Are you feeling grumpy and irritable? Has your spouse or children mentioned you seem a little on edge? Sometimes if you are suffering from sleep apnea, it can cause irritability.
Irritability is a common symptom associated with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing stops or slows down during sleep causing loud snoring and frequent waking. Sleep apnea can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, depression, anxiety, memory loss, and even death if left untreated.
Their symptoms often go unnoticed until a patient experiences an extreme health complication, like hypertension, heart failure, or stroke. If you’ve noticed milder symptoms like irritability or other behavior changes, talk to your doctor about diagnosis and treatment.
Why Does Sleep Apnea Cause Irritability?
Patients with sleep apnea often feel fatigued from a lack of quality sleep, which leads to irritability. However, other aspects of sleep apnea also contribute to feeling irritable.
Research shows that patients with sleep apnea have decreased levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and increased levels of glutamate, two chemicals naturally found in the brain. These chemicals contribute to mood, cognition, and specific physical functions, like blood pressure. When the levels of these chemicals change, the brain cannot regulate mood, resulting in higher stress levels.
Patients with sleep apnea cannot simply choose to act less irritable. Their bodies are not producing the correct chemical levels for proper brain function.
What Are the Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea on Relationships?
Unfortunately, the symptoms of sleep apnea not only impact your health and performance but can also impact your relationships. Even with the best of intentions, family and friends may become frustrated or hurt by your changes in behavior. Therefore, it’s essential to seek medical attention when you notice changes in your mood or mental health.
Sleep apnea also has links to depression, anxiety, memory loss, and decreased sex drive. Your relationships are too meaningful to ignore your health. With a proper diagnosis and treatment, patients often find relief from sleep apnea symptoms to restore their quality of life.
What Are the Most Effective Sleep Apnea Solutions?
Often, obese patients find a reduction in sleep apnea symptoms when they lose weight. Excess weight contributes to obstructive sleep apnea, as excess tissue blocks the airway during sleep. Consider incorporating weight loss strategies into your life with guidance from a healthcare professional for a long-term solution.
A CPAP machine also helps manage sleep apnea symptoms by forcing the airway open with continuous airflow. While CPAP treatment doesn’t cure sleep apnea, the open airway allows the patient to breathe uninterrupted, reducing symptoms and improving sleep.
Another effective treatment is wearing a custom oral appliance during sleep to help keep the airway clear. The device works by shifting the jaw forward to open the airway and relieve symptoms. Some patients prefer the oral appliance because it is less intrusive than the CPAP.
Stay Calm and Sleep Well
With the right sleep apnea treatment or combination of treatments, patients can reduce their irritability and stabilize their moods. Proper sleep impacts all areas of your life. Don’t compromise your health or relationships. Find the support you need to get a good night’s sleep.
If you experience any of the symptoms associated with sleep apnea, seek professional medical treatment.