Sleep Apnea and Mental Health
Last updated: April 2023
It is no secret sleep apnea can cause people to have a bad night's sleep. If it stopped at a bad night's sleep, it may not be a big deal for you and those around you.
We also know there are a lot of physical complications that can come with sleep apnea. Stress on the heart, irritation to the throat, blood pressure issues, and oxygenation problems to name a few.
Mental health and sleep apnea
There are also mental health issues that can come with sleep apnea. These are more than just a bad mood and feeling tired - while these are annoying, they aren’t the worst of them.
Bad mood vs irritability
One that is related to a bad mood is irritability. If you don’t know the difference, I will give you a brief explanation. A bad mood is basically how it sounds, you are not in a good mood and generally unhappy or mad. When you are irritable, you do have a bad mood and feel mad or unhappy, but little things set you off and you express this anger towards others.
A bad mood is more internal while irritability is more external. These can cause issues at work, home, or while driving. On top of being dangerous and causing issues with friends and loved ones, it flat out isn’t fun. No one wants to be in a bad mood and irritable. A poor night's sleep can very easily cause this, and it is not just a one and done thing. It can happen all day, every day, and it stinks.
Depression and brain chemistry
Depression is probably the most concerning because it can lead to thoughts or actions of harming yourself. Depression is terrible. Thankfully, there are medications that can help with this, but with depression being a chemical imbalance, you can permanently alter your brain chemistry just from sleep apnea.
You don’t want this. It is not easy, and sometimes impossible for your brain to change its chemistry back to happy you. Depression is a chronic condition and you may need to be on medication for the rest of your life for it. If you can treat your sleep apnea, please do, just so you can avoid this potential complication. It really isn’t worth it to avoid a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
Anxiety has many impacts
Anxiety is another issue with untreated sleep apnea. This can come from being tired and your brain reacting to situations or creating situations of angst and anxiety. Anyone who has anxiety will tell you it is not fun at all and you are always worried or on edge about something. True anxiety can cause issues in all aspects of your life and being anxious and tired are a bad combination.
You could make rash or quick decisions that are bad and you can transfer your anxiety to your loved ones, especially your children. They feed off of your energy, and if you give off the feeling of anxiety, they can pick this up from you. As parents, none of us want this for our children.
Not taking mental health for granted
As you can see, mental health and sleep can be directly related. Just because you have poor night sleep does not mean you will develop any of these mental health conditions, but you put yourself at an increased risk. Like I said, it isn’t worth it.
Good mental health is something we take for granted until it is gone, so don’t let yourself be one of those who look back at times when you were happy. Keep yourself happy and make sure you get a good night's sleep every night.
How do you manage your mental health? Join our community and share below.
Does sleep apnea impact your mental health?
What themes would you like to see your fellow community members write about?