Access and print new patient paperwork
How we can help
We provide solutions to your Sleep Apnea
Sleep Disorder Assessment
Let's find out the cause
Oral Appliance Therapy Benefits
Learn about the long and short term benefits
CPAP Replacement Assessment
Let's improve your CPAP experience
Want To Replace Your CPAP?
Find out if our CPAP alternative works best for you
Studies on CPAP usage
Did You Know That 50% Of Users Will Stop Using It After One Year?
A Long Term Solution
Let's improve your sleep and overall health
How we can help
We provide solutions to your Sleep Apnea
Sleep Disorder Assessment
Let's find out the cause
CPAP Replacement Assessment
Let's improve your CPAP experience
We provide solutions to your Sleep Apnea
Did You Know That 50% Of Users Will Stop Using It After One Year?
Let's improve your sleep and overall health

Is There A Link Between Sleep Apnea and Anxiety?

October 20, 2023

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:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Central 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.

How Anxiety Affects Sleep

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:

  • Insomnia, or difficulty falling/staying asleep
  • Chronic sleep deprivation
  • Poor sleep quality

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.

Is Sleep Apnea Common Among People Who Suffer from Anxiety?

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.

Treating Sleep Apnea And Anxiety

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.

Treatment for anxiety can include:

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.

  • Psychotherapy: treatment involves working with a therapist to address anxiety symptoms. The most effective form is cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on providing the skills along with exposure therapy to reduce symptoms
  • Medications: based on the type of anxiety and other mental or physical health issues, there are a few options for medication.

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:

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. This can reduce stress as well as improve your mood and your overall health. Start slowly and gradually increase the amount and intensity of your workouts.
  • Avoid alcohol and/or recreational drugs. These can trigger or worsen anxiety. If you’re not able to quit on your own, ask your doctor for help.
  • Stop smoking and reduce caffeine intake. Research has proven that both of these can cause anxiety to be worse.
  • Learn stress management and relaxation techniques such as yoga, visualization, and meditation.
  • Prioritize sleep and if you’re struggling to sleep, ask your doctor to help.
  • Choose healthy foods such as fruits and veggies, fish, and whole grains to improve your health and reduce anxiety.

Healthy sleep habits include:

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:

  • Establishing a consistent bedtime: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every time, even on the weekends
  • Create a comfortable sleeping environment- dark, quiet, relaxing, and a comfortable temperature
  • Remove all electronic devices, such as smartphones, televisions, and computers from your bedroom
  • Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol, and large meals close to bedtime
  • Be physically active during the day, this will help you burn energy and you should fall asleep easily at bedtime

Anxiety & Sleep Apnea FAQs

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.

Our Locations

Have Questions?

Get Answers

  • Hidden
    MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
    MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Privacy Policy: We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe.
Please call us if you have any problems with the form.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Related Issues

Copyright © | Quality Sleep Solutions | Sitemap | Privacy Policy
crossmenuchevron-down Skip to content