Sleep Apnea Can Affect Anxiety

Anxiety levels can be affected by a number of different physiological disorders, including the common sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea suffer repeated episodes of interrupted breathing throughout the night. These episodes usually last at least 10 seconds, and although the struggle for breath causes the sufferer to partially awaken, they do not remember the episodes in the morning. For this reason, many people with sleep apnea are not aware that they have the disorder.

The major symptom of sleep apnea is, logically, excessive sleepiness during the day. However, other symptoms are very similar to those experienced by people with anxiety disorders: anxiety, headaches, trouble concentrating, irritability, mood changes, and restless sleep. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it's a good idea to visit your doctor to rule out sleep apnea as the culprit.

There is a relationship between sleep and anxiety, so it makes sense that people deprived of restful sleep by sleep apnea may experience anxiety symptoms as well. One study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, found that people limited to 4.5 hours of sleep per night for a week felt more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted than usual; when they were allowed to sleep a normal amount, their mood improved significantly.

Many sleep and mental health experts report that there is also a link between sleep apnea episodes and nocturnal panic attacks -- waking up struggling for breath in the middle of the night may serve as a trigger for an anxiety attack among people with panic disorder.

If you are suffering from both anxiety and sleep apnea, it can be difficult to figure out which symptoms belong to which disorder. Because in many cases they feed off each other, medical intervention to address your sleep apnea could significantly improve your mood and anxiety levels.

Photo: Pixabay

Anxiety Support Groups

More Articles

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is produced in response to stress, and it is a necessary part of the fight or flight response that helps the...

This is a topic I have wanted to touch on for a long time. There are so many people that deal with this fear on a day to day basis. Unable to...

Hoarding behavior is typically associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but there is some debate as to whether hoarding is a symptom...

Parnate, known generically as tranylcypromine, is an antidepressant of the class known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). It is usually...

You know that having an anxiety disorder affects your child’s peer relationships, but recent research indicates that not all anxious children have...

More Articles

Parnate, known generically as tranylcypromine, is an antidepressant of the class known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). It is usually...

The terms anxiety and stress are often used interchangeably, and it is true that they are related conditions with many of the same symptoms....

Sinequan, an antidepressant marketed by Pfizer and known generically as doxepin, is most often used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, and...

Getting enough sleep makes us feel better. Everyone knows this. But a team of sleep researchers at UC Berkeley has proof. According to a recently...

If you have any of the physical symptoms of anxiety listed below, please don't suffer any longer -- seek help immediately. Your first step is to...

This article is Part II of a two-part article....

Although it seems improbable, Robert S. Wilson, Ph.D., of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and his colleagues say that they found a...

Everyone who lives with bothersome anxiety symptoms should have a pouch or pocket in their bag or backpack that is an emergency calm-kit.

...

A new study has successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of a novel treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Using drugs that don't...

Everyone suffers symptoms of anxiety now and then, and for many people anxiety is a chronic problem. But not all who suffer from anxiety...

Anxiety sufferers in the 21st century have a relatively new avenue of help and support: the Internet. As more and more people turn to Google first...

The University of Central Florida newspaper published an article about an interesting clinical trial at the UCF Anxiety Disorders Clinic in the...

If you suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder, you probably feel fearful a lot of the time. Don’t let fear and anxiety rule your life!...

Anxiety disorders are complex, influenced by a number of chemical, behavioral, and situational factors. There are several neurotransmitters in the...

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter most linked to mood disorders like depression, but scientific evidence showing the role it plays is surprisingly...