Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dream-enacting behavior is common in healthy young adults

Date:
December 5, 2009
Source:
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Summary:
Dream-enacting behaviors are common in healthy young adults, and the prevalence of specific behaviors differs between men and women.

A new study in the journal Sleep shows that dream-enacting behaviors are common in healthy young adults, and the prevalence of specific behaviors differs between men and women.

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 Universitι 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dream-Enacting Behaviors in a Normal Population. Sleep, December 1, 2009

Cite This Page:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Dream-enacting behavior is common in healthy young adults." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201084049.htm>.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2009, December 5). Dream-enacting behavior is common in healthy young adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201084049.htm
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Dream-enacting behavior is common in healthy young adults." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201084049.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study by British researchers suggests couples' sleeping positions might reflect their happiness. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins