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Sleep Apnea Affects mental health and can cause depression
Apnea causes depression and can impair memory


A good night’s sleep offers much more than physical rest. When you sleep, your brain is busy storing and consolidating what you learned during the day, which you will need to find in your memory tomorrow, next week or next year. When we sleep, the brain also processes information and creates connections. While we are resting, many of us have insights into solving a number of problems. 

See how important sleep is to your mental health? Keep reading to know more!

Unfortunately, not all of us enjoy restorative sleep. Over eighty sleep disorders have been identified this far. This means that the likelihood that you have one of them is not very slim. However, the most important point here is to recognize the problem so you get early treatment.

One of the most common sleep disturbances is Apnea, which can accompany or cause other diseases, such as depression.

Let’s understand a little about Sleep Apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) is a widespread disease characterized by upper airways obstruction during sleep, usually with a drop in blood oxygen saturation, followed by a transient arousal from sleep to breathe. Its main manifestations during sleep include loud and frequent snoring, pauses in breathing, fragmentation of sleep, all of which entail incapacitating daytime problems such as excessive daytime sleepiness, cognitive disturbances, and morning headaches.

This disorder goes beyond symptoms experienced during sleep, since sleep apnea impairs patients’ quality of life to a great extent. Those who suffer from this disorder are more likely to develop anxiety and depression.

According to the article Apneia do sono aumenta chance de desenvolver ansiedade e depressão (Sleep Apnea Increases the Likelihood of Developing Anxiety and Depression), published at in July 2012, the greater the severity of Apnea, the higher the risk for patients to develop neurobehavioral symptoms. A study conducted by Dr. Clélia Maria Ribeiro French, neurologist at the University Hospital of the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), found that 60% of its participants who had sleep apnea also had some degree of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs because pauses in breathing during sleep lead to periods of low blood and tissue oxygenation followed by reoxygenation. Left untreated, this disorder can have several consequences, including depression.

Let’s discuss depression. Depression is characterized by deep sadness, despondency, peevishness, and sleep disturbances. Why can Sleep Apnea cause depression? Because it can cause lesions that affect brain oxygenation, memory, and reasoning. In untreated sleep apnea patients, cortisol -hormone that controls blood sugar levels and reduces stress– and serotonin –that plays a crucial role in memory recovery during sleep- release is low.

Therefore, untreated Sleep Apnea not only impairs patients’ sleep quality but also their daytime concentration and their mental and emotional health. Therefore, if you have Sleep Apnea, seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Being diagnosed in the first place is vital to get the best treatment. To establish the diagnosis, your physician will request sleep-monitoring tests.

To this end, one option is Sleep Apnea Digital Monitoring (SADM), the Biologix Sleep Test. It is a test you can conduct at home -simple, convenient, and effective, with no need to sleep at a sleep lab. Before going to sleep for the night, just place the Oxistar sensor, which is a high performance oximeter, on your finger and start the test using the Biologix App. Upon waking up, click on “end test” to get the result in a few seconds by e-mail.

This diagnosis can also be established by means of a more complex test called Polysomnography. In this case, patients are required to sleep for one night at a sleep lab, where they are monitored using sensors that record the passage of air through nose and mouth, blood oxygenation, heart rate, brain activity, as well as chest and limb movements.

Once the diagnosis is established, treatment will vary according to the syndrome cause and/or level. For mild apnea, measures such as losing weight, reducing evening alcohol intake, and changing sleep habits might be enough. Other ways of treating this disorder include using an intraoral device, which allows to achieve mandibular advancement, or of CPAP, acronym that stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It is a small piece of equipment that helps you breath during sleep. Is severe cases, surgery can be an option. This treatment is very effective, as it delivers immediate benefits for patients’ health and quality of life.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this blog aims at assisting you in your education and is not intended to be construed in any manner as medical advice. Only physicians and dentists can diagnose diseases and prescribe treatments and medication. Thank you for visiting our website.

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