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Why Does Sleep Apnea Cause Nightmares

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Does Sleep Apnea Cause Night Sweats

What is Nightmare Disorder? (Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Prevention)

    If youve ever woken up drenched in sweat, you know how uncomfortable it feels. You may feel like you cant talk to anybody about it and may be anxious about why it keeps happening. Dont worry. You arent alone, and it can be easier than you thought to get to the bottom of your problem.

    Does sleep apnea cause night sweats? There is definitely a strong connection, but there are successful treatment options, like using a CPAP machine.

    If you experience frequent night sweats, it could be a sign of untreated sleep apnea. Read on as we break down what night sweats are and whether or not theyre an outcome of having untreated sleep apnea.

    Difficulties Breathing In Dreams

    People with obstructive sleep apnea experience periods of breath cessation several times a night. In some cases, these periods can last for ten or more seconds, which may produce physical reactions similar to those that accompany strangulation or suffocation. According to recent studies, vivid nightmares involving difficulties breathing may be a consequence of your brain subconsciously processing these physical reactions in an attempt to alert your body to danger.

    Nightmares involving being stuck or trapped, drowning, trying to breathe in space, choking, or being strangled were shown to be more common in people struggling with sleep apnea. Nightmares about clogged pipes were common as well, following the same theme of obstruction and leading researchers to draw connections to undiagnosed sleep apnea. If you struggle with frequent nightmares involving the breath, now is a great time to call our office for a sleep apnea consultation where we can supply you with a take-home sleep test that can help determine if you are suffering from the condition.

    Mental Health And Sleep

    If youve ever missed a night of sleep, you know how difficult it can be to function the next day. With a disorder that commonly disrupts your sleep, you may feel like that every day. When you cant sleep, you may gain weight and feel fatigued.

    Mental health has been found to worsen when sleep deprivation is present. For people who suffer from sleep issues and a mental health disorder, the two can affect each other in a vicious cycle. A lack of sleep can cause your mental condition to worsen, and when your mental health worsens you may have more trouble sleeping.

    The good news is that this relationship can also be affected positively. When one condition is treated with positive results, the other condition usually improves as well. The link between mental and physical health can be used for the betterment of your life.

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    Can Nightmares Affect Sleep

    Nightmares, especially recurrent nightmares, can have a significant impact on a persons sleep. People with nightmare disorder are more likely to suffer from decreases in both sleep quantity and quality.

    Sleep problems can be induced by nightmares in several ways. People who have nighttime disruptions from nightmares may wake up feeling anxious, making it hard to relax their mind and get back to sleep. Fear of nightmares may cause sleep avoidance and less time allocated to sleep.

    Unfortunately, these steps can make nightmares worse. Sleep avoidance can cause sleep deprivation, which can provoke a REM sleep rebound with even more intense dreams and nightmares. This often leads to further sleep avoidance, giving rise to a pattern of disturbed sleep that culminates in insomnia.

    Nightmares may exacerbate mental health conditions that can worsen sleep, and insufficient sleep can give rise to more pronounced symptoms of conditions like depression and anxiety.

    Insufficient sleep connected to nightmares and nightmare disorder can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, mood changes, and worsened cognitive function, all of which can have a substantial negative impact on a persons daytime activities and quality of life.

    A Switch In The Brainstem

    Nightmares: Common Causes

    Normally, our bodies are paralyzed during REM sleep .

    But in RBD, because a switch in the brainstem is no longer immobilizing you, your muscles are free to carry out the actions in your dreams, says sleep medicine specialist Carlos Rodriguez, MD.

    So you act them out and you may do so with screaming, violence or foul language that are completely out of character.

    Patients can injure themselves diving out of bed into a chest of drawers, running into a wall or hitting a window, he says.

    They can accidentally strike a bed partner ironically, while trying to protect them from danger in their dream.

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    Sleep Stages And Dreaming

    During the night, your brain goes through four to six cycles called sleep stages. In each cycle, there are periods of non-rapid eye movement sleep followed by brief intervals of rapid eye movement sleep.

    Fragmentary dreamsoften simple ideas or imagescan occur in NREM sleep, but the most elaborate dream experiences occur during REM. It’s during REM sleep that your brain actively dreams.

    Each of the cycles of sleep lasts approximately 90 minutes. As morning approaches, the NREM periods become shorter and the REM becomes longer.

    Most REM occurs in the last third of the night. As a result, many people will wake out of their last REM period and recall a dream first thing in the morning.

    Does Sleep Apnea Cause Nightmares

    Studies show that those with sleep apnea may be prone to having more vivid, unpleasant dreams. One of the reasons could be because sufferers of OSA have difficulty breathing. This suffocation is sometimes incorporated into the dream itself, increasing your heartrate in the process while causing an overall panic. While some research shows that those with sleep apnea dream less , the dreams they do have could be more violent.

    Unfortunately, some studies show that the negative dreams that sleep apnea causes can even impact your day-to-day life. Research cites that average daytime anxiety and depression were correlated to the average unpleasantness of dreams.

    Dont let your sleep apnea get in the way of your life, or your good dreams. You can enjoy better sleep, but the first step is recognizing the problem. Contact a sleep expert to get a diagnosis so you can get back to counting sheep with a restful mind.

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    Whats The Difference Between A Night Terror And A Bad Nightmare

    Night terrors may seem similar to nightmares, but the two are different.

    When you wake up from a nightmare, youll probably remember at least some of what the dream involved. During night terrors, you remain asleep and usually dont remember what happened when you do wake up.

    You might remember a scene from a dream you had during the episode, but its uncommon to recall any other part of the experience.

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    Why Do We Get Nightmares?

    You wake up, panting, from a deep sleep. You went to work naked. You fell into a bottomless pit. You got swept into a tornado, and then fought off a wicked witch and flying monkeys in an unfruitful trek to Oz. If any of this sounds familiar, join the club. Research suggests that more than 85 percent of adults occasionally experience nightmares — at least once a month for 8 to 29 percent, and once a week for 2 to 6 percent. If you’re someone who snoozes peacefully through the night, understand that nightmares are no ordinary dreams. They’re “vivid, disturbing dreams, with an emotional connection that tends to wake us up,” says Matthew Mingrone, an otolaryngologist and lead physician for EOS Sleep California centers.

    If your slumber resembles a bad horror movie, learning about your nightmares and why they happen may help you sleep better.

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    If the idea of sleep terrors sounds, well, nightmarish, at least it’s only a reality for about 4 or 5 percent of adults. For the 85 percent of us who get plain old nightmares, you know the drill. “Nightmares occur primarily in the last third of the night, when your REM sleep is the strongest,” Nielsen says. So if you go to bed at 10, a night terror would wake you with a fright around 11:30 p.m., whereas a nightmare would haunt you closer to 6 a.m. Sometimes nightmares wake us up, and sometimes they don’t, but we can almost always remember the nightmare’s plot to some extent.

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    Sleep Tips For Children And Adults With Adhd And Sleep Problems

    Experts are cautiously optimistic that sleep interventions may be key to improving not only sleep, but also ADHD symptoms and the effects of ADHD medication. Indeed, preliminary studies have found that behavioral sleep interventions improve sleep, ADHD symptoms, quality of life, daily functioning, behavior, and working memory.

    For children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD, a consistent bedtime routine and healthy sleep hygiene practices can help reinforce the connection between bed and sleep. Try making gradual changes and note where you see improvements to develop a system that works for you. Some tips include:

    • Cut out sugar, caffeine, and alcohol within a few hours of bedtime
    • Avoid screen time for an hour before bed
    • Avoid doing stimulating activities and projects that require hyperfocusing in the evening
    • Make the bed a stress-free zone reserved for sleep and sex
    • Get enough exercise and sunlight during the day
    • Develop a bedtime routine that you enjoy, such as rereading a favorite book, spending time with pets, or taking a warm bath
    • Keep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet, using a white noise machine if necessary to block out intrusive noises
    • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, choosing a time that is realistic and age-appropriate to get the recommended sleep for your age group
    • Use a weighted ball blanket
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    Why Do We Have Nightmares

    There is no consensus explanation for why we have nightmares. In fact, there is an ongoing debate in sleep medicine and neuroscience about why we dream at all. Many experts believe that dreaming is part of the minds methods for processing emotion and consolidating memory. Bad dreams, then, may be a component of the emotional response to fear and trauma, but more research is needed to definitively explain why nightmares occur.

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    What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects nearly 18 million adults in the United States with one of every 15 people having symptoms of the disorder. Those with obstructive sleep apnea have repeated episodes of partial or complete airway obstruction in the upper airway. This causes them to wake up multiple times per night and results in symptoms such as excessive snoring, cognitive-behavioral issues, unusual sleep positions, and excessive daytime fatigue.

    Does Sleep Apnea Cause Bad Dreams

    Is Sleep Apnea Causing My Nightmares? : Florida Dental ...

    Nightmares are a common side effect of untreated sleep apnea. But is sleep apnea the cause of nightmares or is there an underlying cause? Not always.

    As stated previously, negative emotions may bring on a nightmare, especially anxiety and stress. Mental disorders may be a nightmare trigger.

    But, there are many other nightmare triggers, including medications, hormonal changes, and even eating late at night. Some people are more prone to nightmares and night terrors, depending on their genes and family history.

    You may also get easily irritated if your REM sleep is interrupted. This emotional reaction sits in your brain, causing a nightmare.

    Different mental disorders can intertwine with untreated sleep apnea, increasing the risk of nightmares. For example, this study shows that 70% of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder have a high risk of sleep apnea.

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    I Have Cpap And Nightmares

    If you have a CPAP and still experience frequent nightmares, do not give up on your sleep apnea treatment. Your mood, memory, and physical health depend on getting proper rest during the night. There are simple steps you can take to get used to your CPAP and put an end to those bad dreams.

    Prevent feeling claustrophobic: Using a CPAP mask takes some getting used to. They can make some people feel claustrophobic. If thats the case try wearing your mask more often to get used to it. Wear it a few hours before bed, while watching TV, and during naps.

    You could also try switching from a full face CPAP mask to a nasal mask or nasal pillow mask that makes less skin contact.

    Stop Leaks: If your mask or CPAP cushions break down and you fail to replace them according to your resupply schedule they could leak. If air is leaking from your mask then it wont be directed to your airways and your sleep could become disrupted again.

    Also, if your mask is the wrong size it could leak. Be sure to work with our sleep experts to find the perfect mask to fit your individual needs.

    Up your cleaning game: Over time your mask, CPAP tubing, and more can collect dust, allergens, bacteria, molds, and more that increase the risk of getting sick. This could literally make your CPAP a nightmare! Keep those germs away with a regular cleaning schedule or the Lumin CPAP cleaner.

    Studies Suggesting Osa Is Associated With Decreased Dream And Nightmare Recall

    Several studies have suggested that OSA patients may report lower dream recall frequency. Pagel and Vann reported both a decline in dream recall frequency and use in waking behaviors by patients with OSA. Authors from the same sleep laboratory have reported that individuals reporting an absolute lack of dream recall are more likely to have OSA. This finding was postulated to be due to the effects of OSA induced sleepiness on dream recall, based on studies demonstrating that the level of arousability has a positive correlation with reported nightmare frequency, and the finding that individuals with shorter sleep latencies on multiple sleep latency testing report lower frequency of dream recall.

    Hicks and Bautisa found no correlation between reported snoring and nightmare frequency. Schredl et al., in a study of patients with severe apnea found a significant negative correlation between RDI and reported dream and nightmare recall frequency. A later study by the same author indicted that questionnaire reported pauses in breathing were associated with increased nightmare frequency. MacFarlane and Wilson found no increased incidence of dreams of choking and suffocation among patients with sleep apnea. In a previous study utilizing full-night polysomnography in the sleep laboratory and excluding spilt night studies, both dream and nightmare recall were nonsignificantly reduced in individuals with AHI > 15.

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    Sleep Apnea Cold Sweats

    Another symptom of untreated sleep apnea can be cold sweats. Cold sweats are different from night sweats as they arent constrained to only happening while you sleep.

    The most common reason a cold sweat occurs is from stress. A cold sweat usually occurs as part of your bodys fight or flight response. Since sleep apnea puts your body in distress, you could experience cold sweats while having an apnea event. However, night sweats are a much more common symptom of sleep apnea.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Parasomnias

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    Each type of parasomnia has many unique features and triggers. However, some of the more common symptoms include:

    • Difficulty sleeping through the night.
    • Waking up confused or disoriented.
    • Being tired during the day.
    • Finding cuts and bruises on your body for which you dont remember the cause.
    • Displaying movements, expressions, vocalizations or activities as told to you by your bed partner that you dont remember.

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    How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Dreaming

    Only 43.2 percent of people with sleep apnea are able to remember their dreams, largely because theyre simply having fewer dreams in general. Sleep apnea forces you to wake up repeatedly throughout the night, and that stops your body from spending much time in REM sleep, which is when most dreaming takes place.

    That said, some dreaming does still occur and in many cases it manifests as nightmares. In fact, studies suggest that as sleep apnea gets worse, the more unpleasant that the dreams associated with it become. The lack of oxygen throughout the night can become incorporated into your dreams, which is why many of these nightmares might feature scenarios where youre drowning or otherwise cant breathe.

    If you keep experiencing such nightmares, they can eventually have an impact on your mental health. Unpleasant dreams are closely associated with daytime anxiety and depression two issues that are already very likely to be side effects of sleep apnea.

    What Causes Sleep Apnea Night Sweats

    The majority of sleep apnea diagnoses are of men, but as women age, their incidence of sleep apnea changes to match that of men. In fact, as women enter menopause, their risk of developing sleep apnea increases.

    Sleep apnea night sweats are a common symptom, but in women they may be mistaken for a symptom of menopause only and not treated as sleep apnea. In fact, for both men and women, nocturnal sweating is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, affecting just over 30% of men and just under 35% of women. This is three times the rate for those without OSA.

    But what causes sleep apnea night sweats?

    A variety of factors come into play. Certainly, hormonal changes due to menopause increase your likelihood of nocturnal sweating, but there other risk factors as well. A major risk factor for sleep apnea is obesity, so its no surprise that obese individuals are also at risk for sleep apnea night sweats.

    Additionally, cardiovascular disease, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse are all risk factors for sleep apnea nights sweats. Some antidepressants, hormone replacements, and diabetes medications can increase the chances of nocturnal sweating as well.

    It is hard to pinpoint the exact cause of sleep disorders night sweats, but one thing is clear. Nocturnal sweating is highly correlated to the incidence of sleep apnea and can itself alone be used to indicate increased risk of sleep disordered breathing.

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