Why Untreated Sleep Apnea Could Stop You from Having Sweet Dreams

Man having a dream while sleeping on purple pillow

Many people have already heard that snoring and gasping for air are signs of sleep apnea, but you may not have realized that a lack of dreams is also a common symptom. Have you not been able to remember your dreams lately? There are a few different reasons why that might happen, but one possible answer is that you aren’t dreaming at all because you have a sleep disorder. Read on to learn about the health implications of dreamless sleep – and why it could be a reason for you to have sleep apnea in Denver treated as soon as possible.  

Understanding Dreaming

Most dreaming takes place during REM sleep. REM stands for “rapid eye movement”, which refers to the motions your eyes make after you enter this stage of the sleep cycle. At this point, the brain becomes more active, which is what leads to dreaming; your breathing rate, blood pressure, and heart rate will also increase. It usually takes about 90 minutes after falling asleep to enter REM sleep, and this stage normally occurs 3 to 5 times during the average sleep cycle.

How Sleep Apnea Disrupts Dreaming

During sleep apnea, the airway frequently becomes blocked throughout the night, causing breathing to stop. When that happens, you are briefly aroused from your slumber so your body can get air. This can affect dreaming in one of two ways. First, if you keep waking up, you may never reach REM sleep at all, and thus you won’t have any dreams to speak of. And second, if the interruptions happen while you’re already in the middle of your dream, you can end up having a very intense nightmare.

The Health Implications of Sleep Apnea and a Lack of Dreams

Each stage of the sleep cycle is important, but REM sleep is particularly crucial since it’s the point where the consolidation of memories usually happens. If it’s being disrupted, you might end up suffering from memory loss similar to that which occurs in people with Alzheimer’s disease. And of course, a lack of sleep can lead to other health problems such as chronic exhaustion and heart disease.

What Should You Do If You Think You Have Sleep Apnea?

First, you need to confirm that you really are experiencing sleep apnea by undergoing a sleep study. After that, it will be possible for your sleep dentist to suggest treatment options based on the severity of your case. Oral appliances are generally preferred by patients who do not want to use a noisy and inconvenient CPAP machine.

Are you concerned by your lack of dreams lately, or have you been told about the strange noises you make at night? If you have any reason to think your nights are anything but restful, get in touch with a professional that can help you find the solution for getting the sleep you deserve!

About the Author

Dr. Gary Radz first learned about oral sleep appliances when he used one to successfully overcome his own severe sleep apnea. Since then, he has dedicated himself to using his dental experience to providing the same care to other patients that are struggling with sleep-disordered breathing. If you are concerned about a lack of dreams or other possible signs of sleep apnea, contact Dr. Radz at Downtown Denver Sleep Solutions through his website or by calling (303) 377-5337.

Comments are closed.