Nightmares can be defined as vivid and terrifying dreams which awaken the dreamer from sleep. Typically, the dreamer wakes from the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep and can remember a detailed, perhaps bizarre dream plot. There is evidence that frequent nightmares are associated with insomnia and poor-quality sleep.Nightmares in adults are often spontaneous. But they can also be caused by a variety of factors and underlying disorders.Some people have nightmares after having a late-night snack, which can increase metabolism and signal the brain to be more active. A number of medications also are known to contribute to nightmare frequency.
Non-psychological medications, including some blood pressure medications, can also cause nightmares in adults. Diagnosis and medication can only be given to patients that report the recurring nightmares to a psychiatrist or other physician. Medications like prazosin are sometimes used to treat nightmares in people with PTSD. Therapy usually helps to deal with the frightening themes of the nightmares and alleviate the recurrence of the dreams. Pediatricians found that 25-35% of children have difficulties with sleep that are serious enough to disturb their families. Although sleepwalking and night terror disorder occur more frequently in children than in adults, children can also suffer from narcolepsy and sleep apnea syndrome.