What is the prevalence of nightmare disorder?

Updated: Aug 08, 2018
  • Author: Daniel R Neuspiel, MD, MPH, FAAP; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Nightmares are common, with three quarters of children experiencing a nightmare at least once. [5]

Prevalence varies because of different diagnostic criteria and different study populations. Nightmares have been noted to occur in 2–11% of young children “always and often” and in 15–31% “now and then.” [6] Some studies estimate as many as 50% of children aged 3–6 years have nightmares that disturb both their and the parents' sleep.

Approximately one third of adults with recurrent nightmares have onset of symptoms in childhood.

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