Chronic Nightmares

How do you recognize nightmares as a Sleep disorder?

Most of these patients do not accept that their nightmares represent a sleep disorder. Nightmares interrupt sleep which lead to poor sleep habits that can turn into chronic insomnia. Nightmares can be treated with non-drug, short term, cognitive imagery techniques that help with reducing disturbing dreams and improve insomnia.

How do Nightmare clinics for PTSD patients work?

PTSD patients are usually treated at these clinics when they do not respond to PTSD treatments. Trauma patients are treated more as they have dramatic nightmares that interfere with their lives as well as sleep patterns, which motivate them to seek help.

What side effects are there for PTSD patients?

The medications prescribed for PTSD patients contribute to Restless leg syndrome, Periodic Limb movement disorder, and Insomnia which can worsen nightmares.

What is the Nightmare treatment Pearl?

Most nightmare patients suffer from sleep disordered breathing (SDB). Some of the patients see an improvement in their nightmares with positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy, and others don’t see any change. Nightmares can get worse in the early stages of PAP therapy due to REM rebound which occurs when patients respond to well to the breathing mask treatment.

Two things that can be noted with these patients are dry mouth when they awaken, and if they wake up at night to urinate (nocturia). These symptoms are associated with SDB patients. Dry mouth occurs when obstructed breathing causes the patient to open their mouth when sleeping, this dies out the mucosa. Nocturia is less obvious, as SDB indirectly stimulates the kidneys to make more urine during the night that causes the increased tendency to wake up to go urinate.

If the patient suffers from nightmares, snoring, dry mouth and breathing symptoms as well as nocturia they might be suffering from SDB. 

Sharon Izak Elaine Chat staff