Many people don’t remember their dreams.

One reason may be due to sleep apnea.

Most people don’t know that dreaming and sleep apnea are interrelated. Dreams occur during the deep REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep cycle that’s vital to a person’s overall health. During REM phases, your eyes dart back and forth beneath your eyelids as if you were really looking at the things happening in your dreams. When a person has sleep apnea, the airway may be blocked hundreds of times each night – enough to disrupt deep sleep, but not enough to waken you.

Severe sleep apnea is treated using a CPAP device (pronounced see-pap –an acronym for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), in which a steady airflow keeps open the airway while you sleep. For less severe cases, Dr. Andrew Chase of ARCH Orthodontics, with 8 offices between Boston and Provincetown, prescribes a simpler alternative – an orthotic device similar to a custom mouth guard that holds the jaw in a forward position, decreasing the likelihood of the tongue blocking the airway.

ARCH’s Orthodontists assess and evaluate orthotic candidates. Treatment options and the appropriate choice depend on apnea severity. More serious sleep apnea patients are referred to neurologists, primary care doctors, ENTs or sleep specialists.  But for the right patients, the custom orthotic device is more comfortable than CPAP, less invasive, simpler to use, easier to clean, much less expensive, can be more effective, and may be covered by insurance. There’s a fee to examine and treat for sleep apnea, generally not covered by insurance.

Dr. Chase says, “If you aren’t getting 7 to 9 hours of seriously restful sleep every night, you may have sleep apnea.  The problem with sleep apnea is that it doesn’t just make you groggy. While the quantity of sleep is important, it’s the quality  that really counts. Most people with sleep apnea don’t know they have it; they think they got enough sleep, not realizing they may have had hundreds of REM cycle disruptive apneas (breathing pauses) during the night.” Left untreated, sleep apnea doesn’t only ruin a night’s sleep; it can lead to workplace or motor vehicle accidents, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, increased risk of diabetes — even death.

In addition to Orthodontic orthotics, ARCH Orthodontics is among the first in the region to offer the revolutionary behind-the-teeth BRIUS  system that, unlike traditional braces, requires no wire changes, shortens treatment time by up to 50 percent, eliminates most adjustment visits, allows for better oral hygiene, and  is completely hidden from view. The practice offers free initial Orthodontic patient consultation (a $500 value) and interest-free financing. Courtesy discounts are offered to patients serving in the military and their families and veterans, and to municipal employees and their families in towns served by the practice. To arrange an appointment:  / 781-209-6776. Visit .