Can Sleep Apnea Cause Nightmares?

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Nightmares?

Most people have a nightmare every once in a while. The majority of us know the feeling of waking up in the middle of the night feeling panicked, only to learn that you’re perfectly safe in your bed. But have you noticed this happening more and more frequently as of late? The truth is that your sleep apnea could be playing a role when it comes to your dreams. Continue reading to learn why this is and what you can do to improve your dreams.

How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Dreams?

Sleep apnea can reduce the number of dreams that you have at night, but it doesn’t necessarily eliminate all dreaming. In fact, people with moderate sleep apnea may be more prone to having nightmares than the average person, and these nightmares can often be more vivid than those experienced by people who don’t have sleep apnea.

One of the reasons that this could be occurring is due to the suffocation obstructive sleep apnea can cause. When you have obstructive sleep apnea, your windpipe is cut off from oxygen repeatedly throughout the night, causing sufferers to wake up. However, this can get incorporated into your dreams as well, causing them to become more unpleasant. Lower blood oxygen levels, caused by sleep apnea, have relations to nightmares.

How Can Nightmares Impact Your Wellbeing?

While an occasional nightmare may just seem like a minor inconvenience, when they are happening more frequently, they can have a negative overall impact on your daily life. Here are just some of the issues that can be associated with frequent nightmares:

  • Excessive sleepiness during the day.
  • Mood changes, including depression and anxiety.
  • Resistance going to sleep for fear of further nightmares.

How Can You Improve Your Dreams?

If you are commonly having nightmares thanks to sleep apnea, there are steps that can be taken to help. By undergoing sleep apnea therapy, you can reduce the negative symptoms of sleep apnea, including nightmares. For instance, by wearing an oral appliance from your dentist at night, you can realign the jaw in order to keep the airway open and allow you to breathe more easily throughout the night.

By seeking treatment for your sleep apnea, you can reduce the frequency of your nightmares. Talk to your sleep dentist today to work towards putting an end to unpleasant dreams!

About the Author

Dr. Winston Eaddy is an experienced dentist who has been working in the field for well over four decades. He earned his dental doctorate from the College of Dental Medicine, Medical University of S.C.  and was awarded his specialty degree in Periodontics from Boston University School of Graduate Dentistry. He currently holds memberships for the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, American Academy of Periodontology, and American Academy of Osseointegration. If you’ve been suffering from nightmares due to sleep apnea, he’d be happy to help. For more information or to schedule an appointment at his office in Austin, visit his website or call (512) 263-4252.

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