JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Nightmares: risk factors among the Finnish general adult population.

Sleep 2015 April 2
STUDY OBJECTIVES: To identify risk factors for experiencing nightmares among the Finnish general adult population. The study aimed to both test whether previously reported correlates of frequent nightmares could be reproduced in a large population sample and to explore previously unreported associations.

DESIGN: Two independent cross-sectional population surveys of the National FINRISK Study.

SETTING: Age- and sex-stratified random samples of the Finnish population in 2007 and 2012.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 13,922 participants (6,515 men and 7,407 women) aged 25-74 y.

INTERVENTIONS: N/A.

MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Nightmare frequency as well as several items related to socioeconomic status, sleep, mental well-being, life satisfaction, alcohol use, medication, and physical well-being were recorded with a questionnaire. In multinomial logistic regression analysis, a depression-related negative attitude toward the self (odds ratio [OR] 1.32 per 1-point increase), insomnia (OR 6.90), and exhaustion and fatigue (OR 6.86) were the strongest risk factors for experiencing frequent nightmares (P < 0.001 for all). Sex, age, a self-reported impaired ability to work, low life satisfaction, the use of antidepressants or hypnotics, and frequent heavy use of alcohol were also strongly associated with frequent nightmares (P < 0.001 for all).

CONCLUSIONS: Symptoms of depression and insomnia were the strongest predictors of frequent nightmares in this dataset. Additionally, a wide variety of factors related to psychological and physical well-being were associated with nightmare frequency with modest effect sizes. Hence, nightmare frequency appears to have a strong connection with sleep and mood problems, but is also associated with a variety of measures of psychological and physical well-being.

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