Article

Frequency of Nightmares and Gender Significantly Predict Distressing Dreams of German Athletes Before Competitions or Games

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Abstract

Important sports events are highlights and stressful situations in every athlete's career. This stress might alter the dream content of athletes and consequently evoke disturbed dreaming. In this study, the authors asked 840 German athletes from various sports about distressing dreams on the nights before an important competition or game. About 15% of the athletes stated that they experienced at least 1 distressing dream before an important competition or game during the preceding 12 months. An almost equal number of athletes reported at least 1 distressing dream in their sports career. With respect to the base rate, in about 3% of the events a distressing dream occurred. Reported dream content referred mainly to athletic failure. The main risk factor for an athlete experiencing a distressing dream before a competition appears to be the frequency of experienced nightmares in general. Future research should use diary techniques to study the impact of distressing dreams on the next-day athletic performance in a competition or game.

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... Another proposed mechanism is the dual role of some neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, serotonin) in regulating both sleep and emotion (Harvey et al., 2011). Few studies have to date examined relationships between athlete sleep and psychological state prior to competition (Erlacher et al., 2011;Juliff et al., 2015;Lastella et al., 2014). Nonetheless, surveys indicate that 60-70% of athletes experience sleep difficulties prior to competition, which are primarily attributed to competition-related thoughts and nervousness (Erlacher et al., 2011;Juliff et al., 2015;Lastella et al., 2014). ...
... Few studies have to date examined relationships between athlete sleep and psychological state prior to competition (Erlacher et al., 2011;Juliff et al., 2015;Lastella et al., 2014). Nonetheless, surveys indicate that 60-70% of athletes experience sleep difficulties prior to competition, which are primarily attributed to competition-related thoughts and nervousness (Erlacher et al., 2011;Juliff et al., 2015;Lastella et al., 2014). Conversely, shorter sleep duration before a marathon has been associated with increased perceptions of "tension" on race day (Lastella et al., 2014). ...
... Conversely, shorter sleep duration before a marathon has been associated with increased perceptions of "tension" on race day (Lastella et al., 2014). These studies have typically used subjective measures of sleep (Erlacher et al., 2011;Juliff et al., 2015;Lastella et al., 2014), and have often surveyed athletes retrospectively rather than collected data in real-time (Erlacher et al., 2011;Juliff et al., 2015). Subjective sleep data often correlate poorly with objective data (Lauderdale et al., 2008), and retrospective surveys are susceptible to recall bias. ...
Article
This study examined sex differences among endurance athletes in pre-race relationships between sleep, and perceived stress and recovery. Thirty-six athletes completed the Short Recovery and Stress Scale, and had sleep monitored via actigraphy, over four consecutive days prior to an ultra-marathon. Overall, compared with males, females had shorter wake after sleep onset (mean ± SD, 50 ± 23 vs 65 ± 23 min, p = .04) and lower emotional balance (3.9 ± 1.1 vs 4.8 ± 1.1 arbitrary units, p = .001). The day before the race, females scored higher for all stress-related items (p < 0.05). Among females, higher scores for emotional balance (β = -31 min, p = .01) and negative emotional state (β = -21 min, p < .001) were associated with reduced sleep duration. Among males, higher scores for overall stress were associated with increased sleep duration (β = 22 min, p = .01). Across all athletes, longer sleep duration was associated with improved overall recovery (β = 0.003 arbitrary units, p = .02). Females experienced greater pre-race stress than males, and their sleep duration was associated with emotional factors. The SRSS may help identify female athletes at risk of sleep difficulties prior to competition.
... Only the effects of travel fatigue encountered during domestic flights on sleep are addressed. Additionally, it is not the aim of the present review to assess the effects of terrestrial altitude on sleep [10], Ramadan [11,12], disturbed sleep and nightmares before competition [13,14] or sleep apnea [15]. ...
... Learning and motor memory are associated with slow-wave sleep, REM sleep [20][21][22] and sleep spindles [23] during the night, and result in overnight systems-level plastic reorganization within the brain, including increased activation in the primary motor cortex [24]. Nishida and Walker [23] have found that motor skill improvements are significantly associated with stage-2 non-REM sleep (r = 0.55, p = 0.04), and also with the density (r = 0.65, p = 0.01) and power (r = 0.57, p = 0.04) of locally expressed sleep spindles-a defining electrophysiological signature of non-REM sleep involving short (&1 s) synchronous bursts of activity (12)(13)(14)(15). Walker et al. [24] have reported a systems-level change in the functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning of a learned motor-sequence task after a night of sleep (8.1 ± 0.8 h). ...
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... Może po ja wić się on kil ka dni przed i po wy ko na niu wysił ku star to we go. Po nad to za wod ni cy zgła sza ją cy silną an ty cy pa cje za da nia, zgła sza ją ta kże za kłó ce nie noc ne go snu przed star tem [5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]. W kon se kwen cji at mos fe ra za wo dów mo że od po wia dać za tzw. ...
... It may be appeared few days prior-and after the performance of the competitive exertions. Moreover, contestants reporting strong anticipatory stress, report also disruption of nocturnal sleep prior to a competition [5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]. In a consequence, competi tive climate may be responsible for so-called choking under pressure, which according to Baumeister [13] is defined as "performance decrements under circum stances that increase the importance of good or improved performance". ...
... with future events is unknown, analyses of dream content have long suggested that dreams do at least sometimes reference anticipated episodes. For example, students dream of upcoming exams [38], patients dream of upcoming surgeries [39], pregnant women dream of their future baby [40], and athletes dream of approaching competitions [41]. Experimentally introduced future events can induce dreams in the laboratory environment as well. ...
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Memories of the past help us adaptively respond to similar situations in the future. Originally described by Schacter & Addis in 2007, the “constructive episodic simulation” hypothesis proposes that waking thought combines fragments of various past episodes into imagined simulations of events that may occur in the future. This same framework may be useful for understanding the function of dreaming. N = 48 college students were asked to identify waking life sources for a total of N = 469 dreams. Participants frequently traced dreams to at least one past or future episodic source (53.5% and 25.7% of dreams, respectively). Individual dreams were very often traced to multiple waking sources (43.9% of all dreams with content), with fragments of past memory incorporated into scenarios that anticipated future events. Waking-life dream sources are described in terms of their phenomenology and distribution across time and sleep stage, providing new evidence that dreams not only reflect the past, but also utilize memory in simulating potential futures.
... Schredl & Erlacher, 2004;Schredl, 2003) and the frequencies reported by German athletes (cf. Erlacher, Ehrlenspiel, & Schredl, 2011;Erlacher, Stumbrys, & Schredl, 2011-12). As expected, lucid dream and nightmare frequencies, as measured by the eight-point scales, did not differ between the two measurements. ...
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Lucid dream and nightmare frequencies vary greatly between individuals and reliable instruments are needed to assess these differences. The present study aimed to examine the reliability of eight-point scales for measuring lucid dream and nightmare frequencies. The scales were administered twice (with a four-week interval) to 93 sport students. A re-test reliability r=.89 (p<.001) for the lucid dream frequency was found and for the nightmare frequency r=.75 (p<.001). Both eight-point scales appear to be reliable measures for assessing individual differences in lucid dream and nightmare frequencies.
... Life goals may also find their reflection in contents of dreams connected with events that are still to come. Erlacher, Ehrlenspiel, and Schredl (2011), examining German athletes, showed that 15% out of 840 representatives of different sport disciplines experienced during the last year at least one stressful dream about a competition that they were to participate in the following day. As many athletes experienced a similar dream over their entire sport career. ...
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The aim of the study was to verify hypotheses about time changeability of dream characteristics depending on the participants’ age and affective value of the dream. The study was conducted online. Participants of the study were 68 individuals between the age of 17 and 85. The participants were asked to prepare detailed descriptions of their dreams, next they had to identify elements of the dreams, refer them to their real life, and assess their affective value. In the dreams of late adolescents, and young and middle-aged adults the most frequently recalled period in a positive context turned out to be late adolescence and early adulthood, whereas in a negative context the participants would recall their present developmental phase and the period of late childhood. Unpleasant dreams of older individuals were mainly connected with the period of middle adulthood, whereas those pleasant ones referred to various periods of their entire life.
... It would be interesting to investigate whether or not professional musicians and music students who might be exposed to stress related to music performance have more negatively associated music dreams. This relationship has shown for athletes (Erlacher, Ehrlenspiel, & Schredl, 2011). It also would be interesting to study whether the positively toned music dreams are related to positive waking-life experiences with music, for example, listening to favorite music titles. ...
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As expressed in anecdotal reports, dreams have provided inspiration to both classical and popular musicians. According to the continuity hypothesis, engaging in music activities in the daytime should be related to the occurrence of music dreams. One-hundred and 44 participants (mostly psychology students, music students, and choir members) were asked to complete questionnaires about music-related waking-life activities and music in dreams. As expected, the amount of time invested in music activities during the day is directly related to the percentage of music dreams, thereby confirming the continuity hypothesis. Also, composing music in waking-life is related to a higher frequency of dreams with new music. Due to possible recall biases regarding retrospective measures for eliciting the percentage of music dreams, future research should follow up this study by using dream diaries in larger samples.
... Există mai multe modalități de administrare a tetraclorurii de carbon pentru a induce fibroză hepatică. Una dintre cele mai utilizate căi este administrarea intraperitoneală, în doze variabile (13,39,40), dizolvat în ulei de măsline, de porumb sau de floarea soarelui. În general se obține fibroză după 6-8 săptămâni de administrare (13,41). ...
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Teaching involves a variety of ethical issues, which the authors of this paper try to highlight. In respect to the fact that each area of teaching has some specific ethical problems to consider, the authors go one step further to give an overview of characteristic ethical aspects regarding teaching activity. It is shown that the academic community acts on ethical codes that are based on law and different regulations, but often ethical questions raised from the teaching activity cannot find their answer in laws and regulations. For this reason authors consider it necessary to provide a platform through which the compliance to the law and the ethical or moral aspirations can integrate.
... Dreams about ego-dominated preoccupations might be ascribed more to students' chance-oriented locus of control than to their obsessions with materialistic gratification or self-assertion. Likewise, dreams involving school and learning activities do not necessarily reflect the ego-grasping tendency or locus of control in students but, instead, as suggested by some previous findings (Arnulf et al., 2014;Erlacher, Ehrlenspiel, & Schredl, 2011;Yu, 2015cYu, , 2016a, are aimed at rehearsing significant future events. Rather than the internal threats to the ego integrity in the psychodynamic sense, the latter interpretation could be seen to correspond with Revonsuo's (2000) evolutionary theory, according to which the major function of dreaming is to simulate threatening events in the physical world. ...
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Themes involving ego-centered concerns—such as performing very badly or failing at something, being blamed or punished, and blaming something on someone—are common in dreams. This study examined the extent to which dream themes characteristic of ego-centered concerns could be accounted for by Taoist orientation, with consideration of self-perceived adversity and locus of control. The sample contained 242 participants, 111 university students and 131 nonstudent participants. Participants’ incidence of dreaming of ego-centered concerns, Taoist orientation, and locus of control was measured using the Dream Motif Scale; the Ego-Grasping Orientation Scale; and the Internality, Powerful Others, and Chance Scales, respectively. The results suggest that the incidence of dreaming of ego-centered concerns is associated positively with the experience of chronic adversity and negatively with Taoist orientation. In addition, people who have left school, as compared with students, are more Taoist-oriented and are more inclined toward an internal locus of control. It seems that cultivating a Taoist lifestyle may help mitigate psychological distress springing from the ego-dominated perspective.
... In a questionnaire study, approximately 15% of athletes (n = 840) stated that they experienced at least one distressing dream before an important competition or game during the preceding 12 months. 34 Dream content might also mirror the need for recovery or recovery related processes, however, research has not examined dream content in athletes after high intensity exercise up to now. ...
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The body of research that reports the relevance of sleep in high-performance sports is growing steadily. While the identification of sleep cycles and diagnosis of sleep disorders is limited to lab-based assessment via polysomnography, the development of activity-based devices estimating sleep patterns provides greater insight into the sleep behaviour of athletes in ecological settings. Overall, small sleep quantity and/or poor quality appears to exist in many athletic populations, though this may be related to training and competition context. Typical sleep-affecting factors are the scheduling of training sessions and competitions as well as impaired sleep-onset as a result of increased arousal prior to competition or due to the use of electronic devices before bedtime. Further challenges are travel demands which may be accompanied by jet-lag symptoms and disruption of sleep habits. Promotion of sleep may be approached via behavioural strategies, such as sleep hygiene, extending night-time sleep or daytime napping. Pharmacological interventions should be limited to clinically-induced treatments as evidence among healthy and athletic populations is lacking. To optimise and manage sleep in athletes, it is recommended to implement routine sleep monitoring on an individual basis.
... with future events is unknown, analyses of dream content have long suggested that dreams do at least sometimes reference anticipated episodes. For example, students dream of upcoming exams [38], patients dream of upcoming surgeries [39], pregnant women dream of their future baby [40], and athletes dream of approaching competitions [41]. Experimentally introduced future events can induce dreams in the laboratory environment as well. ...
Chapter
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Dreaming has often been viewed as a "mysterious" experience entirely distinct from waking cognition. An alternative view proposes that dreams are generated by the same fundamental processes that give rise to spontaneous thought during wakefulness. New evidence suggests that these processes include activity of the brain's memory systems, supporting consolidation of newly encoded experience. During both sleep and wakefulness, fragments of recently encoded memory are recombined with related remote memory and semantic information to create novel scenarios. This is an adaptive process that contributes to the "consolidation" of memory and is reflected in the phenomenology of both our nightly dreams and waking daydreams.
... As music often has a positive effect on the listener during the day (Liljeström et al., 2013), positive emotions in dreams with music might be found. But negative emotions do occur, e.g., in the music dream example mentioned above as well as in the Vogelsang et al. (2016) study, similar to the findings for athletes (Erlacher, Ehrlenspiel, & Schredl, 2011). Future research could analyze whether professional musicians and music students have more negative dreams related to the stress of music performances. ...
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In every culture and nation music has been mentioned as a sort of natural language. While the existence of dreams including music in musicians has been anecdotally reported, music in dreams have been rarely studied empirically. In the present study, 425 participants, mostly psychology students, reported their dreams in a dream diary for 14 days as well as the intensity of their dream emotions and answered a questionnaire about whether they play existing music or compose new music during the day. As expected, for persons playing an instrument in their leisure time, there was a direct link between playing an instrument during the day and having more dreams including music, thus confirming the continuity hypothesis of dreaming. In addition, dreams including music were more positively-toned regarding emotions than dreams in general. Further research might investigate, for example, whether dreams including music play a role in improving music performance skills.
... Erlacher et al. studied the dreams of 840 German athletes from various sports 21 . It was found in this study that about 15% of the athletes experienced at least one upsetting dream previous toa significant competition or game. ...
... From curbing nightmares [8][9][10] to skill enhancement, problem-solving to creativity and mood upliftment to wish fulfillment [11], people have been reported to use LD as a tool to cope up with stress and eventually understanding the higher virtue of life [12,13]. Dreams are truly based on personal experiences and temperaments, hence it holds the key to decipher a customized approach in healing the person, which would be more productive in recovery and restoration of his/her sound mental health effectively [14]. ...
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... Compared to the general population, athletes have a higher risk of poor sleep health due to the frequent travel. 33 Moods such as nervousness and anxiety resulting from travel and competition may cause insomnia and nightmares in athletes during sleep, which can reduce the total sleep time and sleep efficiency, [34][35][36] which would ultimately affect sleep quality. ...
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p>Nightmares are defined as dreams with strong negative emotions that result in awakening. Overall, the findings of the present representative survey (N = 915) indicate that nightmare frequency decrease with age and living in urban areas are associated with heightened nightmare frequency. Longitudinal studies are needed to clarify how age affects nightmare frequency because the findings of cross-sectional studies are conflicting. In addition, it would be interesting to test whether increased nightmare frequency is explained by the presence of a mental disorder or whether urban environment is an independent risk factor for nightmares. As nightmares are underdiagnosed and undertreated, it would also make sense to carry out studies that try to clarify the reasons behind this problem that nightmare sufferers not receive adequate treatment.</p
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One hundred and twelve college students (mean age = 19.6 yrs.) completed a modification of Smith, Reilly, and Midkiff's (1989) Morningness/Eveningness (M/E) survey. Subjects were students in an introductory sport psychology class, and more than half were Division I athletes (65 vs. 47 non-athletes). Gender was equally distributed with 59 males and 53 females in the study. The average score for all subjects on the M/E survey was 33.06, with the mean score for competitive collegiate athletes and non-athletes at 33.87 and 31.92, respectively. This difference was not significant (p ≥.05). A main effect for gender was not found. In addition to the 13 items from Smith and colleagues (1989), all athletes in this sample answered 10 additional questions generated by the authors, specific to athletic competition. A mixed 3×2 ANOVA (condition by gender) revealed that there was a significant decrease in competitive collegiate athletes' self-report of hours of sleep one night before competition versus usual amount of nightly sleep (p <.001). Also, sleep amount was significantly less than usual two nights before competition (p <.001). Athletes also reported factors that influence their sleep. Findings revealed that the sleep of these athletes varies significantly dependent upon athletic competition. Many factors may explain this, with pre-competitive anxiety one likely factor. This expanded version of the M/E survey offers a valuable, non-invasive means of increasing the athlete's awareness of his/her sleep patterns and the influence that pre-competitive sleep may exert on performance.
Article
Introduction The present paper introduces the three most common methods for measuring dream recall: laboratory awakenings, dream diaries and questionnaire scales. An easy applicable seven-point scale, its retest reliability and validity analyses will be presented. Patients and Methods Within several studies, 941 healthy persons rated their dream recall frequency using the scale. The retest sample (70 days retest interval) consisted of 42 patients with sleep disorders. Results The data of the healthy persons replicated the previous significant findings of gender differences (women tend to recall their dreams more often than men) and the decline of dream recall frequency with age. Retest relibility was high. Conclusions The introduced scale is well qualified for measuring interindividual differences and permits—by breaking down of the data into four age groups—comparisons with samples stemming from different settings, e. g. patient groups.
Article
Factors affecting or inducing nightmares have been investigated repeatedly. However, little research is carried out on the behavioral consequences of nightmares. The present study thus served to investigate behavioral effects of nightmares in correlation to personality variables. 41 non-clinical participants, who suffer from about 2 nightmares per month recorded their dreams and nightmares over a 4-week period. A nightmare was defined as a dream that frightens the dreamer and could be recalled in detail on awakening. Anxiety and mood were monitored every morning. All nightmares and their behavioral consequences were noted on a questionnaire. Personality traits and life events were assessed at the beginning of the investigation. 100 nightmares were reported by the subjects over the 4-week period (range: 0–8). Following a nightmare, the subjects were significantly more anxious and were of a less stable mental condition compared to nights without nightmares. Additionally, nightmares induced physical complaints. This was considered to be an indicator that something was wrong in their lives and induced them to solve personal problems. The behavioral effects were most pronounced in subjects scoring high on neuroticism and on the number of physical complaints and low on achievement orientation and openness. The results suggest that sufferers of nightmares intend to change their lives, especially those with a neurotic-like personality.
Article
Thirteen male gymnasts were given a standard questionnaire and interviewed during the final trials for the U.S. Olympic team. Particular attention was given to psychological factors and cognitive strategies in their training and competition. Using their final competitive grouping as the primary dependent variable, correlations were performed to assess the relationship between these factors and superior athletic performance. Data from this exploratory study suggested that varying patterns of cognition may be strongly correlated with successful and superior gymnastic performance. Specifically, dream frequency, self-verbalizations, and certain forms of mental imagery seemed to differentiate the best gymnasts from those who failed to make the Olympic team. These two groups also appeared to show different anxiety patterns and different methods of coping with competitive stress. The implications of these results for sport psychology are briefly discussed.
Article
Sleep is generally regarded as a valuable resource for psychological and physiological well-being. Although the effects of sleep on athletic performance have been acknowledged in sport science, few studies have investigated the prevalence of sleep problems and their effects on elite athletes before a sport event. In this study, 632 German athletes from various sports were asked about their sleep habits during the night(s) before an important competition or game. The findings indicate that 65.8% of the athletes experienced poor sleep in the night(s) before a sports event at least once in their lives and a similarly high percentage (62.3%) had this experience at least once during the previous 12 months. Athletes of individual sports reported more sleep difficulties than athletes of team sports. The main sleep problem was not being able to fall asleep. Internal factors such as nervousness and thoughts about the competition were rated highest for causing sleep problems. Most athletes stated that disturbed sleep had no influence on their athletic performance; however, athletes also reported effects such as a bad mood the following day, increased daytime sleepiness, and worse performance in the competition or game. The differences between individual and team sports indicate that athletes in some sports need more help than those in other sports in managing sleep problems.
Article
Nightmares are defined as disturbing mental experiences that generally occur during REM sleep and often result in awakening. Whereas the number of publications addressing nightmare frequency and psychopathology, nightmare etiology and treatment is increasing rapidly in the last few years, nightmare content has been studied very rarely in a systematic way, especially in adults. The present study investigated nightmare frequency and the frequency of various nightmare topics in a representative German sample. The five most common themes were falling, being chased, paralyzed, being late, and the deaths of close persons. Even though several effects can be explained by the continuity hypothesis of dreaming, further research is needed to investigate the possible metaphoric relationship between nightmare topics like falling or being chased and waking-life stressors.
Article
Investigated the effect of presleep stress on home dream recall for a total of 57 male undergraduates who rated themselves on a questionnaire as frequent or infrequent dream recallers. In the stress condition, Ss observed an accomplice being "shocked" for error on a sensorimotor test which Ss expected to be tested on in a few days. There was no difference in amount of home dream recall for the stress and control conditions. The prediction of more dream recall for frequent recallers and less dream recall for infrequent recallers in the stress condition was supported. The tendency toward more contentless and vague dream recall for the stress condition, especially for infrequent recallers, was discussed in terms of (a) the larger percentage of dreams scorable for hostility in the stress condition, and (b) the hypothesis that contentless dreams are correlates of repression. (21 ref.)
Article
We performed a Monte Carlo study to evaluate the effect of the number of events per variable (EPV) analyzed in logistic regression analysis. The simulations were based on data from a cardiac trial of 673 patients in which 252 deaths occurred and seven variables were cogent predictors of mortality; the number of events per predictive variable was (252/7 =) 36 for the full sample. For the simulations, at values of EPV = 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25, we randomly generated 500 samples of the 673 patients, chosen with replacement, according to a logistic model derived from the full sample. Simulation results for the regression coefficients for each variable in each group of 500 samples were compared for bias, precision, and significance testing against the results of the model fitted to the original sample. For EPV values of 10 or greater, no major problems occurred. For EPV values less than 10, however, the regression coefficients were biased in both positive and negative directions; the large sample variance estimates from the logistic model both overestimated and underestimated the sample variance of the regression coefficients; the 90% confidence limits about the estimated values did not have proper coverage; the Wald statistic was conservative under the null hypothesis; and paradoxical associations (significance in the wrong direction) were increased. Although other factors (such as the total number of events, or sample size) may influence the validity of the logistic model, our findings indicate that low EPV can lead to major problems.
Article
In a new approach, this study compared the effects of trait and state factors on nightmare frequency in a non-clinical sample. Although neuroticism and boundary thinness were related to nightmare frequency, regression analyses indicated that the trait measures did not add to the variance explained by the state measures. This finding supports the so-called continuity hypothesis of dreaming, i. e., nightmares reflect negative waking-life experiences. Second, the moderate relationship between nightmare frequency and poor sleep quality was partly explained by the day-time measures of neuroticism and stress, but it can be assumed that nightmares are an independent factor contributing to complaints of insomnia. Longitudinal studies measuring nightmare frequency and stress on a daily basis will shed light on the temporal relationship between daytime measures and the occurrence of nightmares. It will be also very interesting to study the relationship between stress and nightmare frequency in a sample who have undergone cognitive-behavioral treatment for nightmares.
Article
Dream recall frequency varies widely between people as well as within individuals. To explore the relationship between dream recall frequency and trait variables such as personality dimensions, a measure of stable interindividual differences is necessary. In the present study (N = 198 patients with sleep disorders; 115 women, 83 men; M age = 45.8 +/- 15.3 yr.) a high retest reliability of the 7-point Dream Recall Frequency scale developed by Schredl in 2002a was found. If the participants' focus was not directed explicitly towards dream recall when the scale was presented within a general sleep questionnaire, the hitherto-reported increase of dream recall due to measuring dream recall frequency did not occur. In conclusion, the present scale is well suited for measuring interindividual differences in dream recall frequency reliably.
Article
The DSM-IV-TR definition of nightmares-extremely frightening dreams from which the person wakes up directly-is unnecessarily narrow. Other emotions (anger, grief) have also been reported in nightmares, and direct awakening from a bad dream seems to be unrelated to increased distress. In addition, assessment of nightmares is problematic. Polysomnographic recordings have an ameliorating effect on nightmare frequency, retrospective measurements tend to underestimate nightmare frequency, and persons with frequent nightmares may feel reluctant to fill out (daily) prospective measurements. For studying nightmares, it is necessary to distinguish idiopathic nightmares from posttraumatic nightmares, which are part of a posttraumatic stress reaction or disorder that may result from experiencing a traumatic event. Both types of nightmares have been associated with an elevated level of periodic limb movements, although only posttraumatic nightmares seem to be related to more and longer nocturnal awakenings. Nightmares have also been repeatedly associated with the general level of psychopathology, or the so-called personality factor neuroticism. Nightmare distress, the impact on daily functioning caused by nightmares, may function as a mediating variable. Several studies in the last decades have shown that nightmares can be treated with several cognitive-behavioral techniques. The cognitive-restructuring technique imagery rehearsal therapy is the treatment of choice for nightmares, although a randomized controlled trial with an attention control-group has not yet been carried out. Nightmares are more than a symptom of a larger (anxiety) syndrome and need to be viewed from a sleep medicine perspective: nightmares are a highly prevalent and separate sleep disorder that can and should receive specific treatment.
Article
Nightmares are common, occurring weekly in 4%-10% of the population, and are associated with female gender, younger age, increased stress, psychopathology, and dispositional traits. Nightmare pathogenesis remains unexplained, as do differences between nontraumatic and posttraumatic nightmares (for those with or without posttraumatic stress disorder) and relations with waking functioning. No models adequately explain nightmares nor have they been reconciled with recent developments in cognitive neuroscience, fear acquisition, and emotional memory. The authors review the recent literature and propose a conceptual framework for understanding a spectrum of dysphoric dreaming. Central to this is the notion that variations in nightmare prevalence, frequency, severity, and psychopathological comorbidity reflect the influence of both affect load, a consequence of daily variations in emotional pressure, and affect distress, a disposition to experience events with distressing, highly reactive emotions. In a cross-state, multilevel model of dream function and nightmare production, the authors integrate findings on emotional memory structures and the brain correlates of emotion.
Sleep tight, don't let the competition bite?! Subjective sleep quality and competitive state anxiety
  • F Ehrlenspiel
  • D Erlacher
  • M Ziegler
  • V Seitz
  • O Adegbesan
Ehrlenspiel, F., Erlacher, D., Ziegler, M., Seitz, V., & Adegbesan, O. (2011). Sleep tight, don't let the competition bite?! Subjective sleep quality and competitive state anxiety. Manuscript submitted for publication.
The incidence of lucid dreaming within a Japanese university student sample
  • D Erlacher
  • M Schredl
  • T Watanabe
  • J Yamana
  • F Ganzert
Erlacher, D., Schredl, M., Watanabe, T., Yamana, J., & Ganzert, F. (2008). The incidence of lucid dreaming within a Japanese university student sample. International Journal of Dream Research, 1, 39-43.
  • Schredl M.