People with sleep apnea rarely dream since they never reach the deeper stages of sleep where dreams occur. In spite of this, even if you suffer from sleep apnea, you may still dream—and if you do, you may experience a frightening nightmare. Have you been experiencing more vivid dreams than usual lately? Find out the truth about sleep apnea nightmares and why treatment is essential.
Nightmares and Sleep Apnea
There has been a correlation between nightmares and obstructive sleep apnea (the most common form of sleep apnea, which occurs when the airway is physically blocked). A mild sleep disorder may allow the individual to experience nightmares more often than someone without a sleep disorder. The reason for this is probably the suffocation that you will naturally experience due to sleep apnea interfering with your breathing. Without enough oxygen, the body experiences a great deal of stress, and that stress may manifest itself in dreams. Sleep apnea nightmares are not only more vivid than normal, but they also become more unpleasant with increasing severity.
The Problem of Sleep Apnea Nightmares
Health problems such as heart conditions can be caused by sleep apnea. In a sense, nightmares associated with sleep apnea can also adversely affect your health. An unpleasant dream can negatively affect the rest of your day. As sleep apnea can already be associated with an increased risk of anxiety and depression, having nightmares on top of that can exacerbate these problems.
How to Improve Your Dreams
Sleep apnea nightmares can be eliminated by treating your sleep apnea. A sleep study is necessary before you can be diagnosed with the disorder. After that, you will need to speak with a sleep expert about your treatment options. For mild or moderate cases of sleep apnea, an oral appliance is often sufficient instead of CPAP therapy. You may also be suffering from sleep apnea as a result of certain lifestyle choices. Avoid alcoholic beverages that can relax your throat muscles and sleep on your side instead of your back so that your tissues in your mouth do not fall back on your airway.
Bad dreams are another way sleep apnea can disrupt your life. Like many of the other symptoms associated with the disorder, you can overcome the problem by contacting a sleep apnea specialist as soon as possible. Our office specializes in treating sleep apnea. Contact us today to schedule a sleep apnea consultation.