The Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Depression

The Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Depression

The Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Depression

The Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Depression

July 26, 2019

Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder in which a person stops breathing intermittingly as they sleep. Unfortunately, this can lead to a variety of health concerns, including insomnia, headaches, and even depression. This type of disruption can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. The more that we understand about the link between sleep apnea and depression, the more likely we can find solutions for it.

One of the most difficult aspects of having either condition is that they can cause very similar symptoms. In some instances, it may be challenging for people to identify if they are suffering from one or both conditions.




Unfortunately, sleep apnea and depression are all-too-common conditions. It may surprise you to learn that over 18 million people every year suffer from sleep apnea. Even more, 15 million people are said to experience depression. With numbers like this, it is incredibly likely that there is an overlap.

In a recent study, results indicated that about 46% of people with obstructive sleep apnea also suffered from depression. It is certainly well known that lack of sleep can impact mood, motivation, and function, so it makes complete sense that there is a relationship between sleep apnea and depression. What’s interesting, however, is that both conditions share risk factors that could make it just as likely that one issue started the other.

It is essential to distinguish between the conditions in order to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


Symptoms of Sleep Apnea


Common symptoms associated with sleep apnea include:

  • Difficulty falling and staying asleep

  • Feeling short of breath

  • Difficulty focusing

  • Feeling tired despite sleeping

  • Snoring

  • Sore throat or dry mouth when waking up

  • Irritability

  • Headaches


Symptoms of Depression


Common symptoms associated with depression:

  • Irritability

  • Frustration

  • Feeling hopeless

  • Sleep issues

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Fatigue


Potential Solutions


Sleep apnea or depression are certainly difficult diagnoses to take in. And it can be incredibly challenging to know how to combat the conditions, but fortunately, there are certain things you can do that can help with both problems. Coping mechanisms may include:

  • Exercising: Not only does regular exercise help combat depression, but it can also help you reach a healthy weight. Keep in mind, sometimes being overweight can lead to sleep apnea. Participating in a regular exercise routine can get you on the right path toward regaining your health.

  • Proper Sleeping Position: If you suffer from sleep apnea, you should avoid sleeping on your back. When lying on your back, your tongue may obstruct your airway. Instead, try sleeping on your side to encourage better breathing.

  • Avoid alcohol: Drinking alcohol, especially before bed, can actually make sleep apnea worse. Not to mention, if you suffer from depression, alcohol can exacerbate your condition.

  • Avoid sleeping pills: It may seem like a practical idea to take sleeping pills to help you get a good night of rest. However, you should know that sleeping pills do not help with sleep apnea, and depression can sometimes be a side effect.

If you have signs or symptoms of sleep apnea or depression (or both), then you should reach out to a medical professional for more help. Proper diagnosis is vital when it comes to learning ways to cope and manage either one of these serious health issues.


Contact Us Today


Do you think you may suffer from sleep apnea? If so, please reach out to us at Alliance Dental Care in Fort Worth, TX to participate in a sleep apnea evaluation. Contact us at 817-270-6100 or via our online services to schedule your appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!