Are you among the 37% of adults in America diagnosed with sleep apnea? You know it can cause a variety of symptoms, like chronic snoring, waking frequently at night, and even depression; however, a recent study has found another issue connected to the disorder. Sleep apnea nightmares might be preventing you from feeling your best in the morning. Even if you can’t remember them, here’s how sleep apnea can affect your dreams.
Sleep Apnea Linked to Nightmares
The most prevalent form of sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction in the airway. The soft tissues in the back of the mouth or throat collapse, which causes the airway to narrow and leads to frequent pauses in breathing while sleeping. Several common complications can occur from leaving the disorder untreated, like morning time headaches, fatigue, and waking to gasp for air, but those aren’t the only concerns. A study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine reports nightmares can also be a sign.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes various psychological symptoms, which can trigger parasomnias, like nightmares. Sleep apnea is known to cause disturbances in slow-wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep. Studies have found disturbing sleep disturbances to increase among OSA patients because adequate rest is necessary for all stages of emotional regulation. If you’re not achieving quality sleep, imbalances can occur that may cause violent or hostile dreams, especially for patients with certain pre-disposed neurological or psychiatric disorders.
Research indicates patients who have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or PTSD are at a heightened risk of nightmares. If your dream content is keeping you awake, you can lessen the nightmares to feel well-rested in the morning using an effective treatment for sleep apnea in Lawton.
Options to Treat Sleep Apnea
Studies have found many people can diminish the occurrence of frequent nightmares with sleep apnea therapy. Your dentist will create a personalized plan, which may include one or both solutions:
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway (CPAP) is a machine that delivers a steady stream of air pressure through a mask worn over the nose. It can prevent interruptions in breathing to ensure you maintain proper oxygen levels at night.
- Oral Appliance: While it may look like an athletic mouthguard, an oral appliance differs because it protrudes the lower jaw forward. It is an effective and convenient option for mild-to-moderate cases of OSA to keep the airway open to stop pauses in breathing.
Sleep Soundly Tonight
Don’t lose sleep because of disturbing dreams. You can invest in a good night’s rest and improve your quality of life with sleep apnea therapy. Better nights await you with a personalized strategy to breathe easier.
Dr. David J. Drummond
Dr. Drummond earned his dental degree at the Northwestern University Dental School in 1978. Afterward, he entered the United States Army Dental Corps where he completed advanced training in oral surgery, endodontics, periodontics, and prosthodontics. He also offers sleep apnea therapy. If you’re ready to treat your sleep apnea, contact our office today to schedule your consultation.