Frequent nightmares are associated with blunted cortisol awakening response in women

Tamás Nagy, Gyöngyvér Salavecz, Péter Simor, György Purebl, Róbert Bódizs, Samantha Dockray, Andrew Steptoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Nightmares are relatively common sleep complaints that seem to be associated with affective distress. To date, few attempts have been made to link nightmares to the biological markers of the stress response, and the HPA response in particular. The present study examined the relationship between frequent nightmares and the cortisol awakening response (CAR) in a cross-sectional study of working women (N = 188). Analysis revealed that those who reported frequent nightmares (N = 13) showed a blunted CAR on a working day, compared to those who did not report nightmares. This result was independent of psychiatric symptoms, demographic variables, and lifestyle. Our preliminary findings suggest that decreased HPA reactivity might be a trait-like feature of women with frequent nightmares.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-237
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Cortisol awakening response
  • Hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis
  • Nightmare
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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