Skip to main content

Nightmare Disorder Test

Nightmare disorder is a sleep impediment characterized by recurrent, distressing, and vivid nightmares that disrupt rest and cause significant distress or impairment in daily functioning. Individuals with nightmare disorder experience repeated occurrences of dysphoric dreams that typically involve fear, danger, or anxiety.

Nightmare disorder can lead to sleep disturbances, difficulty falling asleep, and avoidance of bedtime due to fear of experiencing nightmares. It can also cause daytime fatigue, irritability, and impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Nightmare disorder may be associated with other mental health conditions such as PTSD, anxiety disorders, or mood disorders. Treatment for nightmare disorder may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), medication, and/or relaxation techniques aimed at reducing the frequency and intensity of the nightmares.

Are you showing signs of nightmare disorder? For each of the following questions, indicate how well it applies to you.

Question 1 of 20

At least once a week, over the course of several months, I have experienced the following:

I have been experiencing terror due to my nightmares.



The IDRlabs Nightmare Disorder Test was based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, 5th edition and developed by IDRlabs.

Nightmare disorder is a sleep problem where a person has bad dreams that happen often and are really upsetting. These dreams can be scary or make the person feel anxious, and they often wake up feeling afraid or upset. Nightmare disorder can make it hard to sleep well and can cause problems with daily life because the person feels tired or worried during the day.

The diagnostic criteria outlined in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) include recurrent nightmares that are experienced as extremely dysphoric, occur during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, and result in awakening and subsequent recall of the dream content. The nightmares must cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning, and they cannot be attributed to the physiological effects of a substance or another medical condition.

Symptoms of nightmare disorder include repeated occurrences of vivid, upsetting dreams that often involve themes of fear, danger, or anxiety. These nightmares typically occur during the later part of the sleep cycle, particularly during REM sleep, which is associated with increased brain activity and dreaming. Upon awakening from a nightmare, individuals may experience intense emotions such as fear, panic, or distress, and they may have difficulty falling back asleep. The distress caused by nightmares can lead to avoidance of sleep, bedtime anxiety, and sleep disturbances such as insomnia or frequent awakenings during the night. Additionally, the impact of nightmare disorder may extend into waking hours, causing daytime fatigue, irritability, and impairment in social or occupational functioning.

Research on nightmare disorder has explored various aspects of the condition, including its prevalence, risk factors, underlying mechanisms, and treatment approaches. Studies have found that nightmare disorder is relatively common, with estimates suggesting that up to 4% of adults experience frequent nightmares that meet diagnostic criteria for the disorder. Risk factors for nightmare disorder include a history of trauma, stress, anxiety, depression, substance use, and certain medications. Neurobiological research has implicated abnormalities in brain regions involved in emotional processing, memory consolidation, and sleep-wake regulation in the pathophysiology of nightmare disorder.

Treatment for nightmare disorder may involve a combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions aimed at reducing the frequency and intensity of nightmares and improving overall sleep quality. Non-pharmacological treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT), relaxation techniques, and sleep hygiene education. CBT-I focuses on addressing maladaptive sleep behaviors and cognitive patterns that contribute to sleep disturbances, while IRT involves modifying the content and meaning of nightmares through visualization and rehearsal of alternative, less distressing outcomes. Pharmacological options for nightmare disorders include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which have been shown to reduce nightmare frequency and severity in some individuals.

In summary, nightmare disorder is a sleep disorder characterized by recurrent, distressing nightmares that disrupt normal sleep patterns and cause significant distress or impairment in daily functioning. Diagnosis involves assessing the frequency, content, and impact of the nightmares, while treatment may include a combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions aimed at improving sleep quality and reducing nightmare frequency. Ongoing research continues to advance our understanding of nightmare disorder and inform the development of effective treatment strategies for this challenging condition.

As the publishers of this free test, which allows you to screen yourself for the characteristics of Nightmare Disorder, we have strived to make the test as reliable and valid as possible by subjecting this test to statistical controls and validation. However, free online quizzes such as the present test do not provide professional assessments or recommendations of any kind; the test is provided entirely “as-is.” For more information about any of our online tests and quizzes, please consult our Terms of Service.

Why Use This Test?

1. Free. This test is delivered to you free of charge and will allow you to obtain your scores related to how you perceive your mental health and nightmares.

2. Clinically oriented. The feedback delivered by this instrument is based on the work of psychiatrists and clinical psychologists and is designed to deliver a clear picture of the respondent’s strengths as measured according to standardized items.

3. Statistical controls. Statistical analysis of the test is conducted to ensure maximum accuracy and validity of the test scores.

4. Made by professionals. The present test has been made with the input of people who work professionally in psychology and individual differences research.