Depression – one of the hidden problems caused by sleep apnea
Problems associated with lack of sleep affect everyone regardless of age. We all know that lack of sleep causes irritability, anxiety, and sleepiness. Adults getting less than 7 hours of sleep every night have problems focusing on work, are less productive and are unable to meet life's challenges head-on. Children who wake without a good night's sleep perform worse in school and suffer from emotional adjustment problems.
Sleep apnea and depression have so many common symptoms that it becomes difficult to differentiate between them. Both feature fatigue, listlessness, concentration and memory problems, sexual dysfunction, and a lack of interest in hobbies or other activities.
The impact of sleep and sleep apnea on mental health
A 2012 study published in Sleep found that symptoms of OSA are associated with a greater likelihood of depression. Similar findings were also noted by a study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. According to the study, over 50% of those diagnosed with sleep apnea also suffer from anxiety and depression. Unsurprisingly, a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research noted that over 14% of adults with major depressive disorder also suffered from sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing while you sleep. Most individuals with sleep apnea usually snore, and start to breathe again with a gasp, a snort, or a body jerk. Most of those suffering from sleep apnea do not know that they suffer from a medical condition, and their partners, parents or children often report it. Sleep apnea is linked to life-threatening medical conditions such as hypertension, type II diabetes, and anxiety and depression.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
Lowered sex drive
Trouble waking up
High blood pressure
Dry mouth or sore throat on waking up
What is depression?
Depression is a constant feeling of sadness, disappointment, and hopelessness irrespective of your current disposition. This means that depression can cause these feelings even if you are not facing any challenges in life—making it difficult for you to manage school, work and relationships.
Why does sleep apnea cause depression and anxiety?
Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by an interruption in sleep due to pauses in breathing. This changes your normal brain activity and the balance between various neurochemicals in the brain. Additionally, as sleep apnea causes a buildup of carbon dioxide, it also makes your blood more acidic—which on reaching the brain, triggers a microarousal to wake you up, so you can breathe.
As these microarousals to compensate for the pauses in breathing are caused by neurotransmitters, depletion of these transmitters on waking up causes a feeling of tiredness, being run-down and drowsy. This reduces your body's energy to keep depression and anxiety at bay. A Harvard Medical study noted that a staggering 75% of those suffering from depression have problems falling and staying asleep at night.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
Sleep apnea is diagnosed with a non-invasive test called a sleep study. During a sleep study, sleep specialists record your oxygen levels, eye and leg movements, heart rate and rhythms, breathing rate while you rest. This helps determine whether you have mild, moderate, or severe OSA. Additionally, modern AI-driven diagnostic tools from Sanrai such as ResApp can diagnose sleep apnea using a mobile app—reducing the need to visit a clinic just to perform a sleep study.
Can sleep apnea be treated?
Although there is no treatment for sleep apnea, regular use of therapies such as positive airway pressure or PAP help to prevent sleep apnea from occurring—leading to a good night's sleep. Getting a good night's rest helps lift your mood, improve your memory and sex drive, and reduce the chances of developing anxiety and depression.
Sanrai is the pioneer in bringing world-class CPAP machines to emerging markets such as India. Showcasing world-class devices from top manufacturers worldwide, Sanrai's product range will help you sleep better, feel better and live a healthier, happier life.
Changing your lifestyle, prioritizing sleep and getting the required medication and therapy is an excellent way to ensure you lead a healthier life. At Sanrai, we bring products, services and solutions that help you do just that. Sanrai Med’s 5-point solution envisions bringing healthcare equity to the masses by leveraging:
Innovative disruptive tech AI-enabled to promote early screening of diseases such as sleep apnea
Accurate diagnostics to ensure that you get the treatment you need in time
Device-based therapeutic solutions to meet your every need
Better outcome management driven by quality products and targeted solutions
24x7 support to ensure that you consistently lead a healthier life
The link between sleep and mental health is well established. If you believe you cannot fall asleep, sleep through the night or feel excessively tired all day, contact your doctor immediately.