How Sleep Apnea causes Anxiety and Depression

Admin Team Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea causes depressionServing Brentwood, Belle Meade and Green Hills Areas of Nashville TN

Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million adults in the United States. Are you one of them? You may be in therapy or even taking prescription medication to manage your mental illness, but for many people, a lack of proper sleep can be the root cause of an anxiety disorder. Your sleep apnea dentists in Nashville at Devine Dentistry want to take a look at how sleep loss—and obstructive sleep apnea in particular—can lead to anxiety and depression.

Sleep disorders are an American epidemic

More than 40 million people in the United States are living with some type of chronic, long-term sleep disorder. This refers to any condition where a person has an abnormal sleep pattern that affects their ability to function physically, mentally, and/or emotionally. In addition to sleep apnea, narcolepsy, chronic insomnia, and sleepwalking all classify as sleep disorders.

Anxiety and sleep difficulties are a vicious cycle

Being anxious can keep you up at night. Likewise, living with sleep loss can make you more susceptible to developing an anxiety disorder. If you have sleep apnea, you’re not getting the quality rest you need on a nightly basis. This is a breathing disorder that occurs when the airway becomes impeded or completely blocked during sleep. These blockages may manifest from the tongue sliding back into the airway, or a collapse of soft tissue cutting off the flow of air. Each time an apnea event happens, airflow is reduced or cut off altogether. Your brain reacts by sending signals to your body to wake up and resume normal breathing. Even if you have severe sleep apnea, you may never wake up consciously during one of these incidents. However, each time an apnea attack happens, your sleep cycle is disrupted, meaning you do not spend enough time in the deepest stages of sleep, which are so important to both your physical and mental well-being. Now, consider that patients suffering from severe sleep apnea can expect hundreds of these attacks per hour each night, and how that affects their ability to get the rest they need. 

If you develop an anxiety disorder as a consequence of sleep loss, your potential problems magnify. Maybe you are prescribed medication to treat your anxiety, but if insomnia is one of the side effects of the drug you are taking, your sleep issues only will get worse. Your doctor or therapist also may advise therapy, meditation, or other relaxation techniques. These all are methods that can be helpful when it comes to treating an anxiety disorder, but if you have sleep apnea, they won’t do anything to give you improved rest. Untreated sleep apnea only is going to become more severe if you do not seek treatment from a qualified medical professional.

Treating sleep apnea in Nashville

Both of the dentists at Devine Dentistry can perform an airway evaluation to detect the presence of a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea. From there, we can treat your disorder by addressing the root cause—whatever is blocking your airway—through oral appliance therapy. Drs. Brian Devine and Russell Mack can provide you with a custom-made mouthpiece, made from high-quality materials and designed for a snug, comfortable, and effective fit in your mouth. When worn, one of our oral appliances guides your lower jaw forward, helping you maintain an open airway all night long.

Anxiety and depression can ruin your life. So can sleep loss. If you’re getting proper rest, you have a better chance of overcoming your anxiety disorder and reclaiming the life you want. Get screened for a sleep breathing disorder today by calling the office of Devine Dentistry today at (615) 269-4209 if you live in the areas of Belle Meade, Green Hills, and Nashville, TN.