Westminster dentist Dr. Imm discuses the link between sleep deprivation and trouble controlling emotions

The link between trouble controlling emotions and sleep apnea

trouble controlling emotions baltimore westminsterResearchers in medical and dental science are increasingly finding a clear link between trouble controlling emotions and the presence of sleep apnea in individuals. This short, helpful post will alert you to the signs of sleep apnea and explain how this common, very treatable sleep disorder can impact your emotional health.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a sleeping person to stop breathing multiple and sometimes hundreds of times per night. The word “apnea” literally means “breathing gap.” Sleep apnea is characterized by a cessation of breathing in and out for at least 10 seconds. Sleep apnea can be easily diagnosed and treated, but left untreated, it can be dangerous. Since the symptoms of sleep apnea can mimic symptoms for other common issues, it’s important to undergo a sleep test for an accurate diagnosis.

The most common symptoms are:

  • sleepiness during the daytime
  • headaches
  • snoring
  • impaired mental function
  • emotional instability or irritability.

Sleep apnea can occur in both children and adults, but 98 percent of diagnosed cases are in adult patients. There are many reasons for the onset of sleep apnea, including blockage of the airway, soft palate issues, and, increasingly, issues of overweight or obesity.

Treating sleep apnea can help your emotions

Sleep apnea literally robs you of healthy sleep.  That’s why the risk for depression rises with increasing severity of sleep apnea. Sleep deprivation makes it harder for you to keep your emotions in check. In fact, sleep loss is one of the most common reasons for irritability and emotional instability in sleep apnea patients.  A conducted at the University of California, Berkeley found that that in sleep-deprived research study participants, the emotional brain centers became 60 percent more reactive to negative stimuli than those who were not sleep deprived.

Based on today’s research, there is no doubt that the sleep loss that comes from sleep apnea can impair your ability to control your emotions. Luckily, treatment is available to restore you to restful sleep and emotional control.  In fact, your Westminster dentist could be the one to help you.

Learn more

If you would like to learn more about sleep apnea, please download my free e-book. Getting healthy, restful sleep is a critical part of a safe, happy, healthy life.

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