Repeated nightmares are bad dreams that recur frequently and involve the same theme.
Nightmares usually begin before the age of 10. They are considered a normal part of childhood, unless they significantly interfere with sleep or development.
Nightmares are more common in girls than in boys. They may continue into adulthood.
Repeated nightmares may also occur with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Nightmares are different from night terrors.
Nightmares - repeated; Dream anxiety disorder
Arnulf I. Nightmares and dream disturbances. In: Kryger M, Roth T, Dement WC, eds. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 104.
Owens JA. Sleep medicine. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 31.
Review Date 2/2/2021
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.