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Now that the clocks have reset to fall back to standard time and the days are growing shorter, many of us may have noticed a reduction in our sleep quality. We may feel tired, sluggish, and just not ourselves, wanting to slow down even as the holidays have amped up in full swing. But that is not the only thing that can cause sleep deprivation and leave us feeling wiped out. In fact, those who experience Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can also end up with mood disorders without treatment.

It is no secret that problems sleeping can lead to psychological problems, especially when the lack of sleep is constant. When it goes on long enough, we can find ourselves feeling angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. Some may even find themselves developing a panic disorder. Here is what you need to know about how sleep deprivation does to your body (and mind):

The Psychological Repercussions of Sleep Deprivation

While getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to functioning well throughout the day, for most of us, that can be accomplished with at least eight hours of sleep a night. So if you have sleep apnea, you’ll likely feel unrested even when you get a full night’s sleep. And if it goes untreated long enough, you can find yourself experiencing hallucinations; seeing and hearing things that aren’t actually occurring. Other psychological issues might include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Impulsiveness
  • Paranoia
  • PTSD
  • Stress

Just think about how you feel when you get a poor night’s sleep. You’re tired, sluggish, slow, anxious, and irritable; more so if it happens multiple nights in a row. And if nothing changes, then your entire quality of life is somehow impacted, and not in a good way. At some point, sleep deprivation brings on chronic mood disorders like depression, bipolar, or anxiety, leaving you feeling irritable, short-tempered, and susceptible to stress, especially if you struggle with ongoing obstructive sleep apnea.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

With OSA, you are experiencing pauses in your breathing throughout the night. The soft tissues in your airway collapse throughout your sleep cycles, leaving a blockage that keeps you from getting enough oxygen. You (or your partner) may notice that you constantly wake up choking, gasping or snoring. Untreated, chronic oxygen deprivation in the bloodstream may lead to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Sleep Apnea and Mood Disorders

Studies indicate that obstructive sleep apnea increases your chances of mood disorders including depression and anxiety, especially if you are a woman. The good news is the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) found that people struggling with depressive symptoms improved after being treated with correct CPAP therapy. According to the AASM, 96% of patients reported an improvement in their mental health and fewer thoughts of suicide!

The goal of sleep apnea solutions is to allow you to get the healthy sleep you need to more than just function day-to-day, but to thrive! The most common and effective treatment for OSA is AutoPAP therapy using an AutoPAP machine, also called a CPAP machine that delivers continuous, ideal air pressure during the night.

Since sleep quality and mood are intricately connected, ultimately, you need good sleep for optimal well-being, including good moods and mental states.

Insomnia and Psychological Problems

As you can see, there is a definite relationship between psychiatric and psychological problems and sleep quality. In fact, trouble sleeping can be one of the first signs of depression. Studies have also noted that 15 to 20 percent of people who are diagnosed with insomnia often develop major depression. If you are not getting enough quality sleep and suspect you might have a sleep disorder, we encourage you to reach out to our team for more information. You deserve a good nights’ rest!