Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sleep Apnea and Dreams

I have read that you dream during the REM stage of sleep. I have also read that sleep apnea patients don’t reach that stage of sleep. But sleep apnea patients still dream.

REM (rapid eye movement) is a stage of sleep that occurs 4 or 5 times a night. Usually it takes up about 20 per cent of your sleeping time. The brain is very active during REM and the body has a type of paralysis that it goes into. There is also a sleep disorder called sleep paralysis. REM is also the time of the most vivid and memorable dreams that you will have.

But I dream all the time and I remember the dreams? As a matter of fact my dreams go on for what seems like a long period of time. I have had the sleep studies and there is no doubt that I have sleep apnea but it seems strange that my dreams are so vivid. The only thing that I can think of is that I wake up (caused by apnea) then I fall asleep quickly and resume the dream.

Another reason that I don’t think that I reach REM is the paralysis that occurs. I know that on one certain occasion I had a vivid dream where I swung my arm over my body and hit the wall next to the bed. My hand was bruised for quite a while after that.

So if you have sleep apnea I would like if you remember your dreams the next morning or is everything just a blur.

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  1. Hi David, I have been diagnosed with extreme sleep apnea and I'm trying to get sleeping with a CPAP. It's been tough as I seem to focus too much on breathing with it on and can't fall asleep using a nasal mask. However, I also am going through a cold so I haven't bothered with the CPAP since my nose is so stuffed I can't breath through it most of the time. But I've noticed I actually fall asleep very frequently now during the day and I dream all the time even in a 15 second nap. And I mean ALL the time. Seems strange. I've read that it is possible to dream even outside of REM sleep. I do remember the dream right after I wake up. Now I am waiting for the cold to go away so I can get on the CPAP and finally, hopefully I will "feel like a new man" as my respirologist would say.

    All the best in your continued search for a cure.


  2. Hi JP,
    It is strange that they say that you can't dream without REM. I can fall asleep and start dreaming right away. And I can remember dreams also.
    Hopefully your cold will go away and soon and you can get back to the cpap.
    thanks for commenting
    and stay in touch

  3. Hello David. I have had similar experiences, and some dreams are very frightening and seem real. I have come to the tentative conclusion that dreams during sleep zones are not dreams at all. They are the real experiences of a spirit that has either got out of the body, or is somehow detached(though not completely) from the body.
    I have found it very difficult to stop such 'dreams' during their occurance. I always succeed after a struggle, and my head/brain will feel exhausted/traumatised after that.