Antonio Zadra, Ph.D.

Full Professor
Department of Psychology, Université de Montréal
(Ordre des psychologues du Québec)


Post-doctorat in Psychiatry (Université de Montréal)
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (McGill University)
M.Sc. in Experimental Psychology (McGill University)

Research interests

The pathophysiology of sleepwalking. Relationship between the content of dreams and nightmares and psychological well-being. Recurring dreams, lucid dreams, assessment and treatment of parasomnias, and REM sleep EEG.

Methodological approaches

Polysomnography, spectral analysis of the EEG, collections of nocturnal dreams and dream journals.


Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Title: Pathophysiology and treatment of adult somnambulism.
Role: Principal investigator
Years: 2019-2024
Amount: 420 750$

Grant from the FRSCQ: Strategic groupings program
Title: Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Marital Problems and Sexual Assault (CRIPCAS).
Role: Co-researcher
Years: 2020-2027
Montant: 1 799 000 $

Université de Montréal grant: Support for intersectoral initiatives
Title: Cinema-Somnolence: Facilitating Sleep Through Cinema Rhythm
Role: Co-researcher
Years: 2020-2021
Amount: $ 24,866

My team

Karine Lacourse, Ing., M.Sc.

Software Developer

David Lévesque, Ing.

Software Developer

Ajar Diushekeeva

Ph.D. candidate
Université de Montréal

Cloé Blanchette-Carrière

Ph.D. candidate
Université de Montréal

Mira El-Hourani

Ph.D. candidate
Université de Montréal

Jenna Labelle

D.Psy. candidate
Université de Montréal

Sarah-Hélène Julien

D.Psy. candidate
Université de Montréal

Narges Kalantari

M.Sc. candidate
Université de Montréal

Selected publications

Gauchat, A, Zadra A., El Hourani M, Parent S., Tremblay R.E., Séguin JR. (2020) Disturbing Dreams and Psychosocial Maladjustment in Children: A Prospective Study of the Moderating Role of Early Negative Emotionality. Frontiers Neurology.

Carpentier N, O’Reilly C, Carrier J, Poirier G, Paquet J, Gibbs S.A, Zadra A, Desautels A. (2020). Spindle insufficiency in sleepwalkers’ deep sleep. Clinical Neurophysiology, 50, 339-343.

Samson-Daoust E, Julien SH, Beaulieu-Prévost D, Zadra A. (2019) Predicting the affective tone of everyday dreams: A prospective study of state and trait variables. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-50859-w

Demacheva I, Zadra A. (2019) Dream content and its relationship to trait anxiety. International Journal of Dream Research, 12 (2): 1-7.

Nigam M, Zadra A, Boucetta S, Gibbs SA, Desautels A, Montplaisir J. (2019) Successful treatment of somnambulism with OROS-methylphenidate. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 15, 1683-1685.

Desjardins ME, Baril AA, Soucy JP, Dang Vu TT, Desautels A, Petit D, Montplaisir, J, Zadra A. (2018). Altered brain perfusion patterns in wakefulness and slow-wave sleep in sleepwalkers. SLEEP, 41, zsy039

Desjardins ME, Carrier J, Lina JM, Fortin M, Gosselin N, Montplasir, J, Zadra A. (2017) EEG functional connectivity prior to sleepwalking: evidence of interplay between sleep and wakefulness. SLEEP, 40(4) doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsx024.

Boucetta S, Montplasir J, Zadra A, Lachapelle F, Soucy JP, Gravel P, Dang-Vu TT. (2017) Altered regional cerebral blood flow in idiopathic hypersomnia. SLEEP, 40:10

Labelle MA, Dang-Vu TT, Petit D, Desautels A, Monplaisir J, Zadra, A. (2015) Sleep deprivation impairs inhibitory control in adult sleepwalkers. Journal of Sleep Research, 24, 658-65. DOI: 10.1111/jsr.12315

Petit D, Pennestri MH, Paquet J, Desautels, A, Zadra A, Tremblay RE, Boivin M, Montplaisir J. (2015) Childhood sleepwalking and sleep terrors: a longitudinal study of prevalence and familial aggregation. JAMA Pediatrics. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.127

Tanguay H, Zadra A, Good D, Leri F. (2015) Relationship between drug dreams, affect and craving during treatment for substance dependence. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 9; 123-129. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000105

Dang-Vu TT, Zadra A, Labelle MA, Petit D, Soucy JP, Montplaisir J. (2015). Sleep deprivation reveals altered brain perfusion patterns in somnambulism. PLoS One. 10(8): e0133474. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133474..

Cohen A, Zadra A. (2015). An analysis of laypeople’s beliefs regarding the origins of their worst nightmares. International Journal of Dream Research, 8, 120-128.

Gauchat A, Séguin JR, McSween-Cadieux E, Zadra A. (2015). The content of recurrent dreams in young adolescents. Consciousness and Cognition, 37: 103-111 10.1016/j.concog.2015.08.009


Pathophysiology and treatment of adult somnambulism

Despite almost 5 decades of clinical and laboratory investigations of sleep disorders, relatively little is known about the mechanisms which give rise to sleepwalking (somnambulism) and even less about how to effectively treat the disorder. Sleepwalking occurs in 4% to 17% of children and is far more common in adults (approximately 4%) than commonly acknowledged. Patients suffering from this sleep disorder often consult due to a history of aggressive and/or injurious behaviour during sleep. In a significant number of cases, patients report having suffered serious injuries (e.g., contusions, fractures to limbs, rib cage, multiple lacerations) and/or having attacked a bed partner during an episode. Establishing a correct diagnosis and adequately treating sleepwalking is vital for the patient's health as well as in light of the growing number of medico-legal cases of sleep-related violence. In most centers, the benzodiazepinic drug clonazepam is used for treatment. A significant proportion of clinicians, however, are reluctant to prescribe daily doses of benzodiazepines over long periods of time due to concerns about drug habituation and potentially harmful consequences of long-term usage. Moreover, many sleepwalkers do not respond to this medication or present side effects. Numerous descriptive studies suggest that hypnosis can be effective in the long-term management of sleepwalking. The first aim of the proposed research is to evaluate the treatment effects of hypnosis on sleepwalking frequency and intensity. A second aim of the proposed research is to elucidate our understanding of sleepwalking by recording sleepwalkers' brain activity during sleep both before and after a period sleep deprivation. Taken together, these studies should a) lead us to a better understanding of why some people suffer from sleepwalking, b) help identify neurobiological markers of the disorder, and c) guide future clinical treatments.