If you have nightmares, you might attribute them to watching a scary movie or the haunted house you visited with friends, but if the dreams have been a long-term issue, Halloween might not be the cause of your sleep disturbances. Nightmares typically affect children; however, about 2-8% of adults have them, too. If you have bad dreams often, they can be a sign of another issue that might require a trip to your dentist in Florham Park to treat. Nightmares and sleep apnea are directly connected. Thankfully, an oral appliance can help you breathe better and reduce scary dreams.
Can Sleep Apnea Cause Nightmares?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition caused by a blockage in the airway that makes you stop breathing several times throughout the night. Often, it results from the soft tissues in the back of the mouth collapsing or the tongue falling back, creating an obstruction. It’s common for the interruptions in breathing to occur frequently with each pause lasting for a minute or longer.
Over time, the inadequate oxygen levels affect various systems in your body, increasing your risk of several issues, like cardiovascular disease, depression, and sleep deprivation. Despite sleeping for the recommended time each night, untreated sleep apnea can cause daytime fatigue, which will worsen if you become sleep deprived.
As you lose more sleep, the occurrence of bad dreams can increase. Nightmares are realistic, disturbing dreams that make your heart race. You might even be startled awake by fear, causing you to lose even more sleep. Research shows many nightmares occur while a person is in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep.
You can help stop the dreams and feel well-rested by visiting your dentist for sleep apnea treatment in Florham Park using an oral appliance. You will breathe better to wake up feeling your best.
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
Patients have more options than ever to treat sleep apnea, like oral appliance therapy. Traditionally, a CPAP is used to manage the disorder; however, many patients find it bothersome, so they stop using it. As an alternative to the machine, an oral appliance can move your lower jaw forward or hold your tongue in place to stop the airway from being blocked. This is a simple way to prevent pauses in breathing, so you can get a good night’s rest.
You don’t need to lose sleep over scary dreams or difficulty breathing any longer. Your dentist will learn more about the symptoms you’re experiencing to create the customized plan you need to sleep soundly.
About Dr. John A. Carollo
Dr. John Carollo earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. For over 30 years, he has provided exceptional dental care to the community, as well as many specialty services. He has completed advanced training to treat obstructive sleep apnea. If you have signs of the disorder, like nightmares or chronic snoring, contact our office to schedule your consultation for oral appliance therapy.