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How are nightmares in adults treated?

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If your nightmares are the result of a particular medication, you may be able to change your dosage or prescription to eliminate this unwanted side effect. For people whose nightmares are caused by conditions such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome, treating the underlying disorder may help alleviate symptoms. Behavioral changes have proven effective for 70% of adults who suffer from nightmares caused by anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Imagery rehearsal treatment is a promising cognitive behavioral therapy for recurrent nightmares and nightmares caused by PTSD. The technique helps chronic sufferers change their nightmares by rehearsing how they would like them to transpire. In some cases, medications may be used in conjunction with therapy to treat PTSD-related nightmares, though their efficacy has not been demonstrated as clearly as that of imagery rehearsal treatment. There are a number of other steps you can take on your own that may help reduce your nightmare frequency. Keeping a regular wake-sleep schedule is important. So is engaging in regular exercise, which will help alleviate nightmare-causing anxiety and stress. You may find that yoga and meditation are also helpful. Remember to practice good sleep hygiene, which will help prevent the sleep deprivation that can bring on nightmares in adults. Make your bedroom a relaxing, tranquil place that is reserved for sleep and sex, so that you don't associate it with stressful activities. Also, be cautious about the use of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, which can remain in your system for more than 12 hours and often disrupt sleep patterns.

From: Nightmares in Adults WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Sleep Association: "Nightmares."

Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia: "Nightmares."

Medical College of Wisconsin: "Nightmares, Sleepwalking and Night Terrors Haunt Many."

American Academy of Sleep Medicine: "Nightmares."

National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: "Nightmares."

Levin, R., , March 2002. Sleep

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Nightmares and Disorders of Dreaming."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 15, 2019

SOURCES:

American Sleep Association: "Nightmares."

Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia: "Nightmares."

Medical College of Wisconsin: "Nightmares, Sleepwalking and Night Terrors Haunt Many."

American Academy of Sleep Medicine: "Nightmares."

National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: "Nightmares."

Levin, R., , March 2002. Sleep

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Nightmares and Disorders of Dreaming."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 15, 2019

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