Correlates and Treatments of Nightmares in Adults

Sleep Med Clin. 2009 Dec;4(4):507-517. doi: 10.1016/j.jsmc.2009.07.012.


Nightmares, distressing dreams that primarily arise from REM sleep, are prevalent among the general population and even more so among clinical populations. The frequency of nightmares and related nightmare distress are linked to both sleep disturbance and waking psychopathology. Based on the extant evidence, nightmares appear to be particularly relevant to posttraumatic stress disorder, and may even be implicated in its pathophysiology. Significant advances in treatment have occurred in recent years, with effective pharmacological and psychosocial interventions now available. Despite the progress that has been made, however, more consistent assessment methods and more rigorous study designs are needed to fully understand the causes and consequences of nightmares.