Symptoms of depression and insomnia are the strongest predictors of having frequent nightmares say Finnish researchers. For evidence they point to the connection between nightmares and depression.
In his study 3.9 percent of participants said that they had frequent nightmares in the previous 30 days. 28.4 percent of participants with severe reported frequent nightmares were had depressive symptoms. Also, the study found that insomnia, exhaustion and the depressive symptom of “negative attitude towards self,” were the strongest risks factors for nightmares
Repeated nightmares cause distress or impairment in social or occupational functioning. For the study, the team analyzed data from two independent cross-sectional surveys of the Finnish general adult population conducted in 2007 and 2012. Nightmares are probably early indicators of onset of depression and, therefore, may have as yet untapped diagnostic value.
“Because nightmares, insomnia and depression often appear together, it may be possible to treat all of these problems with an intervention directed solely toward nightmares,” the authors concluded in a paper which appeared in the journal Sleep.