If you’re like most, your night’s rest is choked full of dreams…some you remember, some you don’t.
But for those with nighttime breathing disorders, dreaming might not occur – or be diminished – since deep, restful sleep doesn’t come easily.
We dream when we’re in REM sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement – which is what occurs when you dream; your eyes move back and forth under your closed eyelids, just like you’re actually “looking” at your dream. When this sleep stage is disrupted because of breathing disorders, dreams can not occur normally.
But the risk is more than just a dreamless night, left untreated sleep-time breathing disorders can also cause memory problems, weight gain, impotence, and headaches. Moreover, it may be responsible for job impairment and car accidents. Fortunately, it can be diagnosed and treated.
Dr. Jackie Schafer, a dentist and founder of Colorado Healthy Smiles is trained in breathing wellness.“If your lack of dreaming and dream recall is impaired due to breathing disorders when sleeping, we can fix that! These disorders usually manifest as snoring, gasping for air, or as an interruption of the normal breathing pattern.”
Treatment is fast, painless and simple. “My patients are often afraid that they’ll need to use a CPAP mask for the rest of their lives. But this is no longer true. Recent technologies have opened the door to other types of treatment, including an oral device much like a dental retainer. And results generally take 18-24 months or less.”
“But it’s also important to note that these types of breathing disorders can affect more than just your dreams. There is evidence that long-term sleep-disordered breathing problems can have important health consequences like increased blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems. So in these chases, your obstructive breathing could actually shorten your life.”
“Diagnosis is easy as well. The first step is a non-invasive airway scan that can be done right here in the office”, says Dr. Schafer. “Then, if there’s evidence to support it, a sleep study is the next step. Once the results are ready, we’ll be able to fit you with a small dental devise that you wear at bedtime. Then it’s back to dreaming and better health!”