Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep. Unfortunately, it can result in insomnia, fatigue, and headaches that can impact your day-to-day life. Why does sleep apnea cause mood disorders, such as depression? Read on to find out.
The Correlation Between Sleep Apnea and Depression
There’s a relationship between sleep and mood, and sleep deprivation and depression go hand in hand. Approximately 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and 15 million of them are also diagnosed with depression, according to the National Sleep Foundation. It’s essential to get around eight hours of sleep each night; not only will this keep fatigue at bay, but you will be in a better mood.
In today’s blog, we will discuss the symptoms of depression and sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Breathing cessation in the middle of your sleep
- Waking up abruptly and experiencing shortness of breath
- Having a hard time concentrating
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Waking up with headaches
- Sore throat or dry mouth in the morning
- Difficulty falling asleep
You won’t be able to tell if you have sleep apnea because you can’t keep track of your snoring. However, if you suspect you have it, your significant other or a family member can provide you with more information on your sleeping habits before you see a doctor.
Symptoms of Depression
The following are symptoms of depression:
- Irritability, frustration, and anger over minor issues
- Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Isolating yourself
- Changes in your eating habits (overeating or undereating)
- Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia
- Trouble concentrating
- Lack of interest
How Can I Cope?
As you can see, several symptoms of sleep apnea and depression overlap. The key to differential diagnosis is first to find out if you have sleep apnea, as it may be causing or aggravating your depression.
It’s best to make an appointment with your primary doctor. Depending on your diagnosis, they will refer you to a sleep clinic where you will have your sleep evaluated. However, if you don’t have sleep apnea, they can refer you to a therapist who can help you cope with your depression.
In some cases, sleep apnea treatment can help reduce depression symptoms. For the time being, you can use these methods to treat your conditions at home while you wait to see your doctor:
- Regular exercise: If you exercise multiple times a week, you will release endorphins, which can help reduce your depression symptoms.
- Sleeping on your side: When you sleep on your back, your tongue obstructs your airway. Try sleeping on your side instead.
- Reduce your alcohol intake: Habitual drinking tends to worsen depression and sleep apnea.
- Avoid sleeping pills: Sleeping pills do not affect sleep apnea, and they can amplify your depression.
A good night’s sleep isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. Getting better sleep will improve your overall quality of life.
Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah Can Help
If you were diagnosed with sleep apnea, you should consult with a dentist or oral surgeon immediately. Sleep apnea can lead to bruxism (teeth grinding), which wears down your teeth; this can result in other oral health problems. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can provide you with the care you need, and we’re more than happy to answer your questions. Schedule your free consultation today.