Nightmare Disorder

Nightmare Disorder

Nightmare disorder is characterized by  disturbing dreams associated with negative thoughts and feelings that causes anxiety and awaken you, causes distress and fear of going back to sleep. In children aged between 3 and 6 years old nightmare begin. Nightmares are common but nightmare syndrome is quite rare.



  • Vivid, real and upsetting dream
  • Feeling of fear, anxiety, sad or disgusted as a result of dream
  • dream storyline is usually related to threats to safety or survival
  • Feeling sweaty and have palpitations while on bed
  • Frequent occurrence of nightmares
  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Disturb functioning at school

Nightmare disorder is known as  parasomnia which means a type of sleep disorder that involves undesirable experiences that occur while sleeping. Nightmares commonly occur during Rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. Following are some triggering factor of sleep:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Insomnia
  • Certain medications like antidepressant, blood pressure medications, beta blockers.
  • Alcohol use or substance abuse
  • Reading scary books or watching frightening movies

Diagnosis of this disorder depends upon detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of the patient. Polysomnography means nocturnal sleep study is done if sleep is severely disturbed.


Treatment options include:

  • Treating of underlying condition that causes nightmares
  • Stress and anxiety management
  • Imagery rehearsal therapy.
  • Medications are rarely used in the treatment of nightmare disorder
Lifestyle and home remedies
  • Maintain a regular and relaxing routine before bed
  • Offer reassurance to the the child to keep child calms
  • Rewrite a happy ending of your dream
  • Use night light in the bedroom
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