Dreams are a natural sleep phenomenon, but when bad dreams wake you up, they are genuine nightmares. When nightmares keep you from getting sufficient quality sleep, you may have nightmare disorder.
Neurology & Sleep Medicine in Albuquerque, NM can help you understand nightmares and nightmare disorder to determine if you need treatment to restore the quantity and quality of your sleep for optimal health.
Nightmares are a distinct sleep phenomenon from bad dreams and night terrors. Defining characteristics of nightmares include:
Nightmares occur during REM sleep. REM sleep happens at the end of each sleep cycle, and the period of REM sleep gets progressively longer throughout the night. As a result, most nightmares may happen in the last third of a night’s sleep (i.e. early morning hours).
It is normal for people to experience occasional nightmares. However, if nightmares are causing a loss of sleep—either because you develop anxiety that keeps you from falling asleep or because you cannot fall back to sleep after a nightmare—you should seek medical help. A sleep specialist can determine if you have nightmare disorder based on a sleep study.
Nightmare disorder may be caused or worsened by another sleep disorder or other mental health condition, including PTSD. In many cases, treatment for nightmare disorder involves counseling and/or other trauma recovery methods. Stress management may also be effective.
If you suffer from frequent nightmares, Dr. Senthil Ramasamy, board-certified sleep specialist at Neurology & Sleep Medicine can help. Dr. Ramasamy meets with every patient and listens to your symptoms and takes a thorough medical history. He will determine if you need a sleep study and/or if other medical tests may be necessary. He helps you understand your treatment options and find the right strategies that will help you get better rest.
Contact us to schedule an initial consultation today.