When is a Dream a Symptom of Sleep Apnea?

Posted: February 22, 2022

Space Helmet Floating Dream Sequence

It is estimated that 50 to 70 million adults in the United States suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of this sleeping disorder. Marked by periods of breath cessation and often accompanied by loud snoring, obstructive sleep apnea comes with several symptoms, including:

  • Waking at night to chokes or gasps
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • Persistent dry mouth
  • Excessive daytime fatigue

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea may also include mood swings, cognitive difficulties, and an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome – a cluster of medical conditions that heighten risks for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. As if that wasn’t enough, a handful of recent studies suggest nightmares may be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea as well.

Breathing Difficulties

Researchers have found evidence to suggest that people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea are more prone to have nightmares during which breathing becomes difficult. Participants in several of these studies have reported nightmares involving drowning, floating through space without a helmet, and being choked, leading researchers to suggest a link between obstructive sleep apnea and bad dreams exists.

Though the exact mechanism isn’t known, nightmares involving breathing difficulties may be a subconscious response to the very real breath cessation happening several times a night in people with obstructive sleep apnea. If you are experiencing these types of dreams, it is a wise idea to undergo a sleep test to determine if apnea is present. Swift treatment can help to reduce risks for some of the condition's most severe consequences.

Treating Sleep Apnea

The best way to avoid the complications associated with obstructive sleep apnea is to seek treatment as soon as symptoms present. In patients with obstructive sleep apnea, this can often be accomplished with a simple oral device that prevents soft tissue from collapsing onto the airways while sloping the jaw at the appropriate angle for optimal oxygen flow. Safe and comfortable, these devices offer an alternative to CPAP treatment, which many patients find obtrusive and uncomfortable, and can begin to produce results on their first use. Is an oral device right for you? Get in touch today to schedule a consultation and find out.

Please call The Smile Centre at 941-351-4468 to schedule a treatment evaluation and learn more about your options today.

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