Nightmares Are Frequent But Underreported In US Military Personnel, New Research Shows

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According to a new study, a high percentage of U.S. military personnel are having regular nightmares, but aren’t reporting them as a sleep-related concern.

Researchers surveyed 493 active duty U.S. military personnel who had undergone sleep evaluations at the Sleep Medicine Center at Martin Army Medical Center in Fort Benning, Georgia. They found that 31.2 percent had nightmares at least once a week, meaning they had a nightmare disorder, but only 3.9 percent said those nightmares were one of the reasons they wanted a sleep evaluation. Plus, 60 percent of the people who had nightmares said they had nightmares about trauma.

[Editor’s Note: The information provided should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a sleep doctor or other medical expert if you have questions related to your own health.]

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ScienceDaily reports that the participants who had nightmare disorder were “five times more likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), four times more likely to have depression, three times more likely to have anxiety, and two times more likely to have insomnia.”

Obviously, nightmares are unpleasant in their own regard. The occasional nightmare is nothing to worry about — the researchers say that around 85 percent of people will have a nightmare every year.

But if you have nightmares once a week or more, also referred to as “clinically significant nightmares,” these bad dreams may be affecting your sleep. As such, experts recommend that you chat with your doctor if you think you have a nightmare disorder. Treatment options include medication and behavioral therapies.

Related: How Thinking You Have A Sleep Problem Could Be Just As Bad As Having One

Though this particular study focused only on active military personnel, the researchers believe it may be relevant to other people who have experienced trauma and regularly have trauma-related nightmares.

“This research provides a basis for furthering the study and knowledge of nightmares in survivors of traumatic experiences,” researcher Dr. Jennifer Creamer, medical director of the Sleep Medicine Center at Martin Army Medical Center, told ScienceDaily. “Treatment of nightmares can lead to improvement in sleep, quality of life, and other disorders such as suicidality.”

[Editor’s Note: The information provided should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a sleep doctor or other medical expert if you have questions related to your own health.]

Featured image: Anatoly Vartanov/Shutterstock

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Joe Auer

Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.

He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.

Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.