According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (ASSM), about fifty to eighty-five percent of adults report experiencing occasional nightmares.
And while these dreams-gone-wrong are often not a cause for worry, a recent study has also found bad dreams in older adults to be an early indicator of Parkinson’s Disease.
Conducted by Dr. Abidemi Otaiku, the study analyzed data from nearly four thousand men who are over sixty-seven years old.
The men first completed a series of surveys, in which one specifically focused on bad dreams.
Afterward, any participants who reported having at least one nightmare per week were followed for an average of seven years.
A total of ninety-one people were eventually diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and Dr. Otaiku found that the men who reported frequently experiencing nightmares at the beginning of the study were two times more likely to develop the disease.
“These results suggest that older adults who will one day be diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease may start to experience bad dreams and nightmares a few years before developing the characteristic symptoms of Parkinson’s, including tremors, stiffness, and slowness of movement,” Dr. Otaiku explained.
The study did note that only sixteen of the three hundred and sixty-eight men who experienced frequent nightmares developed Parkinson’s.
Moreover, since Parkinson’s is a rarely-occurring condition, the majority of older people who suffer from bad dreams will likely never develop the disease.