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Does sleep apnea cause nightmares and bad dreams? Does CPAP alleviate that?
#1
Does sleep apnea cause nightmares and bad dreams? Does CPAP alleviate that?
I got a personal question.

I've been having a lot of nightmares lately. I don't know if it's due to the Coronavirus stress or not. But even before that event, I had a lot of frequent nightmares. I don't know if it's midlife crisis or unresolved subconscious issues or whatever. They cause a lot of anxiety during sleep though, since they usually involve bad dreams where I'm lost or naked or back in school where I feel out of place or can't find my classes or can't keep up with the homework, etc. 

But I was wondering, could nightmares and bad dreams also be due to sleep apnea? Is sleep apnea known to cause that? Did any of you have bad dreams and nightmares while you had sleep apnea? If so, did they go away after you started using CPAP? Can any of you share your experiences on that? 

Thanks.
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#2
RE: Does sleep apnea cause nightmares and bad dreams? Does CPAP alleviate that?
before pap I learned to recognize when I'd been having apnea by my dreams. I thrashed a lot struggling to breathe & that would influence dreams. they were always repetitive & cyclical which I assume followed the pattern of not breathing & recovery breathing. they were always about something with some kind of boundaries, physical, temporal or even by subject, again, influenced I think by pauses in breathing. one common dream was being able to sip just enough air to stay underwater for an unnaturally long time. & of course I had the can't find my books & classroom for the final in a course I failed to attend type dreams.

now that you mention it I realize I haven't had those dreams for a long time, presumably as a result of cpap.
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#3
RE: Does sleep apnea cause nightmares and bad dreams? Does CPAP alleviate that?
I found when I started cpap the nightmares and other weird dreams went away. They were replaced by some that were more vivid and every so often an odd one, but not in the bad way. My doctor explained it this way - under CPAP when in the various stages of REM the brain finally gets to relax as some of the restrictions to dealing with the non-REM are removed. The brain can finally get a chance to play so to speak.
Homer

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#4
RE: Does sleep apnea cause nightmares and bad dreams? Does CPAP alleviate that?
While I don't know about dreams being associated specifically with apnea, they have been associated with low oxygen levels, sorry no references. Low O2 is also a symptom of apnea so there is a correlation there.
Fred Bonjour - Project Manager and Lead Tester for OSCAR - Open Source CPAP Analysis Reporter 
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#5
RE: Does sleep apnea cause nightmares and bad dreams? Does CPAP alleviate that?
I havent had those kind of nightmares before but I'd suggest that you have to just relax, clear you rmind, think of happy thoughts and keep youself busy.
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#6
RE: Does sleep apnea cause nightmares and bad dreams? Does CPAP alleviate that?
what did you have to eat before bed.......? Ice cream keeps me up. No nightmares. Been awhile since I had a nightmare. Usually it's something heavy in your stomach, and your digestive system is working hard?
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#7
RE: Does sleep apnea cause nightmares and bad dreams? Does CPAP alleviate that?
For sure, in my experience, apneas cause bad/stressful dreams. I think it's the brain trying to rationalise the feeling of being out of breath or unable to breathe. In my case, the dream usually involves exertion - such as running away from something - or frustration at being unable to open a door or get something to work.

I frequently awake after one of these dreams with my heart pounding and breathing rapidly. Horrible.

I am not aware of all apneas in this way, so I'm guessing it is only those that persist for a while that cause these dreams, when I'm really running out of air. I believe it only takes the brain a few seconds to conjure up a dream that seems to last for minutes or hours, so it's possible to run a marathon in the few seconds before you awake!
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#8
RE: Does sleep apnea cause nightmares and bad dreams? Does CPAP alleviate that?
I must have suffered from some bad dreams before apnea treatment. I had lots of problems falling asleep for quite a while. While I don't remember any nightmare in detail, my reaction indicates the body did know sleeping with apnea had something bad associated with it. I did have lots of times while drifting off of the super scary falling thing or of drowning.
Dave

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEBSITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#9
RE: Does sleep apnea cause nightmares and bad dreams? Does CPAP alleviate that?
I had dreams (both good and bad) long before I started CPAP. I still have them. But, I do know that they are exacerbated when I take OTC sleep aids. 

I can't say that I have really bad dreams though, as much as they are frustrating ones. At some point in my dream(s), I'm aware that it's only a dream. That happens more so than not. 

Many of them are in regards to my career in LE. Seems to be an on-going issue.  Thinking-about
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#10
RE: Does sleep apnea cause nightmares and bad dreams? Does CPAP alleviate that?
Is it a good idea to get a finger 02 to check oxygen levels...have been on CPAP for years and definitely have really vivid dreams.
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