JOURNAL ARTICLE

Childhood sleep disturbance and risk of psychotic experiences at 18: UK birth cohort

A Thompson, S T Lereya, G Lewis, S Zammit, H L Fisher, D Wolke
British Journal of Psychiatry: the Journal of Mental Science 2015, 207 (1): 23-9
25953892

BACKGROUND: Sleep disturbances are commonly reported in the psychosis prodrome, but rarely explored in relation to psychotic experiences.

AIMS: To investigate the relationship between specific parasomnias (nightmares, night terrors and sleepwalking) in childhood and later adolescent psychotic experiences.

METHOD: The sample comprised 4720 individuals from a UK birth cohort. Mothers reported on children's experience of regular nightmares at several time points between 2 and 9 years. Experience of nightmares, night terrors and sleepwalking was assessed using a semi-structured interview at age 12. Psychotic experiences were assessed at ages 12 and 18 using a semi-structured clinical interview.

RESULTS: There was a significant association between the presence of nightmares at 12 and psychotic experiences at 18 when adjusted for possible confounders and psychotic experiences at 12 (OR = 1.62, 95% CI 1.19-2.20). The odds ratios were larger for those who reported persistent psychotic experiences.

CONCLUSIONS: The presence of nightmares might be an early risk indicator for psychosis.

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