Results indicate that 98 percent of subjects (486/495) reported experiencing one of seven subtypes of dream-enacting behavior at least "rarely" in the last year. The most prevalent behavior subtype was "fear," with 93 percent reporting that they had felt signs of fear in their body after awakening from a frightening dream.
Seventy-eight percent reported that they had awakened from an erotic dream to find that they were sexually aroused; 72 percent had awakened from a happy dream to find that they were actually smiling or laughing. Each of the other four behavior subtypes was reported by more than 50 percent of participants: They awakened from a dream to find that they were talking, crying, acting out an angry or defensive behavior such as punching or kicking, or acting out other movements such as waving or pointing. Women reported more speaking, crying, fear and smiling/laughing than men, and men reported more sexual arousal.
Lead author and co-investigator Tore Nielsen, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the Université de Montreal in Canada, was surprised by the high prevalence of dream-enacting behavior. Nielsen noted that more studies will need to be conducted to create a distinction between normal dream-enacting behavior and actions that are associated with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), which is characterized by abnormal behaviors emerging during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that cause injury or sleep disruption.
"Normal episodes are usually extremely mild, for example, briefly jerking an arm or leg while waking up from a nightmare, once or twice a year," said Nielsen. "This is far different from RBD cases, which are typically very intense, and might involve repeatedly flailing an arm or a leg or smashing into something in the middle of a dream, not waking up easily from it, with occurrences several times a month."
A total of 1,140 first-year undergraduate students who were enrolled in introductory psychology courses voluntarily participated in the study. Approximately two-thirds were female. Participants completed several questionnaires concerning personality and dreaming.
To determine the type of questions that are best for eliciting reports of dream-enacting behavior, students were divided into three groups. Group one (mean age 19.9 years) was provided with general questions concerning dream-enacting behaviors, group two (mean age 20.1 years) received the same questions with examples, and group three (mean age 19.1 years) received questions describing specific behavior subtypes. The prevalence of dream-enacting behavior increased with increasing question specificity (35.9 percent in group one, 76.7 percent in group two and 98.2 percent in group three). According to the authors, these findings suggest that dream-enacting behaviors are common in the general population but are difficult for subjects to identify if detailed descriptions of the behaviors are not given.
The study distinguished the dream-enacting behavior of speaking out loud some of the words of a dream about talking from somniloquy (sleep talking), which was defined as speaking or making sounds during sleep without clear recall of an accompanying dream. Acting out the movements of a dream was distinguished from somnambulism (sleepwalking), which was defined as moving or walking during sleep without clear recall of a dream. Almost 61 percent of subjects in group three reported experiencing somniloquy at least "rarely" in the last year, and 40.9 percent reported somnambulism.
The authors speculate that there is a possibility of a personality trait involvement and a genetically determined predisposition for frequent dream-enacting behaviors. It remains unknown whether the dream-enacting behaviors of healthy subjects may predict future RBD symptoms.
Sleep is the official journal of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC (APSS), a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. The APSS publishes original findings in areas pertaining to sleep and circadian rhythms. Sleep, a peer-reviewed scientific and medical journal, publishes 12 regular issues and 1 issue comprised of the abstracts presented at the SLEEP Meeting of the APSS.
For a copy of the study, "Dream-Enacting Behaviors in a Normal Population," or to arrange an interview with the study's author, please contact Kelly Wagner, AASM public relations coordinator, at (708) 492-0930, ext. 9331, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AASM is a professional membership organization dedicated to the advancement of sleep medicine and sleep-related research. As the national accrediting body for sleep disorders centers and laboratories for sleep related breathing disorders, the AASM promotes the highest standards of patient care. The organization serves its members and advances the field of sleep health care by setting the clinical standards for the field of sleep medicine, advocating for recognition, diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, educating professionals dedicated to providing optimal sleep health care and fostering the development and application of scientific knowledge.
Kelly Wagner | EurekAlert!
Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School
Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences