Nightmares: Causes and Treatments

Nightmares: Causes and Treatments

Being chased, fleeing from a wild animal, being attacked…we’ve all had nightmares before. Nightmares themselves are not considered a type of sleep disorder. They simply happen; however, if you deal with regular nightmares that make it challenging to get good sleep or lead to insomnia, it’s time to turn to our Columbia, SC, sleep doctors at Bogan Sleep Consultants.

Who experiences nightmares? 

Nightmares aren’t just for children; even adults get nightmares. While it is normal for children to get nightmares more regularly, particularly around three to six years old, it is still common for teens and adults to get them, too. Nightmares are more common during stressful periods, so if you are having nightmares, maybe it’s time to look at the stressors in your life and how you can manage them.

What causes nightmares? 

Again, nightmares themselves are not a sleep disorder; nightmare disorder is a rare condition that causes frequent and distressing bad dreams that impact sleep quality and lead to poor daily function and daytime fatigue and anxiety around sleep. Specific sleep problems could lead to nightmares. These sleep problems include,

  • REM behavioral disorder
  • Sleep apnea and other sleep-disordered breathing
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Sleep terrors

Sometimes seizures, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and certain medications can also cause bad dreams. If we detect and start treating these sleep problems, your nightmares may go away without needing to turn to our Columbia, SC, team for further treatments.

While I need to undergo a sleep study? 

If we suspect that you could have a sleep disorder, we recommend undergoing a sleep study known as a polysomnogram. This test will monitor brainwaves and other vital signs to rule out sleep apnea, seizures, and other sleep disorders.

How are nightmares treated? 

The root cause of your nightmares will help us determine whether you may require treatment. If your nightmares are due to PTSD, depression, or anxiety, we can refer you to a psychiatrist who can provide therapy and medications to help with your nightmares.

If you are dealing with insomnia due to recurring nightmares, we can provide you with lifestyle changes, sleep habit tips, and medications that can help ease your insomnia symptoms and help you get the sleep you need. Don’t let nightmares disrupt your quality of sleep or your quality of life. If your nightmares persist, it may be time to turn to us to determine whether you could be dealing with other undetected sleep disorders or health problems.

Don't let persistent nightmares keep you from getting the quality sleep you deserve. Call the Columbia, SC, sleep specialists of Bogan Sleep Consultants today at (803) 251-3093 to schedule an evaluation.

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