Sound-based therapy helps reduce nightmares | Science and Ecology | Dr..

Sound-based therapy helps reduce nightmares |  Science and Ecology |  Dr..

Nightmares, those frightening moments that pop up in dreams, can become ordinary. Now, a Swiss scientific team has shown that playing a sound associated with a positive daytime experience during sleep can also reduce the frequency of these episodes. A study published Thursday (10.27.2022) in the journal Current Biology.

According to the researchers, it comes down to managing emotions during sleep to try to reduce nightmares: “There is a relationship between the types of emotions we experience in dreams and our emotional well-being,” said Lampros Perogamvros, MD, a psychiatrist at the Sleep Center. The University of Geneva Hospitals Laboratory and the University of Geneva.

Potential help for people who suffer from chronic nightmares

Epidemiological studies have revealed that up to 4% of adults experience chronic nightmares at any given time, a condition often associated with nighttime awakenings and poor sleep.

From this observation, the scientific team came up with the idea that it could help people with nightmare disorder by manipulating the emotions in their dreams.

These patients are often prescribed what is known as introductory image therapy, in which they are asked to change the negative plot to a more positive ending and to train the rewritten dream scenario during the day.

Treatment can help people who suffer from chronic nightmares.

Treatment details

To test whether exposure to sound during sleep could increase the success of treatment, the scientists examined 36 patients, all of whom underwent imaging therapy.

Half of the group received no additional therapy, while the other half were asked to create an association between a positive version of their nightmare and a voice during exercise, which they had to practice daily.

Fewer nightmares, happier dreams

These were required to wear a headband for two weeks to receive sound during REM sleep; This is the stage of sleep in which most nightmares occur.

Both groups experienced a decrease in nightmares weekly, but half who received the combination treatment had fewer nightmares after the intervention, as well as three months later. They also felt more joy in their dreams.

“For researchers and clinicians, these findings are very promising for studying emotional processing during sleep and for developing new treatments,” Perogamvros concluded.

The results support that this type of combination therapy should be tested in a wider and different population.

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