Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Sleep Med. 2011 Feb 15;7(1):69-74.

Emotional content of dreams in obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome patients and sleepy snorers attending a sleep-disordered breathing clinic.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Swansea University, Wales, UK.



To assess prospectively the emotional content of dreams in individuals with the obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) and sleepy snorers.


Prospective observational study. Forty-seven patients with sleepiness and snoring attending a sleep-disordered breathing clinic, completed a morning diary concerning pleasantness/unpleasantness of their dreams for 10 days, and then had AHI assessed by a limited-channel home sleep study. Participants and groups: Sleepy snorers, AHI < 5: n = 12 (mean age = 51.00 years [SD 7.01], 7 males); AHI 5 -14.9, n = 14 (mean age = 49.71 y [9.73], 12 males); AHI ≥ 15, n = 21 (mean age = 56.33 [11.24], 16 males).


All groups reported similar numbers of dreams and nightmares during the diary period. The AHI ≥ 15 group were significantly higher on dream unpleasantness than were the sleepy snorers (p < 0.05); and when only males were analyzed, this difference was also significant (p = 0.01). As AHI increased across the 3 groups, there was a significant decrease in variability of dream emotions (Levene test for homogeneity of variance between the 3 groups, p = 0.018). Mean daytime anxiety and daytime depression were significantly correlated with mean dream unpleasantness and with mean number of nightmares over the diary period.


Patients with AHI ≥ 15 had more emotionally negative dreams than patients with AHI < 5. The variation in mean dream emotion decreased with increasing AHI, possibly because sleep fragmentation with increasing AHI results in fewer and shorter dreams, in which emotions are rarer.


Obstructive sleep apnea; dreams; nightmares; snorers

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center