Objective: To assess the impact of treatment for co-morbid sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) on patients with nightmares and post-traumatic stress. Methods: Twenty-three chronic nightmare sufferers (15 with post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD) who also suffered co-morbid SDB (obstructive sleep apnea, OSA, n = 16; upper airway resistance syndrome, UARS, n = 7) completed a telephone interview, on average, 21 months after having been offered treatment for SDB at a university sleep disorders clinic. Results: At follow-up, 14 reported maintaining treatment (Treatment Group) and 9 reported discontinuing treatment (No-Treatment Group). More patients in the Treatment Group reported improvement in sleep (93% vs. 33%) and in daytime well being (93% vs. 33%) compared with those in the No-Treatment group. The Treatment Group reported a median improvement in nightmares of 85% compared with a median 10% worsening in the No-Treatment Group. In the PTSD subset (n = 15), nine in the Treatment Group reported a median 75% improvement in PTSD symptoms whereas six in the No-Treatment Group reported a median 43% worsening. Conclusion: In this small sample of patients, treatment of SDB was associated with improvements in nightmares and PTSD. Relationships between nightmares, PTSD and SDB are discussed.
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Upper airway resistance syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health