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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1995 Oct;183(10):623-7.

A controlled comparison of self-rated sleep complaints in acute and chronic nightmare sufferers.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque 87131-5246, USA.


A cross-sectional study was performed to retrospectively assess self-rated sleep complaints in three groups of subjects: controls without nightmares (N = 77), acute nightmares sufferers (< 6 months duration, N = 36), and chronic nightmare sufferers (> 6 months duration, N = 128). Four specific complaints of sleep disturbance were categorically measured to ascertain the presence or absence of the symptom: fear of going to sleep; awakenings from sleep; difficulty returning to sleep; and fitful, restless sleep. Each of the four separate sleep complaints were significantly more common in the acute (p < .0001) and chronic (p < .0001) nightmare groups compared with controls. A summed aggregate score of the four sleep complaints was also higher in both the acute (p < .0001) and chronic groups (p < .0001) compared with controls. Ninety-one percent of all subjects with nightmares reported at least one sleep complaint. Between-group assessments, comparing acute and chronic nightmare sufferers for any of the four variables and the aggregate, demonstrated no statistically significant findings, although a few trends were noted. A dose-response relationship was not observed for nightmare frequency or chronicity for any of the four sleep variables or their aggregate. The relationship between nightmares and disturbed sleep is discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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