The Damaging Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Nearly 22 million Americans are affected by sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder that causes frequent disruptions each night due to a blockage of the airway. This prompts your brain to signal your body to awaken and gasp for air.
Though most patients don’t recall waking up, this recurring disturbance can impact your ability to get a good night’s rest. Losing sleep often leads to irritability and fatigue the next day, making it hard to function normally. This can be detrimental to both your mental and physical health.
Connecting Sleep and Mental Health
Waking up throughout the night interrupts your REM sleep cycle, the stage of sleep when your brain sends messages to your body for processing. This cycle is necessary to properly process thoughts, emotions, and actions.
When your REM is interrupted, a chemical imbalance in your brain is triggered, which may generate mental health issues. Persistent sleep deprivation from sleep apnea can take a toll on your everyday state of mind, as well as influence the following psychological symptoms.
Lack of sleep can impair your ability to remember past, present, and future events. Since the brain isn’t able to process events thoroughly, it’s likely you’ll have difficulty recollecting memories. This may include a grocery list, previous conversations, important dates, and more.
Trouble Managing Emotions
During REM sleep, your brain releases emotion-regulating chemicals that help you stay calm and collected throughout the day. Sleep deprivation may cause you to feel more emotional or irritable, making it difficult to control your feelings.
Anxiety, Depression, & More
Research has shown a strong correlation between depression and sleep apnea. It’s common for patients with depression to experience sleeping problems, which can increase the risk of heart disease.
Generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bipolar disorder are among the handful of other mental health disorders also associated with sleep apnea.
Don’t Wait to Seek Treatment
It’s important to seek sleep apnea treatment to help relieve symptoms and make other conditions easier to manage. If you’re feeling regularly fatigued and are experiencing mental health problems, you may be suffering from sleep apnea.
Give us a call at (626) 513-4987 to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Guinn. She’ll evaluate your symptoms and may suggest taking a sleep test to better decide on the best treatment for your unique condition.