Sleep Apnea Could Be Giving You Nightmares
Nightmares. We have all experienced them, and aside from getting your adrenaline pumping—there really isn’t much about them that could be considered ‘positive.’
Sleepassociation.org describes nightmares that occur frequently as ‘parasomnia dream state events, in which visual sequences unfold.’ It also says that nightmares will often depict situations or imagery that is ‘particularly disturbing,’ or even ‘frightening.’
Actually, if they happen frequently enough, nightmares can be classified as a sleeping disorder. If they disrupt your sleep on a regular basis, then it is possible that they can even lead to sleep deprivation. It is usually believed that most nightmares are caused by mental disturbances, and this is true. But, nightmares can also be caused by sleep deprivation… and while it is somewhat rare for nightmares to be associated with any other sleeping disorder, there is new information emerging that might link nightmares to sleep apnea.
What Is the Reasoning Behind the Link?
According to some, waking up from nightmares on a regular basis might be reason to suspect that you could be suffering from sleep apnea. As you likely know, sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing can cause you to wake up many times throughout the night, though you will likely not realize that you are doing so.
Nightmares that are not caused by mental disturbances could be caused by a number of different factors. Eating too closely to bedtime, experiencing medication/drug withdrawals, and even taking some types of medication can bring them on.
But as it turns out, sleep apnea may have more to do with some instances of this phenomenon than we previously thought. When you experience sleep apnea, you are experiencing an actual threat to your immediate health and well-being. You are being deprived of oxygen… to the point where it can even feel like you are suffocating or being choked.
It is possible that our brains respond to this stimulation with nightmares. Because we may be subconsciously registering our sleep apnea as a real threat, this may induce a sense of fear in our brains and lead to us experiencing nightmares as a result.
In fact, some people already recognize night terrors as a possible sign of sleep apnea in children… so why should it be any different in adults?
What Can You Do About It?
If you have started experiencing frequent nightmares that wake you up from your rest with a feeling of fear, dread, terror, or some other negative feeling like these, then it may be possible that the problem could be caused (or at least contributed to) by sleep apnea.
The best course of action is to go to your doctor, and maybe schedule a sleep study. This can help to determine if you are truly experiencing sleep apnea and will help to tell you how bad the problem actually is.
This is a very important step to take, because it can lead you to a place where you can begin to look at different treatment options that may help you to begin your journey toward better health and a more satisfying quality of rest.
Sleep apnea is certainly no joke. If you feel that there is any chance that you may be suffering from it, then it is actually very important to get it checked out. This sleeping disorder can increase your risk for a number of different diseases and conditions… including stroke, heart failure, type 2 diabetes, and others.
Thankfully, there are a lot of remedies available… but you can’t fix the problem unless you know what is going on.