Sleep Is Essential For a Healthy Mind and Body
If you’ve ever tossed and turned all night resulting in as little as two to three hours of sleep, then you know how difficult it can be to function the next day. You may find everyday tasks taking longer or becoming more difficult. This groggy feeling can be frustrating when trying to live your normal life.
Although people can still perform day to day tasks when they’re feeling tired, doctors recommend everyone should sleep 7-9 hours per night depending on their age.
If you constantly find yourself feeling fatigued throughout the day, there’s a chance you’re suffering from sleep apnea. This sleep disorder affects approximately 22 million Americans and can lead to both physical and mental health problems.
Sleep Apnea’s Effect On Your Brain
Sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction in the airway, which temporarily causes you to stop breathing and wake up from your sleep. People oftentimes suffer effects of sleep apnea multiple times a night, resulting in inconsistent sleep patterns.
While you’re sleeping, your brain sends messages to the rest of your body, creating different stages of sleep. These stages make up your REM cycle. During each stage of sleep, your brain naturally releases occurring chemicals to your body, which contribute to its different functions.
If you’re constantly waking up in the middle of your REM cycle due to sleep apnea, the process of releasing chemicals to your body can be hindered and cause a chemical imbalance in your brain. This imbalance can make you feel a variety of emotions, which sometimes leads to mental health issues.
Mental Health Disorders Caused by Sleep Apnea
Unfortunately, mental health disorders are common among millions of adults. The National Alliance of Mental Illness says that about 1 in 5 adults suffer from mental illnesses every year.
While everyone’s mental health is affected by different factors, sleep apnea has been found to be associated with the following disorders:
- Suicidal Thoughts
Finding Treatment to Restore Your Health
Sleep is vital to the body and its functionality. If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea symptoms, it’s crucial you seek professional help. After you visit your local physician for a sleep study, Dr. Katz can recommend a treatment plan to fit your needs.
If your mental illness persists after receiving sleep apnea treatment, your physician can recommend a therapist to diagnose and treat you properly.
Contact our team if you want to improve the health of your mind and body.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can sleep apnea worsen an existing mental health condition?
If you suffer from a mental health condition, living with untreated sleep apnea can lead to worsened symptoms and other negative outcomes. Quality sleep is an important component of mental wellness and healthy cognitive performance. Since sleep apnea can make it much more difficult to achieve the rejuvenating benefits of uninterrupted sleep, mental health can suffer and the symptoms of mental health conditions may worsen as a result.
Will treating my sleep apnea resolve my mental health issues?
Treating your sleep apnea can only fully resolve mental health issues that are caused solely by the breathing issues and diminished quality of your sleep. For patients with an existing mental health condition, treatment for sleep apnea will not represent a complete solution. However, addressing your sleep apnea symptoms may make it easier to isolate and treat the symptoms of a mental health condition by removing the secondary issue. In other cases, particularly with ADHD diagnoses, symptoms of a mental health disorder may actually be the result of unrecognized sleep apnea and are resolved by appropriate treatment.