Thursday, May 14, 2009

How Sleep Disorders May Affect Your Dreams

Sleep disorders can reduce both the quantity and quality of your sleep. Can they also affect your dreams?

new review examined the current research. Only a small number of studies have focused on this subject. But results suggest that a couple of common sleep disorders may have an impact on your dreams.

People with
insomnia are more likely to recall their dreams. The content of their dreams tends to reflect current stressors.

Breathing-related dreams are rare in people with
sleep apnea.

People with
narcolepsy tend to have bizarre dreams with a negative tone. This may be related to their disrupted sleep cycles.

The complex process of sleep involves multiple stages that make up a sleep cycle. Each complete cycle lasts about 90 to 110 minutes. Most adults will go through four to six cycles in a full night of sleep.

Most dreams occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This tends to be the final stage of the sleep cycle in normal adult sleep.

But people who have
narcolepsy tend to go quickly into REM sleep. These events are called sleep-onset REM periods (SOREMPs).

Overall, the studies in the review support the “continuity hypothesis” of dreaming. This states that dreams reflect the issues and concerns of your life.

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