Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep, restricting an intake of sufficient oxygen. Research now suggests that people with sleep apnea also have an increased risk of depression.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) found that women with sleep apnea are 5 times more likely to develop clinical depression. Men with sleep apnea are twice as likely. While over 80% who listed classic symptoms of sleep apnea had never been ‘officially’ diagnosed, the participants averaged a threefold higher risk of depression compared to adults who have no breathing troubles during sleep.
Sleep interruptions that characterize the disorder have been shown in previous research to affect mood. The periodic declines in oxygen during sleep can lead to brain changes by triggering stress or inflammation. Although this study shows an association, rather than cause-&-effect, the researchers feel it’s plausible that sleep apnea could directly cause depression. The findings clearly indicate that the brain requires a pattern of steady sleep.
If you (or someone you know) display symptoms of sleep apnea or if you wear a CPAP but can’t tolerate it, please contact us. For mild to moderate sleep apnea, a small, comfortable oral appliance worn at night may be all that’s needed for peaceful sleep and better days! Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a no-cost consultation.