Nightmares Can Change Into Dreams

By Medscape Staff

January 09, 2023

Emotions can be manipulated through sound to unconsciously change a nightmare into a dream, according to psychiatrists at the Sleep Laboratory of the Geneva University Hospitals and the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

What to know:

  • People can reshape negative storylines into more positive ones as they sleep by introducing certain sounds that can help a person to mold their nightmare into a dream.

  • People should be able to stop nightmares by rehearsing a positive version of the unpleasant dream over and over in their heads with something called imagery rehearsal therapy.

  • During a sound imagination exercise, dreamers completing imagery rehearsal therapy while wearing headbands that transmitted the sound saw a drop in nightmare frequency that lasted for 3 months beyond the study.

  • Dreamers who received the combination of imagery and sound treatment saw a drop in nightmare frequency that lasted for 3 months beyond the study and even began to experience more joyous dreams in lieu of their nightmares.

  • Manipulating emotions in dreams can reduce the number of emotionally very strong and very negative dreams in patients suffering from nightmares.

This is a summary of the article, "Enhancing imagery rehearsal therapy for nightmares with targeted memory reactivation," published by Current Biology on October 27, 2022. The full article can be found on

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