We all know the hallmarks of a cranky toddler who didn't get their nap or the moodiness we feel when we haven't gotten a good night's sleep. There's no denying there is a correlation between sleep and our mental well-being.
But can suffering with sleep apnea actually cause depression? Well, let's take a look at all the ways they overlap...
Can Sleep Apnea Cause Mental Problems?
Symptoms of sleep apnea and depression can definitely mirror one another - restlessness, irritability, fatigue, headaches, sleep disturbances - yet it's not completely accurate to say sleep apnea causes depression.
These disorders do go hand-in-hand, and one can certainly have a lot of influence on the other. For example, you can feel anxious and depressed from not getting restful sleep and can have difficulty sleeping from being anxious and depressed. It sounds a lot like the proverbial chicken or the egg. But we do know that sleep is paramount to both our physical health and our mental health.
Those who suffer from insomnia or have trouble sleeping are often prescribed sedatives to solve their issues. However, in the case of sleep apnea or snoring, the real problem may lie in their airway, which continues to disrupt their ability to sleep well. If this is the case, these medications may be causing more harm than good.
You can throw all the medications at someone you want, but it will not improve their sleep quality or help their feelings of depression if you don't address the root cause of their sleep issue. It's imperative that someone suffering from depression gets truly restful, quality sleep.
The Relationship Between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Anxiety
Essentially when you fall asleep with sleep apnea, your body is suffocating itself -- your airway relaxes and collapses, shutting down your only way to take a breath. This makes your brain go into turbo survival mode. Each night, it literally has to fight to keep you alive. It has to stay on high alert as it attempts to prevent your body from strangling itself.
When your brain is in this constant state of alertness, it can lead to feelings of fear and anxiety in the daytime. This state could be the reason you find yourself feeling nervous, easily agitated, and filled with intrusive thoughts.
Breathing Better Means Feeling Better - Mentally AND Physically
When you really stop and think about it, it's no surprise that someone suffering with an obstructed and constricted airway would be feeling these mental side effects. The brain fog, the nervousness, the irritability… The brain and the body are constantly flagging each other when something's not functioning the way it's meant to.
This is why we strongly believe in correcting the broken airway. Many people who previously experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety have since reported an improvement in their mental health since addressing the root cause of their sleeping issues. It's not just about breathing better - it's about living better.
Find out now how our non-invasive, in-office procedures can help. Book your appointment at an ADVENT ENT Clinic and we will guide you down the path to a more well-rested body AND mind.