Not getting enough sleep can affect anyone’s mood, making you irritable, anxious, or even cranky. After enough time goes by, the lack of a good night’s sleep can negatively impact your overall quality of life. But did you know that obstructive sleep apnea can affect more than that? Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, can be brought on or heightened by sleep apnea.
To better understand the link between obstructive sleep apnea and mood disorders, ApneaMed explains what sleep apnea is and uncovers the findings from a recent study by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes the soft tissues in an individual’s airway to collapse during the night, causing a blockage. As a result, the individual stops experiencing repeated cessations in breathing that cause them to choke, gasp, or snore — often going unnoticed by the patient. Because of the lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, sleep apnea often leads to additional health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
A recent study has found that those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea have a higher chance of being diagnosed with depression, bipolar, or anxiety.
Sleep Apnea & Mood Disorders
Over nine years, researchers looked at a group of 958 participants who had not been diagnosed with a mood disorder such as anxiety or depression — 197 of which have obstructive sleep apnea.
Throughout the study, those diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea were nearly three times as likely to be affected by depression and twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety when compared to the individuals in the control group. Additionally, women with sleep apnea were more commonly diagnosed with mood disorders than men in the study.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that patients dealing with significant depressive symptoms were able to see a decrease in symptoms following treatment with correct CPAP therapy. In only three months, 96% of patients reported improvement in their mental health and reduced thoughts of suicide.
While the findings clarify that individuals with sleep apnea are more likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder, the association’s cause is still unknown. Similarly, it is yet to be determined if positive airway pressure devices commonly used to treat sleep apnea would reduce the risk of being diagnosed with a mood disorder.
Get Tested for Sleep Apnea with ApneaMed
If you’re having difficulty getting a good night’s rest and, as a result, your mood has been all over the place; it’s time to consider getting tested for obstructive sleep apnea. For a convenient and affordable option, ApneaMed offers a home sleep study that can be self-administered in the comfort of your own home — saving you both time and money.
With a home sleep study, the test is delivered directly to your front door to administer it yourself. During the night, the device will monitor and record your blood oxygen levels, blood oxygen saturation, breathing and heart rates, and more to gather important information that one of ApneaMed’s board-certified sleep physicians can review. If diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, it’s recommended that your healthcare provider looks for signs that may indicate you also have anxiety and depressive disorders.
Although treatment for obstructive sleep apnea hasn’t been proven to treat mood disorders simultaneously, your sleep apnea must be adequately treated — allowing you to get a good night’s sleep.
The most common form of sleep apnea treatment is AutoPAP therapy. An AutoPAP machine offers both a continuous mode (otherwise known as CPAP) and an auto-adjusting mode, allowing you to determine which feels best for you. The auto-adjusting mode ensures you receive the ideal air pressure throughout the entire night, no matter the sleep stage or position you’re sleeping in.
ApneaMed offers various home sleep tests and in-home breathing equipment to help you treat your obstructive sleep apnea and reduce the risk of mood disorders, including bipolar, anxiety, and depression. Contact our team to learn more.