Do you often have a sense of nervousness or feel uneasy? You might be dealing with anxiety. You’re not alone. 1 in 13 people live with anxiety. Although you might attribute it to stress or daily challenges, research published in a European medical journal found anxiety and sleep apnea are connected. Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when there are several interruptions in breathing while asleep. It’s most often caused by an obstruction in the upper airway, so how is it related to anxiety? Here’s what you need to know to calm your nerves and get a restful night’s sleep.
Anxiety and Sleep Apnea Connection
At least 22 million Americans live with sleep apnea, which causes you to lose rest and negatively impacts your health from a depletion of oxygen levels while asleep. The soft tissues in the back of the mouth or throat collapse, blocking the airway. As a result, you can stop breathing hundreds of times per night with each event lasting for a minute or longer.
This can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep; however, the complications don’t end there. If the disorder isn’t treated, it can lead to several health issues, like cardiovascular disease. It can also impact your quality of life, increasing the risk of depression, difficulty concentrating, and anxiety.
Researchers have found more than half of patients diagnosed with sleep apnea also have anxiety. Although there isn’t a known connection between the severity of anxiety, other studies have discovered a similar connection between the two conditions. While sleep apnea and anxiety appear to go hand-in-hand, it remains unclear whether one causes the other.
Based on the findings from multiple sources, healthcare professionals can conclude that adequate sleep is essential to easing anxiety. Since people can be nervous by nature, it’s best to get treatment for sleep apnea to help reduce anxiety through healthy sleep solutions.
Treating Sleep Apnea
Traditionally, sleep apnea is treated using a CPAP machine, which delivers a steady stream of air through a mask worn over the mouth or nose to keep their airways open. Although it’s effective, it can be bothersome. As an alternative, an oral appliance may be more suitable, especially for patients who stress about sleeping with the machine.
An oral appliance is a custom-fit device that repositions the lower jaw forward to keep their airways open to stop interruptions in breathing. It’s a comfortable, effective option to get the rest you need while also improving your anxiety symptoms.
If you have sleep apnea, there isn’t any need to worry. Your sleep specialist has the solution you need to breathe better and restore your quality of life.
About Dr. Brian Zulawinski
Dr. Zulawinski earned his dental degree from the Indiana University School of Dentistry. He went on to complete advanced training in sleep apnea. Dr. Zulawinski offers the latest options for sleep apnea and snoring treatment in Arlington Heights. If you’re ready to sleep better, contact our office today to schedule your consultation.