Researchers say 'soothing sounds' and other treatments can reduce them

Researchers say 'soothing sounds' and other treatments can reduce them
"It was just a dream."

A clich├ęd phrase, but for those afflicted with nightmares, these words offer little comfort. Nightmare disorder is characterized by frequent nightmares that cause stress or interfere with the ability to function in daily activities such as work or social situations. Also, even without this disorder, you may have had occasional bad dreams. Nightmares often wake you up and cause you prolonged anxiety and stress. Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (IRT) is a common treatment for nightmare disorder. Swiss researchers recently published a study combining IRT and targeted memory reactivation (TMR) in Current Biology. As a result, you may find it easier to sleep. Let's see what they find and how they can put those bad dreams to sleep.

What are the therapies for nightmare disorder?
First, we need to understand IRT, which is already being used as a means of reducing nightmare frequency and intensity. "[They] write down a very detailed version of their bad dreams and then create a non-scary nightmare ending." Thomas M. Kilkenny, MS, DO, FAASM, FCCP, Staten Island University Hospital, New York , director of the Sleep Medicine Institute, told Healthline. “They are written down and rehearsed over and over, like rehearsing the actions in a play. Basically, the patient is writing a new ‘end of the script’ to the nightmare, so the outcome is more comfortable.” Mr Kilkenny explained. The goal is to allow your subconscious mind to follow a new script after the nightmare has begun, leading to a happier ending.

Details from nightmare therapy study
In this newly published study, 36 participants were divided into two equal groups. Both groups were practicing her IRT, but the second group was also using her TMR. Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine in California and brainfood MD, told Healthline that TMR works by associating stimuli, such as specific sounds, with specific thoughts while awake. "Then, when the same sound is heard while sleeping, the brain reactivates that memory. In the case of nightmares, if a sound is associated with a positive outcome of the nightmare, the person is likely to have the dream." Playing that sound while you're watching should help reactivate positive memories that were rehearsed while you were awake," explained Dimitriou.

Participants in the TMR group of this study listened to sounds while imagining better dream endings during IRT. I wore a special headband that made the same sound when I entered. After two weeks, those who heard tones during awake IRT had fewer nightmares per week. They also had many dreams with positive emotions such as joy.

Reactions to the nightmare therapy study
Experts responded positively to the conduct of the survey and the results obtained. “We are delighted that such a relatively gentle procedure has led to such positive results,” said Dimitriu. All reported fewer nightmares per week. The results of the TMR group were more pronounced than those of the IRT-only group. “This study once again shows that IRT alone can help improve nightmare disorder, but in a new twist, adding TMR to IRT not only improves [nightmare disorder], but also improves the experience of positive dreams. It also means that the amount.

Treatment for Nightmares
Although the results of this study are promising, they may be difficult to implement on your own.If you have frequent or severe nightmares, it may be helpful to address your sleep habits first. "Anybody who is doing this needs to check some basic biological systems," Dimitriu said. There are five things he recommends investigating.

  • Check for sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.
  • Get enough sleep with regular bedtime and wake-up times.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon and avoid alcohol 3-4 hours after bedtime. No late dinner.
  • Make sure there is no real cause of the nightmare.
  • Seek professional help if you are suffering from anxiety, depression, or trauma.
If you're interested in TMR but don't have an EEG-integrated headband, you may be able to use other sound triggers such as: B. A fan or machine with white noise. "The point is that external stimuli can be associated with the thoughts you want to remember," said Kilkenny.

“Another treatment that has been shown to help nightmares associated with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is the drug prazosin. Other behavioral therapies that may be considered for include exposure, relaxation and restating therapy, dynamic sleep therapy, hypnosis, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and testimony methods. "Experts recommend consulting a family physician, sleep specialist, or psychiatrist if you need help managing nightmares," Kilkenny said.

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