Sleeping disturbances may take many forms: insomnia, waking throughout the night, vivid dreams, night terrors, snoring, apnoeas, waking feeling unrefreshed, daytime tiredness, bed-wetting. The way that you are breathing may well be affecting your sleep. Hyperventilation/ over-breathing, or 'dysfunctional /disordered' breathing may be implicated in all of the above situations.
Disturbed breathing and disturbed sleep go hand in hand.
Normal sleep is divided into five stages: Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4 and Rapid Eye Movement (REM). When we are chronically or habitually over breathing, or intermittently breathe dysfunctionally, our normal sleep patterns may become disturbed. Our bodies may primarily remain in Stages 1 & 2 - the lighter easily disturbed sleep, and it is difficult for the body to enter the deeper more restful Stages 3 & 4. The REM sleep achieved may become fragmented - the dreams that occur during this time tend to be vivid and chaotic.
Stages 3 & 4 sleep are important to the body for optimum functioning. For example, this is thought to be the time when many of the hormones and other chemicals produced by the body for everyday life are made. One of these hormones is ADH (Anti-Diuretic Hormone), which enables the body to concentrate the urine. People with sleep disordered breathing may often need to void urine more frequently than others and experience broken sleep due to nocturnal visits to the bathroom.
The Buteyko Institute Method of breathing training aims to normalise both daytime and night-time breathing. Improved sleep patterns are observed in many people.