5 Healthy Reasons to Take a Nap 


5 Healthy Reasons to Take a Nap 

5 Healthy Reasons to Take a Nap 

Posted on Wednesday, September 15th, 2021 at 6:42 pm    

We’ve been conditioned to think that after a certain age, it’s no longer cool or necessary to take a nap. In reality, there are several reasons why it is perfectly fine, even healthy, to take a little cat nap in the afternoon. Consider these napping benefits:

Sharpen Your Mind

Studies have found that napping can sharpen the brain by helping it interpret information better. It may also help the brain function more efficiently. Napping can reduce the level of a chemical in the brain called adenosine. This neurotransmitter helps play a role in cognition.

Boost Memory

Napping may also help people who are learning new information better retain that information. Studies suggest that naps can help with memory consolidation. Memory consolidation is a process wherein the brain turns information into long-term memories.

Improve Immunity

A short nap may help boost the body’s immune system. Napping may help reduce stress and the levels of inflammatory cytokines and norepinephrine in the body. Studies suggest that reducing these chemicals with a nap may help restore balance to the immune system.

Help Prevent Heart Disease

A more robust immune system isn’t the only benefit of a stress-busting nap. Research shows that napping may also help decrease a person’s risk of developing heart disease.

Enhance Performance

Studies also indicate that napping may help boost productivity and work performance. Napping may give some workers an edge during the work-day and could lead to performance advantages.

 Other benefits associated with napping include:

  • Reduced sleepiness
  • Regulating emotions
  • Improving creativity
  • Increasing alertness
  • Relaxation

While there are benefits to taking a nap, how do you incorporate one into your daily routine? For a successful nap, consider these tips:

  • Don’t sleep too late into the day
  • Set an alarm
  • Create a comfortable environment
  • Consider a sleep mask or noise-canceling headphones
  • Practice relaxation techniques

To gain the health benefits a nap has to offer, it is also crucial to consider the length of the nap itself. A nap that is too short may not give a person healthy benefits. Napping for too long may throw off a person’s evening sleep routine and leave them feeling groggy. The ideal nap length is generally between 10 and 20 minutes. These so-called “power naps” offer people recovery benefits without leaving them feeling tired.

Why Am I So Tired?

Napping can have a very positive impact on a person’s physical and mental health. However, it is also vital to consider why a person may need a nap in the first place. If you feel exhausted and constantly run-down, there may be an underlying problem that needs to be addressed that a mid-day nap can’t fix.

Do you suffer from any of the following symptoms, and do any of them make it difficult for you to sleep?

  • Snoring
  • Partner complaining that you snore
  • Waking up with a dry or sore throat
  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Waking up at night gasping for air
  • Headaches

These symptoms may indicate a deeper problem like sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder that can significantly impact a person’s overall health and wellbeing. Although there are different types of sleep apnea, the condition generally causes an interruption to a person’s breathing while they are asleep. Incorporating a nap into an individual’s daily routine will help, but ultimately the underlying problem needs to be solved.

If you feel like you can’t function without an afternoon nap or have problems getting to sleep or staying asleep at night, you may have an undiagnosed sleep disorder. The staff at Silent Night Therapy understand the detrimental effects of not getting enough sleep. Our experienced team can help you get to the root of your problem and offer you a variety of treatment options. Get started living your best life and contact us today or call our office at 631-983-2463 for a complimentary sleep consultation.

What Sleeping in on the Weekends Means for Your Health

Posted on Monday, September 6th, 2021 at 11:39 pm    

Most people look forward to sleeping in on Saturday after finishing a long and exhausting week of work. You might think you can “catch up” on the sleep you didn’t get earlier in the week by sleeping in on the weekends. However, this need to sleep for longer could indicate a serious problem. If you don’t feel rested after getting the recommended number of hours of sleep, it might be because you’re experiencing interrupted sleep due to a sleep-related disorder, such as sleep apnea.

Research has shown that maintaining a consistent and deep sleep state every night improves heart health, cognitive functioning, and a range of other benefits. Unfortunately, most people admit that they don’t get the shut-eye they need to function at full physical and mental capacity. Additionally, some don’t follow a regular schedule, meaning they don’t go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This can throw off your circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal clock that determines when a person feels alert or tired.

Signs You’re Not Getting the Sleep You Need

Your body will tell you if you don’t get a good night’s sleep. The most common signs include:

  • Acne
  • Bags, dark circles, and puffy eyes
  • Weight gain
  • Craving unhealthy foods
  • Increased caffeine intake
  • Irritability
  • New or worsening depression
  • Trouble with memory and concentration
  • Waking up with a dry mouth, headache, or sore throat
  • Compromised immune system

If you regularly suffer from these symptoms, there are some easy solutions that could help. Create a schedule, so you go to bed at the same time every night and wake up to an alarm at the same time every morning. Make sure it’s completely dark in your bedroom, so your brain doesn’t confuse daylight with your alarm clock or a streetlight outside.

If necessary, buy blackout curtains for your windows, keep your bedroom door closed, and turn off your phone notifications, so it doesn’t light up in the middle of the night. You might also need to make an appointment with your doctor if at-home remedies don’t seem to help. A lack of sleep can indicate a medical condition, such as sleep apnea.

The Link Between Poor Sleep and Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that causes you to start and stop breathing throughout the night while you’re sleeping. Although several types of sleep apnea exist, the most common is obstructive sleep apnea.

One of the major warning signs that you suffer from this condition is snoring. Other symptoms can include:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Headaches in the morning
  • High blood pressure
  • Waking up abruptly combined with choking or gasping for air
  • Sore throat or dry mouth
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in mood

Disrupted breathing while you sleep means your body wakes you up often throughout the night. You might not even realize it’s happening and only find out about this issue from a partner. Constant sleep interruptions mean you’re not getting the rest you need at night, leaving you feeling fatigued during the day. Fortunately, there are treatment options.

Trouble Sleeping? Sleep Apnea Might Be the Culprit

Silent Night Therapy has experience diagnosing and treating sleep-related issues. If you’re waking up feeling sluggish and unrested, sleep apnea could be to blame. Call us today at 631-983-2463 for a free consultation to determine whether you’re suffering from sleep apnea and learn about the available treatment options.

Suspect You Have Sleep Apnea? How to Get Diagnosed

Posted on Sunday, August 22nd, 2021 at 3:56 pm    

They say that the first step to solving any problem is to admit that you have a problem. Maybe you are always tired, feeling run-down, and are becoming more and more cranky. Sometimes one cup of coffee in the morning just doesn’t seem like enough. In the back of your brain, you may already have an inkling that something just isn’t right, but what? It may be time to take a step back and examine how you sleep.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Studies report that as many as 18 million people may suffer from a sleep condition known as sleep apnea. However, about 80 percent of those people are undiagnosed. That means you may be living with a serious sleep condition and not even know it.

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to breathe abnormally while they sleep. Although there are several different types of sleep apnea, in general, sleep apnea causes a person to stop breathing temporarily. When the person stops breathing, they wake up suddenly because their body detects a diminished oxygen supply. Sleep apnea needs to be taken seriously because, in addition to preventing a restful night’s sleep, it can also result in other significant health complications.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Step one on your way to a diagnosis is to recognize that you have a problem. If you think your current issues may be sleep-related, see if you have any of these classic sleep apnea symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty thinking or focusing
  • Sore throat first thing in the morning
  • Snoring or your partner complains that you are snoring

The Diagnosis

You’ve discovered that you have symptoms that align with sleep apnea, so what’s next? It is time to talk to a sleep expert. Document your symptoms, prepare a list of questions, and schedule an appointment with a physician that specializes in sleep. A physician can listen to your concerns, rule out other possibilities, and may wish to schedule you for a sleep study.

Some cases of sleep apnea can be diagnosed with an at-home sleep test. An at-home sleep test involves being prescribed a special device that you take home with you. It measures your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and body movements while you sleep. The doctor can then review the information from the machine to determine if sleep apnea is the appropriate diagnosis.

In some cases, a doctor may wish to conduct a sleep study, or nocturnal polysomnography, in the office. A nocturnal polysomnography study will measure many of the same elements, but it will be administered in a comfortable sleep-office setting where practitioners can examine your symptoms in real-time while you sleep. In either case, the data that is gathered can be crucial to diagnosing a patient correctly, especially because there are different types of sleep apnea that an individual may have.

If you are having problems with the quality of your sleep or suspect that you may have sleep apnea, contact Silent Night Therapy for help. Don’t rely on a self-diagnosis. Talk to a sleep professional who can use technology and the latest medical advances to help you reach an accurate diagnosis. Start your journey to better sleep today by calling 631-983-2463 or scheduling a complimentary sleep consultation.

Why Can’t I Sleep?

Posted on Monday, August 2nd, 2021 at 3:56 pm    

Sleep is an important part of everyone’s life. Your body needs to rest and reset so you can remain focused during the day and prevent a range of health problems. Unfortunately, many people don’t get the recommended hours of sleep because of sleep apnea, insomnia, and other sleep-related conditions.

Even if you get enough hours of sleep but still wake up feeling tired, you might have an underlying condition that prevents your body from reaching a deep enough sleep to recharge your batteries, so you feel energized.

Fortunately, there are solutions you can turn to so you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night. Some are natural remedies and lifestyle changes. Others require treatment from a healthcare professional. Diagnosing the cause of your tiredness is crucial to determine the available options and resolve your daytime fatigue.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder affecting around 22 million people in the United States. It causes a person’s breathing to stop and start throughout the night repeatedly. Anything that disrupts your normal breathing can wake you up. Once you’re awake, you might have trouble falling back asleep.

You can make an appointment with your doctor to determine if this is why you’re not sleeping soundly.

Try These Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

If you’re one of the many people who have insomnia, the way you spend your day could be the culprit. Many people don’t realize the impact their daily activities have on getting a good night’s rest. Making even minor adjustments could drastically change how much sleep you get every night and positively affect your mind and mood.

Comfortable Bed

Sleeping well starts with the right bed. It shouldn’t only be comfortable but should also have the correct firmness to suit your body. Some people need a hard mattress due to back issues. Others prefer a softer bed. Find the mattress that works for you so you don’t toss and turn all night while you try to get comfortable.

You also need a pillow that supports your neck and keeps your spine aligned. There are many pillows on the market that can keep you from waking up with a stiff neck or sore back. Investing in the right one means you can avoid any unnecessary pain at night.

Dark and Quiet Room

One common culprit of a poor night’s sleep is falling asleep while watching tv. You might like having background noise, but the sound and flickering light can interfere with your circadian rhythm. Your body might think it’s time to wake up. Spending time on your computer, phone, or tablet just before bedtime can also prevent your brain from preparing to shut down for the night.

Begin a new nighttime routine by putting your devices away and preparing your body for sleep. Read a boring magazine or book, perform a tedious task, or lie down in bed and focus on your breathing. Whatever you do, make sure it keeps you calm and doesn’t get your heart racing.

Reduce Anxiety and Stress

A lot of people can’t fall asleep because of the daily stressors in their lives. Jobs, families, and other responsibilities can cause your mind to race at night when all you want to do is fall asleep. Practicing different relaxation methods and breathing exercises could help you clear your mind.

Try meditating as part of your bedtime routine or practice controlled breathing by inhaling and exhaling slowly. If you have a busy day ahead of you, put it out of your mind by writing a list of the tasks you need to complete so you’re not thinking about it while you’re trying to fall asleep.

Contact Silent Night Therapy

If you’re suffering from sleep apnea or another sleep-related disorder, do not hesitate to contact Silent Night Therapy. Our team can diagnose your medical condition and provide a customized solution for a complete and better night’s sleep.

Call us at 631-983-2463 for a complimentary consultation.

How a Home Sleep Study Works 

Posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 at 8:03 pm    

The American Sleep Association estimates that between 50 and 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder. That’s a lot of Americans with problems getting rest. Other medical studies suggest that sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea while impacting 20 percent of U.S. adults, go undiagnosed in almost 90 percent of patients.

Unfortunately for many adults, problems getting a quality night’s sleep are often chalked up to stress and anxiety. Feeling tired throughout the day or not waking up refreshed after a night’s sleep are solved by chugging another cup of coffee in the morning or downing an energy drink mid-day. People may not realize that a sleep disorder could be impacting the quality of their sleep and their overall health. However, there is a way to help determine if an undiagnosed sleep disorder is to blame, and it starts with an at-home sleep study.

What Is an At-Home Sleep Study?

An at-home sleep study or an at-home sleep test is a diagnostic tool that a physician may employ to help diagnose sleep disorders or disturbances. In many cases, an at-home sleep study is used to determine if an individual is suffering from obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. Sleep apnea is a term used to describe several conditions that result when a person stops breathing during the night. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when an individual’s airway becomes blocked, or obstructed, stopping the flow of air. OSA can cause a person to move out of the deep sleep phase or wake them up entirely.

An at-home sleep test requires a portable device that should be approved by your physician. There is no need for an overnight visit to a sleep clinic. The test can be taken in the comfort of a person’s own home. While there are different models and types of equipment, basically, a portable sleep test device is a compact breathing monitor that will measure an individual’s breathing, oxygen levels, and breathing effort while they sleep. The machine gathers the information, and then a physician will examine the data and use it to make a diagnosis or decide to conduct a more in-depth study.

How to Prepare for an At-Home Sleep Study

First and foremost, follow all your physicians’ instructions carefully. If you are already feeling tired and need an afternoon pick-me-up, avoid caffeine. Do not have a drink with dinner and avoid the temptation to take a little afternoon catnap. All these things can interfere with your sleep and impact the quality of your at-home sleep test.

Depending on your doctor’s instructions, you may need to conduct the test for as many as three consecutive nights. Make sure that you go to bed at your usual time and don’t make any sudden or drastic changes to your bedtime routine. Apply the equipment as directed. If something happens that wakes you up, such as a sick child coming into your bedroom or a fire alarm going off, make a note of it and share the information with your doctor.

An at-home sleep test is a convenient and often less stressful way to help your doctor get to the bottom of your sleep issues. At Silent Night Therapy, we are deeply committed to helping patients explore their problems and find ways to get the rest they deserve.

Tired, cranky, or feeling sleep-deprived? Silent Night Therapy offers at-home sleep tests, so if you feel that you might have sleep apnea, call us and set up an appointment today!


Nocturnal Teeth Grinding Linked to Sleep Apnea 

Posted on Wednesday, July 7th, 2021 at 6:57 pm    

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is characterized by periods where an individual’s breathing randomly stops and then starts back up again. There are different classifications of sleep apnea, the most common being obstructive sleep apnea. Other sleep apnea disorders include central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Although there are different sleep apnea disorders, in general, most cases of sleep apnea result in a person’s breathing repeatedly stopping and starting again through the night. This disruption in breathing can wake a person up multiple times during the night, cause them to choke or gasp suddenly, and generally prevents them from getting a full and healthy night’s sleep.

While the major complaint about sleep apnea is that an individual feels fatigued the next day, the condition can trigger must more significant health problems. Sleep apnea is linked to low blood oxygen levels, high blood pressure, and heart problems. The condition can also increase a person’s risk for developing diabetes, eye problems such as glaucoma, and certain metabolic syndromes. In short, sleep apnea is more than just not getting a good night’s sleep. It is a disorder that needs to be taken seriously and treated immediately.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when there is some type of blockage obstructing an individual’s airway. This blockage could be a result of a deviated septum in the nose or the relaxation of certain throat muscles. The most common sign of sleep apnea is snoring. Other signs include:

  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Gasping
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Morning headaches
  • Changes in mood or irritability
  • Nighttime sweating
  • Observed periods of breathing that stops (could be caught by the individual or their partner)
  • Decreased libido

Another less talked about symptom of sleep apnea is teeth grinding. Many people don’t associate grinding their teeth with sleep apnea, which can mean that the condition goes undiagnosed. The Sleep Foundation reports that there may be a link between obstructive sleep apnea and a condition known as bruxism, or teeth grinding.

Teeth Grinding and Sleep Apnea

Some medical studies have closely examined the possible connection between sleep apnea and teeth grinding. While there seems to be a correlation between the two conditions, there is still no clear explanation for why teeth grinding and sleep apnea are linked. One of the most prominent theories about the connection between the conditions is that sleep apnea triggers bruxism. It is hypothesized that when an airway becomes obstructed, the muscles in the mouth and jaw move to try and reopen the blocked airway. This muscle movement may trigger teeth grinding.

Another possibility is that clenching and grinding may help to lubricate the tissues of the mouth and the back of the throat, which become dried out due to sleep apnea. Other theories indicate that the anxiety and stress that the body undergoes when it stops breathing may cause the body to inadvertently clench or grind.

Signs of Bruxism

Some of the most classic signs that you may be a “teeth grinder” include:

  • Tooth pain
  • Fractured, chipped, or loose teeth
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Jaw pain
  • Facial pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Popping or pain in the jaw joint or temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Other sleep disturbances

If you have any of these issues, know you are a teeth grinder or have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it is time to talk to a professional. The New York OSA experts of Silent Night Therapy are a dedicated sleep team that can review your symptoms and direct you toward the right diagnosis and treatment for your condition.

You don’t have to live in pain or feel like you’ve been drained of energy before your day has even begun. Call us today at 631-983-2463, and let’s work together to get you a better night’s sleep.


Is there a pill that can treat sleep apnea?

Posted on Thursday, July 1st, 2021 at 9:46 pm    

Pill For SleepapneaMore than 22 million Americans live with sleep apnea. Of those people, it is estimated that 80% of those people are undiagnosed. Further, for the 20% who are diagnosed, many do not treat their sleep apnea properly. It is clearly evident that an easy to use and accessible solution is needed to help these sleep apnea patients.

Sleep apnea can lead to many health risks. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to strain on your heart and cause high blood pressure and enlargement of your heart. Sleep apnea also reduces the quality of sleep you’re getting every night, leaving you drowsy and irritable during the day. It could potentially put you at risk for accidents when driving, working, or operating heavy machinery. It is crucial to treat sleep apnea so that you can prevent these issues.

The “gold standard” for treating sleep apnea is the CPAP device. Though the CPAP is effective, it is unfortunately not the right solution for everyone. Many patients who have been prescribed a CPAP device find it intolerable to use and simply don’t use it at all, which leaves their sleep apnea untreated. Sleep apnea patients may be desperate for a solution that doesn’t involve an uncomfortable, bulky, and noisy machine. This has led to discussion about the possibility of a pill that can treat sleep apnea. Is a pill the right solution to treat sleep apnea? So far, research suggests that the answer is no.

Medications like benzodiazepines can treat sleep apnea, but they are rarely recommended by doctors. In a world that treats so many health conditions and diseases with medications, this may seem surprising, but benzodiazepines merely relax the airway tissues in your throat. This is not generally helpful because obstructive sleep apnea is most often caused by airway blockages that result because of relaxed tissues in your throat, so a medication to further relax your throat isn’t going to help the situation. Unfortunately, a pill is most likely not the right solution to treat your sleep apnea.

So there’s no magic pill to treat your sleep apnea, and your CPAP machine is absolutely intolerable to sleep with. What does that leave you with? Oral appliance therapy! This treatment is the perfect solution for patients with obstructive sleep apnea who cannot tolerate their CPAP device. It is a custom fitted mouth guard that works with the muscles in your mouth and throat to prevent blockages and reduce instances of apnea. There is no face mask, oxygen tube, or bulky machine to deal with. Just a small mouth guard that will help you get the amazing night’s sleep you’ve been dreaming of!

If you’re looking for a better solution to treat your sleep apnea, you’ve come to the right place! Give us a call at 631-983-2463 to learn how we can help.

RECALL ALERT: Phillips recalls CPAP machines over cancer risk

Posted on Tuesday, June 29th, 2021 at 3:42 pm    

Shutterstock 1125574835If you are currently using a CPAP machine to treat your sleep apnea, please check the brand as soon as possible. If your machine is made by Phillips, your device may have been recalled for safety concerns.

Recently Phillips announced that it is recalling sleep apnea machines and ventilators because they contain a foam that may cause cancer or other health issues. Millions of the Philips Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure (Bi-Level PAP), Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), and mechanical ventilator devices have been immediately recalled. The defect is due to the polyester-based foam which deadens the sound emitted by the machine. Phillips has reported that the foam can degrade over time and cause irritation, headaches, asthma, and toxic carcinogens.

Most people living with sleep apnea use a CPAP machine, but they are not the right answer for many people. It’s been estimated that less than 50% of those prescribed a CPAP device actually wear them as prescribed. In light of this recall, we invite you to learn more about an alternative solution – Oral Appliance Therapy! At Silent Night Therapy, we will custom fit you for an Oral Appliance that will treat your sleep apnea just as well as your CPAP. This comfortable appliance does not need to be plugged in, nor does it take up nearly as much space as the traditional CPAP machine.

Learn all about the different Oral Appliances that we offer at Silent Night Therapy here and be sure to call us at 631-983-2463 to learn how we can help. There’s no need to worry about whether a replacement CPAP machine will threaten your health. You don’t need to suffer with an uncomfortable CPAP or wonder what to do in the event of a power outage when your CPAP doesn’t work. There is another solution, and we’re ready to show you how an Oral Appliance can change how you sleep for the better!

Everything You Need to Know About Sleep Drunkenness

Posted on Saturday, June 26th, 2021 at 9:52 pm    

Shutterstock 342850058It’s a common scene: you wake from a night of sleep but find yourself disoriented, unable to focus or process anything going on around you for the first few minutes after waking. Friends or family try to speak to you and pull you out of the half-asleep state, but it takes several minutes for you to realize that your body is up and moving around while your mind is decidedly not.

You’ve just experienced confusional arousal, or sleep drunkenness, a sleep disorder that affects about 15% of children and adults, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It’s characterized by having difficulty reaching a fully wakeful state until several minutes after waking up. Your body is able to move around normally, but you may be agitated, respond strangely to outside stimuli, answer questions bluntly, and not remember anything you say or do during this period when you are fully awake. The effects can last from a few minutes to upwards of 40 minutes.

Confusional arousal is a type of parasomnia, a sleep disorder that involves unusual physical events or experiences that disrupt sleep. You are essentially still asleep, but your body doesn’t know it. Your brain doesn’t fully make the transition from sleeping to waking, but you can still walk, talk, and respond to stimuli, albeit in a strange manner. You may talk to yourself or others, answer questions with nonsense, or stare off into space.

Sleep drunkenness is not particularly dangerous unless it occurs regularly or you injure yourself or someone else. Some people may react aggressively or even violently if they are sleep drunk. If you find yourself experiencing sleep drunkenness frequently, you may need a sleep study to determine the cause and how to remedy it.

There are many causes for sleep drunkenness, including:

  • Stress
  • Insomnia
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Mental disorder
  • Other sleep disorder
  • Medication
  • Circadian rhythm disruption, such as night shift work

Absent any other actual cause, sleep drunkenness can still occur simply from not getting enough sleep.

Diagnosing sleep drunkenness can be difficult because most people don’t know they have the disorder unless family members or their partner tells them they do, and most people who have the disorder don’t remember the episodes. Episodes can be infrequent and may not have an exact cause. If you think you have regular sleep drunkenness episodes, you should talk to your doctor about ways to track down why they’re happening.

Your doctor might recommend a sleep diary to maintain an accurate record of your sleep habits. A sleep diary is a record of when you go to bed, when you wake in the morning, and any instances of wakefulness during the night, as well as any risk factors like alcohol or caffeine intake. Your doctor may also ask about any health conditions or medication you’re taking or ask you to come in for a sleep study so they can fully monitor your sleep.

If you have regular sleep drunkenness episodes, you may not be getting the sleep your body needs. Contact Silent Night Therapy today at 631-983-2463 for a consultation and let us help you get a good night’s sleep.

Does the Weirdness of Dreams Help Keep the Brain Flexible?

Posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2021 at 9:56 pm    

When the Covid-19 pandemic began, many people in isolation reported more frequent and vivid dreams. At Harvard Medical School, Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology, launched an online survey and discovered some common themes from participants. After reviewing the respondents’ answers, she noticed many dreams involved being stalked by an invisible monster and being chased by small insects.

Barrett discovered an increase in dreams associated with negative emotions, such as anxiety. Of the 2,888 people studied, she found that women showed higher rates of anger, anxiety, and sadness and lower rates of positive emotions in their dreams. There were also more references to death, health, and biological processes during these dreams than experienced before the pandemic started. Men also experienced higher rates of negative emotions in their dreams, but they weren’t as significant as those noted by women.

Dreams Often Reflect Conscious Thoughts and Feelings

Deirdre Barrett is the former president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. Her studies found a correlation between daytime thoughts and feelings and the feelings of fear or anxiousness during dreams. The emotions you experience while you’re awake will often translate to the scenarios you find yourselves in while you’re dreaming.

The early weeks of the pandemic contributed to many fear-based dreams, such as being chased by swarms of insects or monsters. However, when orders for people to stay home began, dreams involving loneliness and isolation started to occur.

For example, Barrett discovered common themes of solitary confinement, imprisonment, or becoming stranded in outer space. She also noticed that people living with roommates started dreaming about a lack of privacy or feeling crowded.

Dreams Could Be Beneficial to Brain Functioning

Research assistant professor of neuroscience Erik Hoel, Ph.D., from Tufts University believes the monotony of peoples’ lives during lockdown caused increased brain activity while sleeping. He explained that humans and other animals are at risk of becoming “overfitted” to the information they learn. That means they have a hard time generalizing the information they acquire for one task to other tasks.

Dr. Hoel believes that dreams are a way to improve flexibility in the brain. Flexibility can aid the process of generalizing specific knowledge for tasks during sleeping hours. If someone performs a mundane activity at work, they’re likely to have a dream involving the same type of mundane job. He hypothesized that many peoples’ dreams reflected their lives during the lockdown. It was a way for them to utilize their cognitive abilities while preventing an overfitted brain.

Contact Us

The team at Silent Night Therapy has extensive experience helping those with sleep-related issues find the right solution to their problems. We know that getting a good night’s sleep is beneficial to a person’s overall health. Sleep deprivation can impact brain functioning and affect your physical and emotional well-being.

Our experienced OSA specialists can evaluate your symptoms and determine if sleep apnea might be part of the problem. We’ll work to find a solution to improve your sleep quality so that you feel rested, energized, and focused during the day. Call us or reach out to us online for a consultation with our OSA experts now!