Childhood nightmares 'increase risk' of health problems

Regular bad dreams and night terrors can increase the risk of children suffering psychosis, a study has shown.

Children sleep in a daycare. Credit: Georg Wendt/DPA

At 12-years-old, frequent nightmares more than tripled the occurrence of psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, researchers found.

Having night terrors - marked by sudden panic or fear during deep sleep - also increased the risks.

In younger children, a greater risk of early adolescent psychosis was associated with having more nightmares.

Children aged two to nine who were most plagued by bad dreams were 56% more likely to experience later episodes of psychosis than those whose sleep was undisturbed.