Experiencing a scary nocturnal episode as a result of a traumatic or intense dream can be viewed as a reactional bodily reflex. However, when this condition begins to recur in both old and young people, then this is a clear sign of a physiological problem and research has distinguished a particular relationship between sleep apnea and nightmares. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that is characterized by gaps in breathing when an individual is asleep. During this period there is a significant fall in the amount of oxygen within the body and this shortfall could be a major cause of frightening dreams and even hallucinations that will interrupt sleep. During normal sleep, the respiratory controlling area within the brain is disrupted and the respiratory, cardiovascular and mental mechanisms could be greatly affected and contribute to incidences such as nightmares and night terror episodes. Severe cases of sleep apnea could cause coronary defects in addition to a wide range of mental dysfunctions.
Children are unfortunately the most commonly affect by nightmares. It is estimated that between 20 and 35 percent of children from 5 to 12 years old are afflicted. For adults, this percentage is lower with only about 2 to 10 percent being regular sufferers of nightmares. However, with adults a larger number of the cases are related with breathing disorders like sleep apnea and snoring.
Other distinctive causes of nightmares include traumatic incidents, stress, health problems and mental illness. Sufferers of this condition are advised to seek the help of a professional in mental health or a therapist. For children, a pediatrician would be the best person to contact for advice on the right steps to follow. Parents have to be extra vigilant of their children’s sleeping patterns in order to note any irregularities and deal with them as quickly as possible. Certain cases of nightmares can be dealt with using prescription medication though one of the best methods of putting nightmares in check involves behavioral therapy which is considered healthier more so for those with chronic nightmares caused by post traumatic stress disorder. Dealing with the symptoms of sleep apnea is a way of controlling terrifying night episodes. The use of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device helps keep a person’s air passages open while asleep and this will control breathing. Severe sleep apnea may require a surgical proceduree on the throat area to avoid the compression of air pathways during sleep.
Another important aspect of treatment is the adoption of a lifestyle shift. Eating healthier foods would help a great deal in improving the body’s physiology which is important. A regular exercise regime is also vital and studies have shown that doing some exercising before bedtime increase the amount of adrenaline in the body which greatly improves a person’s sleeping patterns. In addition to this, the consumption of excessive caffeine, alcohol or tobacco is strongly advised against.
There are currently many sleep clinics that specialize in treating sleep disorders and related ailments. One can easily find these clinics using the phonebook or via the internet. There are usually one or more supervising physicians who are on hand with the help of technicians and nurses. There are certain insurance schemes that can cover this kind of treatment however in most cases this is only after referral from one’s General practitioner. Getting the right analysis and diagnosis is the only way of controlling nightmares and ailments that are associated with it.