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Week 11, 2013


Sleep Apnea and Dreams  


Every night I’ve been having nightmares I also awake still extremely tired it does not go away. I have also been known to snore or talk in my sleep. Occasionally I do the actions that I am doing in my dream.

Kudo Snoring Research, North Branford, CT. 3/17/2013. This article discusses dreams and sleep apnea.

I saw Casey posted this question in Yahoo Answers and thought it is common for most sleep apnea patients.

Sleep consists of two states, REM and NREM. REM stands as Rapid Eye Movement while NREM is Non-Rapid Eye Movement.

In REM sleep, it is the time for brain to reorganize the memory data stored at day time. So the brain and the group of voluntary muscles are active. During the process of the data compiling, brain scans through the data base just like a computer scanning virus. The way human storing data are images and sounds. The brain scanning the memory data is like play movies without light. The processes are happening but you do not see them. But if somehow you are aroused during the process of compiling data in REM sleep, the processes will stop and you will notice the data process which so called dreams.

Due to the complexity of the brain and different sections of the brain control different muscles and some muscles respond quicker than others even they receive the signals from brain at same time. For example bird’s chest muscles (white meat) controlling the wings are responding much quicker than the leg muscles (red meat) so bird can escape quicker if there is a danger. When you are aroused, the different brain sections and different muscles resume to active with different paces. The differences could be significant. Someone can sleep talk, others may sleep walk, many can move their legs before complete awakening.

During the REM sleep, if you are not aroused, you will never know your dreams, sleep walk, sleep talk, etc.

Now back to Casey’s question. Why he remembers his dreams, why he knows he has some action in his sleep? This is because he has awakened during REM sleep.

Because he also has other symptoms such as snore, tiredness plus dreams, nightmares. He may suffers sleep disorder – Sleep Apnea.

When an apnea occurs, breathe stops, no fresh air is brought into lung to exchange the carbon dioxide from the blood. The oxygen level in the blood reduces. When the oxygen reduces to a certain level (90%), the brain senses the danger and to wake you up to resume breathe. So each apnea will result in an awakening.

Apnea often occurs during the REM sleep. Following is a cycle of the episode sleep apnea:

Deep Sleep – Dream – Apnea – Awakening – Aware of the Dream – Resume of Breather – Return to Deep Sleep.

This cycle could repeat several hundred of times. You will have several hundred of dreams every night though you may not remember every dream.

Suggest you to see a sleep specialist and conduct a overnight hospital sleep study to diagnose the sleep apnea.

Untreated sleep apnea could result in some serious issues such as heart failures, hypertension, prostate enlargement for men, arthritis, etc.

Sleep apnea is treatable. Most common one is the CPAP machine which keeps positive pressure in your throat to splint the tongue from falling into your throat to prevent from blockage of breathing passage. The alternative is the mouthpiece such as Snorefighter to reposition your lower jaw forward and lift your tongue away from throat to prevent blocking the breathing passage.

Feel free to send your comments to this email. I will try to reply.

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