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Question
Posted by: | 2020/02/23

Sleep disturbances

Good day Professor. Quite often my wife seems to have nightmares causing her body & legs to jerk (not wildly) & to sob or cry. Recently she actually cried out, not too loudly but in a harsh way that sounded like she was trying to fight off an attacker, and then after I calmed her down, saying "the bugger was trying to get in" without actually waking! On other occasions she talks in her sleep but I can't make out what she is saying. Usually when she has these nightmares I put my arm around her & talk softly to her to calm her down which she does after a while but in the morning she remembers nothing about the dream nor me having calmed her in that way. Any idea what is going on? Am I doing the right thing by my actions or should I leave her to sleep/continue through the bad (I assume) dream? She is 68 years old & this has been occurring for the last year or two. She has many health issues but is on medication for all of them & receives regular medical check-ups. Thank you for the advice & guidance you give to so many people.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2020/02/25

These sound like fairly ordinary nightmares, and it sounds as though you are being helpful in a very sensible way.  Though usually more dramatic and noticeable in children, nightmares are quite common in adults, and usually need not cause concern. The old idea that it can be dangerous to waken someone in a nightmare isn't valid it's typical not to recall the content of the bad dream by the next morning.
In the situation you describe, it's quite likely that the medications she is taking may well be encouraging these bad dreams, as many ordinary drugs can : antidepressants, blood pressure pills, etc.  Sometimes a reduction in dose of one of these can also spur such dreams.  At present it sounds as though they understandably concern you, but that she is not troubled by them.  Should they become more troublesome you could consult her own doctors,  otherwise maybe let sleeping wives rest ?

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