Dream EZ is an app designed to help users cope with nightmares, a common symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The app uses principles from Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (IRT) for nightmare reduction, and aims to change nightmares into less disturbing dreams and reduce the frequency and intensity of nightmares. Users are encouraged to visualize and describe a nightmare via audio recording, then rewrite the plot and ending and record the rescripted dream description. Although the app can be used alone, it is intended for use in conjunction with a therapist. The app has four main sections: practice, dream log, summary and sleep tools. Practice is the main focus of the app and is where users practice recording detailed nightmare visualizations and rescripted nightmares. Some pre-recorded examples are provided. Users are asked to rate their mood on a ten-point scale every time they listen to a visualization or rescript. The dream log is where all dream visualizations and rescriptions are stored and tracked; the summary section provides a compact view of progress through the app; and sleep tools provides two guided relaxation exercises, a Muscle Relaxation tool and Breathing tool. The app is available free of charge on both Android and iOS platforms.
Not Yet Available
Available for: iOS 8.0 or later (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch)
Developer: National Center for Telehealth Technology
Type of Treatment: Cognitive Behavioral Principles, Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (IRT)
Targeted Conditions: PTSD
Target Audience: Adults (especially military personnel)
Designed to be used in conjunction with a healthcare professional: No, but recommended
Languages Available: English
Get it on: iTunes
Research on this App
There have been no evaluations of Dream EZ although it is based on Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (IRT), which is a well-researched and effective treatment for addressing nightmares (Krakow & Zadra, 2006), especially in the context of PTSD (Davis & Wright, 2007). In a study of 168 female sexual assault survivors with self-reported nightmares, insomnia, and PTSD symptoms, participants who received 3 sessions of IRT (two 3-hour sessions and one 1-hour session) showed a substantial decrease in nightmares, disturbed sleep and PTSD (Krakow et al. 2001). Therapeutic effects occurred at 3-months follow-up and were maintained at 6 months in comparison with a control group. Research on the use of IRT specifically with military personnel has shown significant reduction among veterans in frequency and intensity of nightmares, following a full course of IRT, which included 4-5 sessions facilitated by a clinical psychologist, lasting one (individual) or two (group) hours, (Nappi, Drummond, Thorp, & McQuaid, 2010). IRT also led to reductions in insomnia severity and PTSD symptoms.
• Davis, J. L., & Wright, D. C. (2007). Randomized clinical trial for treatment of chronic nightmares in trauma-exposed adults. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 20, 123–133.
• Krakow, B., & Zadra, A. (2006). Clinical management of nightmares: Imagery rehearsal therapy. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 4, 45–70.
• Krakow, B., Hollifield, M., Johnston, L., Koss, M., Schrader, R., Warner, T. D., et al. (2001). Imagery rehearsal for chronic nightmares in sexual assault survivors with post-traumatic stress disorder: A randomized trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 286, 537–545.
• Nappi, C. M., Drummond, S. P., Thorp, S. R., & McQuaid, J. R. (2010). Effectiveness of imagery rehearsal therapy for the treatment of combat-related nightmares in veterans. Behavior Therapy, 41(2), 237-244.