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

The Link Between Sleep Apnea And Schizophrenia

January 14, 2024
Man squeezing his nose while laying in bed due to sleep apnea and schizophrenia

Sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep, has long been associated with a myriad of health issues. Surprisingly, recent research has unveiled a potentially intricate link between sleep apnea and schizophrenia, two seemingly unrelated conditions. Sleep apnea and schizophrenia are distinct conditions, one affecting the respiratory system during sleep and the other a complex mental health disorder. However, recent studies have highlighted a potential association between the two. Individuals with schizophrenia are found to have a higher prevalence of sleep apnea, suggesting a bidirectional relationship that merits closer examination.

Shared Risk Factors

Genetic predisposition

  • Shared genetic factors may contribute to the susceptibility to both sleep apnea and schizophrenia.
  • Individuals with a family history of either disorder might be at a higher risk for the co-occurrence of these conditions.

Neurotransmitter Imbalance

  • Disruptions in neurotransmitter pathways, particularly those involving dopamine, are implicated in both sleep apnea and schizophrenia.
  • Imbalances in these pathways may create a conducive environment for the development of both disorders.

The Impact Of Sleep Apnea On Brain And Mental Health

Neurological Consequences

Hypoxia And Brain Damage

  • Sleep apnea leads to intermittent drops in oxygen levels, causing hypoxia.
  • Prolonged hypoxia can result in brain damage, particularly in regions responsible for cognitive functions, potentially exacerbating schizophrenia symptoms.

Inflammation And Cognitive Impairment

  • Sleep apnea induces systemic inflammation, impacting the brain.
  • Chronic inflammation can contribute to cognitive impairment, potentially worsening cognitive symptoms in individuals with schizophrenia.

Exacerbation Of Schizophrenia Symptoms

Increased Psychiatric Symptoms

  • Sleep disturbances from sleep apnea can exacerbate psychiatric symptoms in individuals with schizophrenia.
  • Poor sleep quality may contribute to increased hallucinations, delusions, and overall cognitive dysfunction.

Impaired Medication Efficacy

  • The effectiveness of medications used to manage schizophrenia may be compromised in individuals with untreated sleep apnea.
  • Addressing sleep apnea is crucial for optimizing the outcomes of schizophrenia treatment.

Treating Sleep Apnea And Schizophrenia

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

  • CPAP therapy is the primary treatment for sleep apnea.
  • A CPAP machine delivers a continuous stream of air, preventing airway collapse and ensuring uninterrupted breathing during sleep.

Lifestyle Modifications

  • Weight management, positional therapy, and avoiding sedatives can contribute to managing sleep apnea.
  • Lifestyle changes can complement medical interventions and improve overall sleep quality.

Schizophrenia Treatment

Antipsychotic Medications

  • Antipsychotic medications are commonly prescribed to manage symptoms of schizophrenia.
  • Regular adherence to prescribed medications is crucial for symptom control.

Psychosocial Interventions

  • Psychotherapy, support groups, and social skills training can aid individuals with schizophrenia in coping with their condition.
  • These interventions enhance overall mental health and well-being.

Causes Of Schizophrenia Due To Sleep Apnea

Sleep-Related Neurobiological Changes

Impact On Neurotransmitters

  • Sleep apnea-induced hypoxia and fragmented sleep can influence neurotransmitter balance.
  • Alterations in neurotransmitters, including dopamine, may contribute to the development or exacerbation of schizophrenia.


  • Chronic inflammation associated with sleep apnea may trigger or worsen neuroinflammation.
  • Neuroinflammation is implicated in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.

Cognitive Impairment And Psychosis

Cognitive Dysfunction

  • Sleep apnea-related cognitive impairment may overlap with cognitive deficits seen in schizophrenia.
  • The cumulative effect of both conditions can lead to more severe cognitive dysfunction.

Psychosis Precipitation

  • Sleep apnea's impact on brain function may act as a catalyst for the manifestation of psychosis in susceptible individuals.
  • Identifying and treating sleep apnea may be a preventive measure against schizophrenia development.

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