involves acting out dreams, screaming, punching, or kicking

From time to time, if your sleep is badly broken, your doctor may recommend an overnight sleep study to help determine if the nightmares are associated with other sleep disorders.


Sleep research

Sleep studies test is used to diagnose sleep disorders and, as a rule, requires that you spend the night in a sleep laboratory. During the trial, the sensors are located on the head and body to record your brain waves, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and respiration, as well as eye and leg movements. In some studies, the camcorder will record your sleep.

Your doctor will review the information to determine whether you have any sleep disorders.


Nightmare Disorder Treatments and drugs

nightmares Treatment is usually not required. If nightmares are causing you stress and interfering with your day’s work, talk to your doctor. The cause of nightmare disorder helps determine treatment.

  • The medical condition of treatment: If nightmares are related to the underlying disease or mental health, treatment is directed at the underlying problem.
  • Stress or anxiety treatment: If stress and anxiety seem to contribute to nightmares, your doctor may suggest methods of stress management, counseling, or treatment.
  • Medications: Medications are rarely used for the treatment of nightmares. However, drugs that reduce REM sleep or reduce awakenings during sleep may be recommended if you have severe sleep disorders.
  • Imagery rehearsal therapy: Often used with people who have nightmares due to PTSD, imagery rehearsal therapy involves changing the ending to your nightmare remembered while awake so that it is no longer threatened. Then you rehearse a new stop in your mind. This approach can reduce the frequency of nightmares.


See Also: Depersonalization-derealization disorder


Nightmare Disorder Lifestyle and home remedies

If you have nightmares, try some relaxation techniques before bedtime. For example, take a warm bath, meditate or practice deep breathing. Sequential treatment before going to bed is essential. If your child is struggling with nightmares, be patient, calm, and reassuring. Sometimes a little creativity helps too.

Comfort. After your child wakes up from a nightmare, respond quickly to calm the child at the bedside.

Talk about a dream. Ask your child to describe the nightmare. What happened? Who was in a dream? What made it scary? Then remind your child that nightmares are not real and can not harm you.

Put stress in its place. If your child seems to have anxiety or stress, talk about what was bothering them. Then, practice some simple steps to relieve stress, such as deep breathing.

Rewrite the ending. As for shooting, rehearsal therapy helps the child to imagine a happy ending for the nightmare; ask your child to draw a picture of a nightmare, ‘talk’ characters into a nightmare, and a nightmare to write about in a magazine.

Ensure your company. Your child may feel more secure if sleeping with a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or another comfort object.

Brighten. Use a night light in your baby’s room. If your child wakes up during the night, the light can be reassuring.

Open the door. Leave the door open to your child at night, that they will not feel lonely; leave your door, too, in case your child needs comfort at night.


See Also: Other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED)


Nightmare Disorder Preparing for your appointment

For children, nightmares tend to decrease by the time they are teenagers. However, if you have doubts about the safety or primary conditions, you can see a doctor. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist.

It’s a good idea to prepare for the meeting. Here is some information to help you.


What can you do

  • Keep a sleep diary- within two weeks before your appointment to help your doctor understand your or your child’s sleeping pattern. In the morning, write as much as you know about the ritual before bedtime, sleep quality, and so on. In the end, the record of behavior, which can affect sleep, such as caffeine intake or medications, is taken.
  • List all medications-  vitamins or other supplements you are taking and the dosages.
  • List the symptoms you are experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the cause of the destination.
  • Note the critical personal information, including any significant stresses or recent life changes.
  • Bring a family member or friend along, If possible, to help you remember what the doctor says.
  • The list of questions to ask your doctor to make the most of your time together.


Examples of questions you can ask your doctor include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms or condition
  • What are other possible causes
  • Is my condition reasonable temporary or chronic?
  • What is the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you’re suggesting?
  • Whether there are any restrictions that I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have?
  • What sites do you recommend?
  • Do not hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you.


What can we expect from your doctor?

Your doctor may ask you a few questions, including:?

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • How often occur nightmares, and what they are about
  • What do you do before going to bed?
  • Have you had trouble sleeping in the past?
  • Someone else in your family has trouble sleeping?