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Seen At 11: Chronic Nightmares Could Be A Sign Of Serious Health Problems

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CBS New York (con't)

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NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A good night’s sleep is vital for good health, but sometimes bad dreams and nightmares can interfere with a solid night of shut-eye.

Migdalia Ramlogan has been plagued by terrifying dreams for years.

“The nightmares come like three or four times a week. It’s scary because I can’t sleep at night,” she said, “I wake up crying in the middle of the night.”

Now, she is desperate for help.

As CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois reported, Ramlogan is being treated by Dr. Daniel Erichson at the Sleep Center at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

“A patient that has very bad nightmares, they become stressed and anxious during the day and then they try to avoid sleep and become insomniacs so they sleep even less,” Dr. Erichson explained.

After performing a series of tests, Dr. Erichson determined that Ramlogan has an underlying breathing problem.

It may sound surprising, but common conditions like sleep apnea have been known to trigger nightmares. Nearly 10 percent of adults suffer from chronic nightmares and wake up terrorized at least once a week, according to experts.

“They can have a REM sleep disorder that’s associated with the nightmares, but there can be other medical problems that cause nightmares,” Dr. Eric Hollander, a psychiatrist, explained.

Certain medications can cause troubling dreams, and trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder can also play a role, Dr. Hollander added.

The problem needs to be addressed before it turns into a daytime health issue.

“If you have a lot of anxiety associated with nightmares, that can spill over so you can have chronic anxiety or panic attacks sometimes during the day,” he said.

Anyone suffering from chronic nightmares or other sleep disorders should speak to their doctor. There are a number of treatments available including a variety of therapies and medication.

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