Dreams are a metaphor for all that’s positive in life. A person who is attractive used to be described as “dreamy.” Our hopes for the future are described as dreams, and coming back from a great vacation can be disparaged as waking up from a dream.
Dreams likely have a real purpose, too. They can help with memory and allow us to work through our daily problems.
But sleep apnea can highjack your dreams, resulting in negative ones at first, then, eventually, preventing you from dreaming at all.
Nightmares and Sleep Apnea
Studies show that people with mild sleep apnea recall more dreams than other people, but that they tend to be more nightmarish.
That’s because you’re waking up more often through the night, and each time you wake up, your brain remembers your dreams. As opposed to sleeping through the night, when you might have many dreams but have difficulty recalling them.
And the fact that you’re having more nightmares isn’t a surprise, either. After all, your brain is experiencing a serious threat every night as it is being choked. It’s normal that you would have a negative emotional experience.
The Eradication of Dreams
The good news is that nightmares tend to go away as sleep apnea becomes more severe. The bad news is that good dreams go, too. In fact, people with severe sleep apnea get so little time in REM sleep that they hardly dream at all. And along with the loss of dreams, people lose all the benefits of dreaming: a restful mind, sharper cognition, and better memory.
Dreams and Sleep Apnea Treatment
When you first start sleep apnea treatment, you’ll notice that your dreams return immediately. In fact, they return in a more vibrant way, and you’ll notice that you are recalling more dreams than ever.
Your brain has been deprived of REM sleep for so long that it’s hungry for it. When you first start to get it, your brain gorges on REM sleep and you’ll have a lot of vibrant, typically pleasant, dreams. Over time, this will taper off and you’ll remember fewer dreams, partly because you’ll be so deep in restful sleep that it’s hard to remember dreams.
If you want to get back to dreaming and put the nightmare of sleep apnea behind you, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center today.