Sleep apnea is a very common sleep disorder affecting approximately 22 million people in the United States. This disorder is characterized by interruptions in breathing while sleeping. If left untreated, this disorder can lead to serious medical complications and could even be fatal. There are two main types of sleep apnea:
There is some research that indicates that there is a cyclical relationship between sleep apnea and anxiety. One can cause the other to worsen. If you believe you may have sleep apnea, Quality Sleep Solutions can help.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, most psychiatric problems involve some type of sleep disorder. Some of the ways that anxiety can impact sleep include:
These impacts can then cause anxiety to worsen- which creates a vicious cycle which increases the risk of sleep apnea.
Sometimes, patients with sleep disorders and/or anxiety develop sleep anxiety, which is characterized by distress over falling/staying asleep.
Yes, sleep apnea is common among those who have anxiety and vice-versa. However, there does not seem to be a specific scientific link.
Sleep apnea impacts sleep quality and quantity- which creates sleep debt. This makes it harder to cope with stress and increases anxiety. In addition, sleep apnea can make it harder to get restorative sleep which can lead to physical symptoms including blood pressure and heart health.
In some cases, patients develop nighttime panic attacks due to sleep apnea. Panic attacks are typically triggered by the way the heart reacts to interruptions in breathing.
While they often occur together, sleep apnea and anxiety will need to be treated separately. Common treatments for anxiety include healthy lifestyle habits, stress management techniques, and more.
Sleep apnea, on the other hand, is usually treated through healthy sleep habits and with a CPAP device. However, Quality Sleep Solutions offers an alternative.
The primary treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy and medications. Many patients benefit most from a combination of the two and it often takes trial and error to determine which is best.
It is important to note that both psychotherapy and medications are designed to be short-term treatments. Some lifestyle changes may also be necessary to relieve anxiety symptoms including:
Healthy sleep habits, also referred to as good sleep hygiene, can improve your sleep quality. There are several things you can do to improve your sleep health, including:
If you have questions about the connection between anxiety and sleep apnea, the team at Quality Sleep Solutions can help. We have the experience and expertise to help you understand what is causing your sleep problems and treat them so you can get a good night’s sleep. Below are some of the most common questions that we get about this topic:
Overthinking does not necessarily cause sleep apnea. However, there is some indication that overthinking can worsen anxiety which can then worsen sleep apnea- and the cycle continues.
Stress is not a primary trigger for sleep apnea. However, stress does lead to anxiety, which can lead to sleep issues including sleep apnea. This increases daytime sleepiness and stress, which then increases anxiety and so on.