Getting a good night's sleep is important, but frequent nightmares can throw off your entire day: awakening you, keeping you up, and even making you uncomfortable about going back to sleep, all leading to a long day of fatigue. It might seem like nightmares are something you should have outgrown, but as many as 8% of adults experience chronic nightmares according to the American Sleep Association. At Bogan Sleep Consultants in Columbia, SC, Dr. Richard Bogan and his staff treat many patients who experience frequent bad dreams. Below, their causes and treatments are discussed.
Problems with your sleep's natural rhythms may lead to nightmares. Sleep apnea causes the muscles at the back of the mouth to collapse across the throat, which causes the brain to signal the sleeping person to wake up and begin breathing normally again. Restless leg syndrome may also disturb normal sleep patterns. Either of these can change the way your brain functions during REM sleep and lead to nightmares. By having a sleep study at Bogan Sleep Consultants, these conditions can be diagnosed and treated accordingly.
If you have anxiety, depression, or a combination of the two, you know the feelings of stress, worry, and fear all too well. Unfortunately, going to bed may not give you an escape from these issues; they may carry over to disturb your sleep in the form of nightmares. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, often develops after people encounter an extremely upsetting event and may also lead to nightmares related to that experience. Your Columbia sleep medicine specialist can recommend counseling or certain medications that may help to improve these symptoms.
There are a variety of medications that may cause vivid dreams or nightmares while you're taking them or trying to wean yourself off of them. Medicines that affect the brain's naturally-occurring chemicals, including antidepressants and tranquilizers, can have this side effect. Blood pressure medicines can also affect dreams. Believe it or not, your Columbia sleep medicine specialist advises against late-night snacks, which can speed up your metabolism and change your sleep.
If you're experiencing interrupted sleep due to nightmares, it's time to contact Bogan Sleep Consultants in Columbia, SC for an evaluation. A better night's sleep is just a phone call away!