Occasional nightmares are normal and common but frequent ones, that significantly disrupt your sleep and ability to function, are not. It’s possible that you have an REM sleep disorder. Further evidence of a potential sleep disorder is your sleepwalking and sleep paralysis.
Nightmares are also associated with posttraumatic stress disorder, underlying psychological problems, and certain medications: narcotics, barbiturates and alcohol. An evaluation could rule these out as potential causes.
I would highly recommend that you undergo a sleep study. Treatment might involve medication and or psychotherapy treatment, depending upon your diagnosis. Psychotherapy might be particularly useful in correcting the psychological aspects of disrupted sleep. Utilize the website sleepeducation.org to find a facility near you or ask your primary care physician for a referral to a sleep specialist.
Sleep is an important aspect of psychological health. Without it, it can be difficult to function and maintain a stable mood. Once you have had a sleep study, you will have a better idea about what might be wrong and most importantly, how to treat it. Good luck and please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle