As a sleep specialist, we understand the importance that sleep plays in your ability to become an active participant in your own life. When you are exhausted, your energy levels will go down, you may become irritable, and some people even become depressed. When a night of bad sleep only happens now and then, it may not be a large enough issue to be concerned with. If, however, you’re feeling depressed on a regular basis and simultaneously not feeling rested, or as though you slept well, you should consider visiting a specialist for help.
The link between quality sleep and symptoms of depression should be common sense. Anyone that has had children knows that if a toddler doesn’t take a nap they may start to yell, throw a tantrum and be grumpy, in general. It can get somewhat better with age, but even teenagers can be rude and grumpy when they are tired. Just because someone grows up, doesn’t mean that they stop needing sleep. Adults tend to think that they can go with a few hours of sleep, but that is very rarely the case so when someone is unable to sleep due to obstructive sleep apnea it can cause physical, emotional, and mental problems.
While the connection is fairly logical, research has been conducted to confirm what we already intrinsically know – sleep apnea and depressive symptoms are connected. The University of Canada evaluated data from 22 trials to determine what, if any, scientific effect sleep apnea had on a variety of situations. In their study, Effect of Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea on Depressive Symptoms: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, information was offered that shows that for the majority of people, depressive symptoms improved with the treatment of sleep apnea. The study did not compare the result of this treatment on depression with taking depression medication, so it is unclear which solution is more effective. As a sleep specialist, we suggest treating sleep apnea symptoms regardless, and if it simultaneously helps you to feel less depressed – fabulous.
The treatment process that we provide is non-invasive and convenient, which makes many of our patients interested in trying it before ever taking medication. In order to understand why this works, it helps to understand what sleep apnea entails. The reason people suffer from sleep apnea is because the jaw falls backwards at night, and the tongue regresses with it. As it does, the tongue blocks the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Without getting sufficient air, it is difficult to feel rested as the body struggles to gain the oxygen that it needs while you are physically sleeping. As a result, many people suffer from high blood pressure and heart issues, among other physical ailments.
As a sleep specialist, we can treat the condition using a removable oral appliance. This looks similar to a full upper and lower plastic retainer. The main difference is that the two pieces connect in such a way as to hold your jaw in place. By preventing it from falling backwards, your airways will remain clear throughout the night, and your can get the oxygen that your body needs to stay in good health. As a result, you should feel better both physically and emotionally.