If you’ve ever woken up in a panic because of the dream you were having, you aren’t alone; nightmares are something that affect everyone and they’re rarely ever pleasant. However, did you know that they’re sometimes caused by oxygen-deprivation? This means that things like obstructive sleep apnea can directly influence how you dream! Here’s what you need to know about sleep apnea and how it can cause you to have nightmares, along with a few tips for catching some peaceful sleep.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects roughly 25 million US adults. It causes your breathing to pause briefly and repeatedly during sleep, usually due to obstruction in the airway that is typically caused by the throat and oral tissues. Chronic snoring is the most common symptom associated with sleep apnea.
Because your body must continually wake up to normalize your breathing pattern, your brain is unable to remain in a deep sleep cycle for the necessary amount of time. This can also influence the number of dreams that you have—but it doesn’t eliminate all of them. You can still have the bad ones!
How Does Sleep Apnea Cause Nightmares?
Even people with moderate sleep apnea are more susceptible to nightmares than the rest of the population. Because of the oxygen deprivation that obstructive sleep apnea causes, your body must repeatedly wake up to address the suffocation—and this feeling can sometimes get incorporated into your dreams, which is upsetting to say the least.
This can sometimes have a chaining effect; as your sleep apnea progresses, you spend less and less time each night getting the sleep that your body needs. Recent studies have shown that your nightmares will also continue to get more unpleasant. Not to mention, this will translate into daytime fatigue and yield negative psychological effects—you can’t think or function properly when you’re incredibly tired. Researchers have also found that there is a connection between daytime depression and dream unpleasantness—bad dreams really do bring you down.
Tips For Getting a Peaceful Night’s Rest
There are a few things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep as well as the quality of your dreams:
- Maintain a soothing evening routine.
- Go to bed at the same time each night.
- Don’t stay up too late.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid consuming alcohol before bed.
- Seek a sleep study (a specialist will have to diagnose you before you can receive treatment).
- Seek sleep apnea treatment (if necessary).
If you’re tired of nightmares waking you up, have you considered that they might be the result of sleep apnea? Seeing your doctor for a proper diagnosis is the first step towards getting back to having pleasant dreams.
About the Practice
Gruene Family Dental has served the needs of the New Braunfels community for several years. They present a comfortable, home-like atmosphere equipped with the finest advanced dental technology available and offer a wide range of services including general, family, cosmetic, and emergency dentistry. They also offer sleep apnea therapy. If you have any questions about sleep apnea or would like to schedule an appointment, please reach out through their website or by phone: (830) 626-1111.