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Nightmares May be a Sign of Sleep Apnea

December 10, 2021

Do you have vivid recurring nightmares involving breath? According to recent research, these may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition affecting an estimated 18 million people in the United States. As one of the most commonly missed or misdiagnosed disorders, it is incredibly important to be aware of all signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. When left untreated, the disorder can result in serious or even fatal systemic issues including heart attack, stroke, and metabolic disease.

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.

In bed, having a nightmare

Additional Signs and Symptoms

Additional signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Excessive daytime fatigue
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • Waking with a sore throat
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Mood swings

Snoring is also a common symptom of sleep apnea. If you have been told you snore, looking for other symptoms of the condition can help to affirm or eliminate the possibility of sleep apnea, although it is best to discuss chronic snoring with a dentist even if you do not have additional symptoms.

At Mello & Tabib, our experienced NYC sleep apnea dentists provide customized and non-invasive solutions for people experiencing this common sleep disorder. Please call our Manhattan office at 212-452-3344 or visit our website to schedule a treatment consultation today.

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At NYC Smile Design, experienced New York City cosmetic dentists Dr. Elisa Mello and Dr. Ramin Tabib collaborate to provide you with comprehensive dental care and outstanding cosmetic dentistry results. Together they founded NYC Smile Design in 1994 and have been dedicated to providing life-changing dentistry ever since.
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