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

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), are a class of...

Women might have a leg up on men when it comes to interviewing for a job, say researchers at the University of Western Toronto. The data from a...

The number one biggest fear of human beings is Glossophobia, also known as having a fear of public speaking. Some even fear public speaking more...

While many people turn to medication to treat their anxiety, it is not the best or most appropriate choice for everyone. Medication can be very...

Death anxiety is the fear we experience when contemplating or facing our own mortality. Like much of our anxiety, it is an anticipation of pain...

More Articles

Children with social phobias are more likely to be judged as less attractive by their peers than those without anxiety disorders, according to a...

All of the little things we do to help ourselves gradually allow us to feel and do better.

If you are prone to anxiety, be attentive to how...

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...

Experiencing anxiety is not a mental health problem. Having what is sometimes called abnormal (neurotic) anxiety can indicate several things,...

An innovative new program from Drexel University takes advantage of today’s available technology to provide mental health treatment to more...

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is a mental disorder in which anxious thoughts repeatedly drive them to compulsive behavior. With Obsessive...

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

A team of scientists from UCLA has concluded a study in rats that suggests that trauma to the brain can lead to an increased susceptibility to...

Anxiety sweating is a very common symptom with an anxiety disorder. In most cases, anxiety sweating is perfectly natural.

Being angry,...

Panic is real, and panic disorder is considered to be an illness. A panic attack is very painful and feelings of depression and helplessness may...

Getting on an airplane can cause an anxiety attack even for the most seasoned flier. Whether it’s a fear of heights, the feeling of the unknown,...

Stress can strike anyone at any time, but anxiety occurs when stress is present for an extended amount of time, from several months to several...

Many people with anxiety or depression are interested in finding a "natural" treatment method that can help ease their symptoms. For some people,...

Our bodies cannot function without the mineral magnesium, and that includes the proper working of neurons and neurotransmitters in the brain....

Uncontrollable shaking can happen when your arms, hands, legs and even your entire body may feel shaky or like they are trembling.

Some...