(2016). Roughly every 90 minutes, you enter what is often referred to as the fifth stage of sleep, which is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Alcohol withdrawal most commonly causes nightmares. When you wake up terrified from a disturbing nightmare, you might think you're the only adult who has them. For some people, these dreams are replicative nightmares in which the original trauma is replayed over and over again.How trauma can affect your dreams. Sleep Divorce May Work for You, How These 3 Sleep Positions Affect Your Gut Health. There are, though, some common nightmares that many people experience. Night terrors are hard to wake up from. Although the relationship is not understood, nightmares have been associated with suicide. Make your bedroom a relaxing, tranquil place that is reserved for sleep and sex, so that you don't associate it with stressful activities. Although nightmares and night terrors may seem similar, they’re quite different experiences. Night terrors typically occur in the first few hours after falling asleep. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/239938915_NLP_and_PTSD_The_Visual-Kinesthetic_Dissociation_Protocol. One older study from 1998 found that the most common nightmare-causing drugs included sedative and hypnotic drugs, beta blockers, and amphetamines.Thompson DF, et al. Drug-induced nightmares. But they can also be caused by a variety of factors and underlying disorders. http://sleepeducation.org/sleep-disorders-by-category/parasomnias/nightmares/risk-factors, https://www.sleep.org/articles/what-is-a-night-terror/, https://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0401/p2037.html, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/how-trauma-can-affect-your-dreams, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/239938915_NLP_and_PTSD_The_Visual-Kinesthetic_Dissociation_Protocol, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Everything to Know About Your Circadian Rhythm, Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI, Can’t Get Shut-Eye? Up to 71 percent of people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience nightmares.Levrier K, et al. After all, aren't adults supposed to outgrow nightmares? One study hypothesized that stress and trauma from childhood can cause recurring nightmares later in life.Nielsen T. (2017). Nightmare disorder is referred to by doctors as a parasomnia — a type of sleep disorder that involves undesirable experiences that occur while you're falling asleep, during sleep or when you're waking up. And between 2% and 8% of the adult population is plagued by nightmares. Drugs that act on chemicals in the brain, such as antidepressants and narcotics, are often associated with nightmares. (2000). © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. There can be a number of psychological triggers that cause nightmares in adults. Sleep deprivation may contribute to adult nightmares, which themselves often cause people to lose additional sleep. An extra hour of sleep sounds great, but its effects on the mind and body are mixed. In the case of nightmares caused by PTSD, medication may be used as part of a treatment protocol for the overall disorder. Once you treat the cause of the recurring nightmares, you may be able to reduce or eliminate them for good. They often set your heart pounding from fear. Also, eating increases your brain activities. In some cases, medications may be used in conjunction with therapy to treat PTSD-related nightmares, though their efficacy has not been demonstrated as clearly as that of imagery rehearsal treatment. Not all recurring nightmares are the same each night. Stress or anxiety. Recurring nightmares tend to happen more often in children than adults.Bad dreams, nightmares, and night terrors: Know the difference. Causes 1. Recurring nightmares often have an underlying cause. The American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and Anxiety and Depression Association of America all have resources that you can use to find a mental health professional near you. For example, a lot of adults have nightmares about not being able to run fast enough to escape danger or about falling from a great height. These include sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome. Night terrors and nightmares happen during different stages of sleep. Among people who experience nightmares, those who are anxious or depressed are more likely to be distressed about the experience and suffer even more psychological ill effects. Sleep apnea is generally treated with breathing machines, medications, lifestyle changes, and in some cases, even surgery. However, outside of PTSD, it’s rare for medication to be used in the treatment of recurring nightmares. How you sleep could be affecting the way your body functions, from your brain to your stomach, at night and…. Nightmares usually occur during the stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement (REM). The technique helps chronic sufferers change their nightmares by rehearsing how they would like them to transpire. (n.d.). If you've gone through a traumatic event, such as an attack or accident, you may have recurrent nightmares about your experience. Sleep deprivation can occur after just 24 hours of no sleep, and the symptoms become more severe the more time you spend awake. In many cases, treating recurring nightmares involves treating the underlying condition. If your nightmares are related to an underlying sleep condition, your healthcare provider may want to order a sleep study. Nightmare frequency, nightmare distress and the efficiency of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. (n.d.). A number of medications also are known to contribute to nightmare frequency. For example, anxiety and depression can cause adult nightmares. These dreams are often easily remembered. If nightmares are caused by PTSD, it’s important to seek professional treatment. Some of the treatment options for these conditions may include: Treatment for sleep conditions, such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy, may differ. Nightmares are scary, vivid dreams that usually cause the person to awaken immediately. Levrier K, et al. If you notice a difference in your nightmare frequency after a change in medication, talk with your doctor. How Long Does Coronavirus Live On Surfaces? A sleep study is a test that’s commonly performed at an overnight testing facility. These are called recurring nightmares. We’ll review all the potential causes…, Today, sleep-deprived couples say they'd be willing to file for a “sleep divorce” — opting to catch their nightly Zzz’s apart from one another, all in…, Jet lag, pulling an all-nighter, and shift work can all mess up your sleep schedule, and it can be hard to get on track. Behavioral changes have proven effective for 70% of adults who suffer from nightmares, including those caused by anxiety, depression, and PTSD. The causes of nightmares mostly have very deep roots, and to trace them accurately takes a lot of time and cooperation. PTSD. Because nightmares may have a significant impact on your quality of life, it's important to consult a medical professional if you experience them regularly. If so, it's important to determine what's causing your adult nightmares. The subjects of nightmares vary from person to person. 3. Regardless, these nightmares often cause similar emotions once you wake up, including: These thoughts and feelings can make it hard to get back to sleep again. Sleep deprivation, which can be caused by nightmares, can cause a host of medical conditions, including heart disease, depression, and obesity. DOI: 10.5812/atr.33051 Participants of the study received CBT for 20 weeks. Nightmare frequency, nightmare distress and the efficiency of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.