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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1991 Nov;179(11):664-9.

Sleep and dreaming in Holocaust survivors. Dramatic decrease in dream recall in well-adjusted survivors.

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Sleep Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa.


Sleep data were obtained on 12 well-adjusted and 11 less-adjusted Holocaust survivors and on 10 control subjects. Each was also awakened from rapid eye movement sleep for dream recall. The less-adjusted survivors had more prolonged sleep latency than the well-adjusted and the control groups and lower sleep efficiency than the control subjects. The well-adjusted group had a significantly lower dream recall rate (33.7%) than the less-adjusted (50.5%) and control groups (80%). There were also significant between-groups differences in dream structure and dream content, in the direction of less complex and less salient dreams in the well-adjusted survivors. It is suggested that the decrease in dream recall is one of the forms of long-term adjustment to severe traumatic events.

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