New Study in the Journal SLEEP Finds a Systematic Change in Dreams After 9/11/01

WESTCHESTER, Ill. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, changed our lives in a number of different ways, not only socially and politically, but also in the way in which we dream, according to a study published in the February 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, authored by Ernest Hartmann, MD, of Tufts University and Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Boston, Mass., focused on 44 people (11 men and 33 women) living in the United States, all between the ages of 22-70 years, and who had been recording all their dreams for at least two years. Each of the subjects provided 20 consecutive dreams from their records, with the last 10 recorded before 9/11/01 and the first 10 after 9/11/01.
 
According to the results, dreams after 9/11 showed more intense images, but were not longer, more dreamlike or more bizarre. In addition, they did not contain more images of airplanes or tall buildings. In fact, not a single dream involved planes flying into towers, or anything close to that, even though all participants had seen those images many times on TV.
 
“The more intense imagery is very consistent with findings in people who have experienced trauma of various kinds,” said Dr. Hartmann. “The idea is that we all experienced at least some trauma on 9/11/01.”
 
It is recommended that adults get between seven and eight hours of nightly sleep.
 
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers the following tips on how to get a good night’s sleep:
  • Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
  • Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
  • Get a full night’s sleep every night.
  • Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.
  • Do not bring your worries to bed with you.
  • Do not go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal before bedtime either.
  • Avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
  • Make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool.
  • Get up at the same time every morning.
Those who suspect that they might be suffering from a sleep disorder are encouraged to consult with their primary care physician or a sleep specialist.
 
SLEEP is the official journal of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC, a joint venture of the AASM and the Sleep Research Society.
 
Information on nightmares is available from the AASM at https://www.SleepEducation.com/Disorder.aspx?id=37.
 
SleepEducation.com, a patient education Web site created by the AASM, provides information about various sleep disorders, the forms of treatment available, recent news on the topic of sleep, sleep studies that have been conducted and a listing of sleep facilities.
 
For a copy of this article, entitled, “A systematic change in dreams after 9/11/01,” or to arrange an interview with an AASM spokesperson regarding this study, please contact Jim Arcuri, public relations coordinator, at (708) 492-0930, ext. 9317, or jarcuri@aasm.org.
 
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2008-02-01T00:00:00+00:00 February 1st, 2008|Professional Development|