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J Clin Sleep Med. 2010 Feb 15;6(1):69-73.

The nightmares of sleep apnea: nightmare frequency declines with increasing apnea hypopnea index.

Author information

  • 1University of Colorado School of Medicine, Sleep Disorders Center of Southern Colorado, Pueblo, CO, USA. Pueo34@earthlink.net

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To clarify the association of reported nightmare recall with polysomnographically defined obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in a sleep laboratory population.

METHODS:

This study included 393 individuals undergoing clinical polysomnography including a general intake questionnaire with questions on dream and nightmare recall frequency. Mean age was 50.5 and a range of 13 to 82 years, with 33% of the sample female and 67% male. Reported dream and nightmare recall were classified as infrequent when reported at less than once a month, or frequent when reported at a frequency greater than once per week.

RESULTS:

Mean Apnea-hypopnea Index AHI was 34.9 (std. 32.0) indicating a high frequency of severe (AHI > 30) OSA in this clinical study population. Both AHI and Apnea Index (AI) were significantly higher (p = 0.000) for the grouping reporting infrequent nightmare recall. As the AHI score increased, the percent of participants with frequent nightmare recall decreased linearly.

CONCLUSION:

Patients with higher AHI report a lower nightmare frequency, indicating that significant OSA suppresses the cognitive experience of nightmare recall. Depressed nightmare recall may occur secondary to the REMS suppression know to occur in patients with significant OSA.

PMID:
20191941
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2823279
Free PMC Article

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