Recently presented at a Pediatric Academics Societies meeting in Vancouver, Canada was a study that found that nightmares might be tied to bullying. The British-led study from researchers at the University of Warwick followed 6,438 children from birth to age 12. When they were 8-10, they were interviewed about bullying and were then interviewed about nightmares at age 12.
As co-author Dieter Wolke explained, “Our findings indicate that being bullied is a significant stress/trauma that leads to increased risk of sleep arousal problems, such as nightmares or night terrors.”
“It is an easily identifiable indicator that something scary is being processed during the night. Parents should be aware that this may be related to experiences of being bullied by peers, and it provides them with an opportunity to talk with their child about it.”
Researchers found that by the age of 12, 24% of the kids had nightmares and 9% had night terrors.
When adjusting for many factors, the researchers concluded that children who were victims of abuse and bullying were more likely to manifest their distress, anxiety and depression in sleep-related issues.