Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where people can stop breathing while they sleep. It can lead to insomnia, fatigue, and headaches. The challenge is having this impact day-to-day life. This connection between sleep apnea and depression is a difficult one to understand but it is necessary for people to know how it occurs and what to do about it for overall health and recovery.
There is a correlation between sleep and mood, including lack of sleep and depression. Some people experience an onset of symptoms from both conditions at the same time, while others experience sleep deprivation before depression. Both conditions share risk factors which increase the likelihood of developing either condition uniquely. Insomnia is tied to depression in that people who have obstructive sleep apnea can increase their risk of developing depressive symptoms in nearly half of the people who report this issue.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea and Depression
Symptoms of depression and sleep apnea can sometimes overlap, making it hard for people experiencing one to realize they also experience the other. This may be true because depression can be a symptom of sleep apnea. Symptoms include:
- Loud snoring
- Not breathing when sleeping or waking self or others up
- Waking up abruptly and feeling short of breath
- Attention issues
- Sore throat or dry mouth on waking
- Difficulty sleeping
- Irritability over small issues
- Changes in appetite
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Inability to concentrate
The key to diagnoses is to determine if you have sleep apnea or if it is causing depressive symptoms. A primary care doc may be able to help establish what is going on. Coping with it includes trying different things at home under the care of a doctor. This may mean exercising, avoiding sleep on your back, avoiding alcohol, sleeping pills, and other things which may make symptoms worse. Improving quality of sleep can help treat depression and conditions like anxiety in addition to easing sleep apnea. It helps to find methods that work for you so you can improve overall health and function.
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