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VOLUME 38, ISSUE 04

NIGHTMARES: RISK FACTORS AMONG THE FINNISH GENERAL ADULT POPULATION
Nightmares: Risk Factors Among the Finnish General Adult Population

http://dx.doi.org/10.5665/sleep.4560

Nils Sandman, MSc1,2; Katja Valli, PhD2,3; Erkki Kronholm, PhD4; Antti Revonsuo, PhD2,3; Tiina Laatikainen, PhD4,5,6; Tiina Paunio, MD, PhD1,7

1National Institute for Health and Welfare, Public Health Genomics Unit and Institute for Molecular Medicine FIMM, Helsinki, Finland; 2University of Turku, Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, Turku Brain and Mind Center, Department of Psychology, Turku, Finland; 3School of Bioscience, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden; 4National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Health, Unit of Chronic Disease Prevention, Turku, Finland; 5University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, Kuopio, Finland; 6Hospital District of North Karelia, Joensuu, Finland; 7Helsinki University and University Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Helsinki, Finland



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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.

Citation:

Sandman N, Valli K, Kronholm E, Revonsuo A, Laatikainen T, Paunio T. Nightmares: risk factors among the finnish general adult population. SLEEP 2015;38(4):507–514.

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