It’s been a matter of great discussion about whether people can snore and dream at the same time. If you check the internet sources, you’ll find that the community is very much divided on this subject.
However, while there are no scientific facts that can fully support either theory, it seems as though the answer to this question is – no.
Why Do We Snore
While people tend to be embarrassed about it, a surprisingly high portion of the population snores. Around half of the adults in the USA snore occasionally.
Several factors determine whether you keep your partner up at night with your snoring or not. The hoarse sound of snoring can be quite annoying, and it’s caused by the airflow that leads to tissue vibrations in our throats.
Causes of Snoring
We all snore from time to time, but chronic snoring can be a real problem. Chronic snoring can be caused by:
- Regular alcohol consumption
- Dry air and dusty environment
- Weight gain or excess weight
- Aging that diminishes the muscle tone
- Medication meant to relax the muscles
- Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders
- Sleep apnea
Since there are so many causes of snoring, it’s no wonder that the “snoring community” is so large. However, there is some good news – you usually can’t snore while you dream, because snoring is less likely to occur during the REM phase of your sleep, and that’s when dreaming occurs. That’s great if your partner has sensitive ears and is a light sleeper.
It’s important to remember that snoring and dreaming are two separate activities. Even though they both occur during sleep, they can’t happen at the same time. But, why is that?
When Do We Dream? – Sleep Stages and Dreaming
There are five stages of sleep, or better said, four stages and the REM phase. REM or rapid eye movement phase is the last phase in the sleep cycle.
The first stage of the sleep cycle is the light sleep stage. In it, you drift off to sleep, and your eyes move slowly, but you can easily be awoken. You can also feel muscle contractions in this stage. They are sudden, and often leave us with a feeling of falling.
The second stage of sleep is when your brain waves are slowing down, and your temperature drops. In this stage, your body is preparing for phases three and four— the deep sleep.
The Deep Sleep
Snoring occurs when we are in the deep sleep stages. What’s more, these are the stages in which night terrors, sleepwalking, and sleep talking can happen as well. When someone wakes us during the deep sleep stages, we often feel disoriented for a few minutes because of the slow brain activity.
After the deep sleep, we enter the REM stage. The brain activity and eye movements are intense during this stage. Furthermore, more often than not, this is the part of the sleep cycle when dreams occur.
In the REM stage, our brain is active almost as much as when we are awake. That might explain why snoring and dreaming don’t occur at the same time.
Can You Snore and Dream at the Same Time
During the four non-REM stages of the sleep cycle, our bodies are completely relaxed. Given that muscles have to be loosened for the airflow to cause the vibrations that lead to the throaty sound we call snoring, it’s no wonder why snoring occurs during these stages.
Contrary to that, the REM phase, being at the end of the sleep cycle, leaves your entire body and muscles in a state of slight tension. Therefore, the tissues in your throat can’t become loose enough for the airflow to cause vibrations. That is why most people believe that you can’t snore and dream at the same time.
Snoring And Dreaming — Not Mutually Exclusive?
People with chronic snoring conditions often report that their own snoring woke them up from a dream. Furthermore, there is a significant number of people who claim that they snore throughout the night. Does that mean that they don’t enter the REM phase of the sleep cycle and, therefore, don’t dream?
No, of course not. Dreaming and snoring aren’t always mutually exclusive. Let’s take snoring caused by sleep apnea as an example. It’s a medical condition that causes snoring that has nothing to do with the loosening of throat muscles which is the typical cause of snoring. Therefore, it’s possible that people suffering from sleep apnea snore all night, even during their REM phases. So, theoretically, they can snore and dream at the same time.
Dreaming and snoring occur as separate activities more often than not. However, they aren’t as mutually exclusive as some would like to think.
Either way, snoring is a condition that can cause a whole array of problems. Furthermore, it can also be a good indicator of an underlying illness or a condition you didn’t know about. Not to mention that it isn’t a great experience for your partner or family members that are light sleepers. Therefore, it’s always best to see if there’s anything you can do about snoring so both you and people around you can get a good, uninterrupted night’s sleep.