High Anxiety Levels? The Problem Could Be Linked to Sleep Apnea

Thursday, August 29th, 2013, 9:53 pm

Lots of people experience high levels of anxiety but if your anxiety levels seem to be rising for no apparent reason you might want to look at your sleep. Anxiety and sleep apnea have been linked in a number of studies. For example, in 2012 a European study found that more than half of sleep apnea patients also “had some degree of depression and anxiety.”

It is important to note that it has not been proven that sleep problems cause anxiety or that anxiety causes sleep problems. A University of California – Berkeley researcher said “It’s been hard to tease out whether sleep loss is simply a byproduct of anxiety, or whether sleep disruption causes anxiety.” It may end up that the link goes both ways!

The connection between anxiety and sleep disorders intrigued Berkeley researchers who hope to discover that treating one condition will influence the other. Their goal was to find the connection between lack of sleep and the increase in brain activity that contributes to excessive worrying and anxiety. The study concluded that experiencing sleep deprivation increased “anticipatory anxiety”.

Dr. Matthew Walker said “These finding help us realize that those people who are anxious by nature are the same people who will suffer the greatest harm from sleep deprivation.” He continued, “By restoring good quality sleep in people suffering from anxiety, we may be able to help ameliorate their excessive worry.”

Patients who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and given a CPAP machine for treatment may find that the machine increases their anxiety levels. About half of patients find they cannot tolerate sleeping with the machine all night or even use it at all.  An oral appliance can successfully treat mild to serious sleep apnea without the hoses or masks. Our patients find sleeping with an oral appliance comfortable and highly effective.

Please find out more about oral appliances to treat sleep apnea by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.


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Category: Dental Sleep Medicine, sleep apnea

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