Is It Sleep Apnea Or Just Snoring
Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, and not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. So how do you tell the difference between normal snoring and a more serious case of sleep apnea?
The biggest telltale sign is how you feel during the day. Normal snoring doesnt interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnea does, so youre less likely to suffer from extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day. The way you sound when youre snoring also provides clues. As mentioned above, if youre gasping, choking, or making other unusual sounds, you should suspect sleep apnea.
Keep in mind that even if you dont have sleep apnea, a snoring problem can get in the way of your bed partners rest and affect your own sleep quality. But there are tips and treatments that can help you stop snoring.
Treatment For Sleep Apnea Anxiety
How can I get sleep if I have sleep apnea and anxiety?
CPAP treatment is the most effective way for healthy sleep in apnea patients, but it’s also a tough choice for a patient who also have anxiety.
This study also demonstrates that compliance to CPAP treatment can treat depression, sleep apnea and anxiety together.
The fear of using the CPAP mask, or having claustrophobic symptoms with the mask, can make the treatment difficult.
If you can, start using nasal pillows which are less intrusive than nasal masks or full face masks. The ResMed Swift FX nasal pillow is very simple, with only one strap across the cheek. This mask should be the first to try.
However, if you need to wear a full face mask and have claustrophobia, you can get accustomed with the mask by wearing it while playing a game in front of your computer or watching TV. Then you can wear it while sitting up reading. Finally, try to wear the mask when you read in bed.
Can Nighttime Panic Attacks Be Prevented
According to Dr. Bea, one of the characteristics of true panic is that it occurs spontaneously like a bolt of lightning across a blue sky. While we cant prevent sleep panic attacks, he says that we can develop more effective mechanisms for coping with the stressors in our lives.
You might increase exercise or start a mindfulness practice. Overall, it doesnt hurt to actively develop coping strategies. However, understand that doing these things may or may not influence the experience of a nighttime panic attack.
Whats another thing you can do to lessen the intensity of a sleep panic attack? Normalize the experience.
Dr. Bea explains.
These experiences feel threatening and dangerous. You fear the worst when your hearts racing, youre short of breath, youre trembling and you have a sense of impending doom or feel like youre losing control, he says.
As frightening as the experience is, its safe. Of course, when we have a catastrophic thought or appraisal of the event, it tends to drive more panic it gets our body aroused. Learn to normalize that experience, to notice the sensations but dont try to fix them.
Dr. Bea compares it to being in quicksand.
After a sleep panic attack, youre not going to recover quickly and go right back to sleep. Dr. Bea recommends getting up and going into another room to do a relaxing activity . No catching up on work or paying bills. Do something that will help you calm down until youre able to go back to sleep.
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How Can Healthier Sleep Habits Treat Sleep Anxiety
Sleep habits, or sleep hygiene, are your routines around bedtime that can affect your sleep. Your healthcare provider may ask you to keep a sleep diary for several weeks. This is a daily log of your sleep habits. It can help identify things that might make it harder for you to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Some common ways to improve your sleep hygiene include:
- Avoid drinking lots of fluids before bed, especially alcohol.
- Do relaxing activities before bed, such as meditation or listening to soft, peaceful music.
- Dont consume caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
- Dont go to bed unless you feel sleepy.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- If you dont fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed.
- Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, quiet and softly lit.
- Only use your bed for sleep and sex. For example, avoid watching television or doing work in bed.
- Set a goal of getting at least seven hours of sleep every night.
- Stop using electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Try not to eat right before bedtime. If youre hungry, have a light snack and not a big meal.
Ways To Reduce Anxiety And Stress Levels
If youve been dealing with heightened anxiety or stress, thankfully, there are some ways to mitigate the problem. Here are some helpful tips you can easily implement:
- Meditate There is no specific method that you have to learn for meditating. It simply involves being quiet and still. The activity, when done consistently, can have a lasting, calming effect.
- Seek Counseling If your anxiety or stress starts to become chronic and leads to depression, then it may be best to seek counseling from a trained professional.
- New Exercise Regimen When you exercise on a regular basis, it contributes to the healthy release of endorphins, dopamine and other key hormones, that have relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties that also help you rest better at night.
- Take a Relaxing Bath Before Bed A helpful way to encourage your mind and body to relax before bed is to take a soothing and calming bath. To further boost the benefits, you can add lavender essential oil, which helps to stimulate the natural production of the nighttime hormone, melatonin.
- Power-off Your Electronic Devices At least 30 minutes before you retire for bed, you should discontinue the usage of any electronic devices. This will help you unwind and prepare to release the stresses of the day as you drift to sleep.
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Does Stress Cause Sleep Apnea
- ENT Institute
Does stress cause sleep apnea? Short answer is yes. Long answer is yes. But as most things in this universe tend to be, its a tad bit more complex than just answering the question so simply. Stress, anxiety, and depression arent just topics to have short answers for, especially when it affects our physical health. Its known that anxiety can actually cause chest pain, breathing problems, and even dizziness. Thats quite an effect on our health. With that in mind, sleep is also an important part of our overall health, which means that if were not sleeping then our health declines greatly.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says, Stress and anxiety may cause sleeping problems or make existing problems worse. And having an anxiety disorder exacerbates the problem. . Essentially, any psychological issue like anxiety or depression will indeed cause or make sleeping problems worse. Its like a vicious cycle of no sleep due to stress and stress due to no sleep and then no sleep due to stress. The ADAA goes on to say this: Research also shows that some form of sleep disruption is present in nearly all psychiatric disorders. Studies also show that people with chronic insomnia are at high risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
This brings us to the first questions:
The Infinite Loop Between Sleep Apnea And Anxiety
Do you have anxiety because of sleep apnea and sleeplessness, or are you experiencing sleep apnea and lack of sleep because of your anxiety? This is a chicken-or-the-egg type of question.
During a sleep apnea episode, the brain receives a sort of a panic signal, which jolts the body awake to resume breathing. The sudden wake up prevents you from receiving uninterrupted sleep and reaching all of the sleep stages, getting your body into what is known as sleep debt. Sleep debt makes it more difficult for your brain to cope with stress.
Also, when sleep is disrupted consistently, it can alter brain activity as well as the neurochemicals which affect your thinking pattern and mood. The hindered sleep prevents the healing or recovery of your body from day-to-day stresses. In other words, if your brain were a computer processor, being in sleep debt would be like having a bunch of apps running in your head, and none work as well or as fast as they should because there are too many open.
Over time, that stress will increase your heart and blood pressure rates and will lead to additional physiological health issues. The more stress you feel because of sleeplessness, the more likely you are to have a panic attack.
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Anxiety And Sleep Apnea: The Sleep/health Connection
Anxiety and sleep apnea are like fish and water: Find one, and youll usually find the other, too.
This connection is supported by more and more studies as the years pass. For example, in December 2012, a major European medical journal published a study1 finding that more than half of patients diagnosed with sleep disorders had some degrees of depression and anxiety.
The study noted that sleep apnea was not associated with the severity of anxiety, only the presence of it. But other sources have made the connection between sleep apnea and anxiety at its most severe levels namely, post-traumatic stress disorder . According to The New York Times Health Guide, sleep apnea may intensify symptoms of PTSD, including sleeplessness and nightmares. The guide notes that sleep apnea is also sometimes associated with a risk for panic disorder. 2
A 2005 study by the journal SLEEP3 helps clarify the anxiety and sleep apnea connection. Compared with patients not yet diagnosed with sleep apnea, those who were diagnosed experienced a significantly greater prevalence for mood disorders, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, psychosis, and dementia in patients with sleep apnea, the study found.
This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and potential treatments. It is not medical advice. If you have any medical questions, please consult your doctor.
Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea can be a dangerous medical condition and requires treatment. Your doctor may recommend losing weight if youre currently overweight, and to quit smoking if you havent yet.
They may also prescribe positive airway pressure. This involves using a machine to deliver oxygen at a slightly higher airway pressure than normal to keep your airways open. Your doctor may also prescribe a mouthpiece thats designed to keep your airway open by bringing your jaw forward.
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Anxiety Depression And The Brain Detox
So why is there such a strong connection between insomnia, anxiety and depression?
Part of the answer to that question became clearer in 2013 when it was discovered that during deep sleep, our brain goes into a literal rinse-cycle or a deep clean. This miraculous event is able to happen because as we sleep brain cells shrink by up to 60%, creating space between the cells to literally flush away debris in the cerebrospinal fluid and out of the brain. OUR BRAINS DETOXIFY AS WE SLEEP. We are simply not going to feel refreshed and ready to take on the new challenges of a new day in the same way if we do not sleep well.
We feel fatigued when we dont sleep and a feeling of fatigue can lead to a low mood. We may feel more anxious too because we feel less able to face the challenges ahead of us. We may feel more anxious and low because we feel alone in the vulnerability caused by lack of sleep. We need to feel strong in order to not feel helpless.
Why Do Sleep Panic Attacks Occur
As Dr. Bea mentioned before, the cause of nighttime panic attacks is relatively unknown, but it seems like theyre a manifestation of stress.
Sleep panic attacks might reflect other stressors arousal in the body. Its believed that this stress can be transmitted through genetic predispositions. This just tells you that our brains and bodies are active even when were sleeping.
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Health Consequences Of Sleep Apnea
The chronic sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea can result in daytime sleepiness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, and an increased risk of accidents and errors in your daily activities.
Sleep apnea also has a mental impact. It can trigger moodiness and irritability and cause anxiety and depression. It also increases your risk of other serious health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, and stroke.
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How Can You Tell If You Have Sleep Apnea
If your symptoms line up and you or your doctor suspect you may have OSA or CSA, your doctor will likely refer you to a sleep specialist or recommend that you spend a night in a sleep clinic, during which time your breathing and other bodily functions will be evaluated by a nocturnal polysomnography. This test monitors your heart, breathing patterns, limb movements, lung and brain activity, and blood oxygen levels while you are asleep.
Or your doctor may provide an at-home sleep test, which measures your heart rate, airflow, and breathing patterns. These tests are generally less conclusive than tests in a sleep disorder center. Obstructive apnea can also be diagnosed by an ear, nose and throat doctor, who will look for blockages in your nose and throat. Because cardiovascular issues are sometimes at the root of central sleep apnea, CSA is sometimes treated by cardiologists.
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How Do You Know If You Have Anxiety
Were not talking about random spurts of anxiety due to an outside stresser. Here, were talking about constant or consistent anxiety that doesnt necessarily own a specific stresser. Healthline says it this way: when symptoms of anxiety become larger than the events that triggered them and begin to interfere with your life, they could be signs of an anxiety disorder. .
Below are a few sure signs that you could be dealing with a disorder. Please note: these are just signs and symptoms. Do not use this to diagnose yourself or someone else with an anxiety disorder, but schedule an appointment with your doctor to receive proper diagnosis and treatment.
How Can I Teach My Child To Get Over Their Fears
Teach your child skills to get over their fears. For example:
- discuss ways to respond to nighttime fears, such as by being brave and thinking positive thoughts
- tell your child how you deal with something that frightens you
You can also try reading stories about children who are afraid and conquer their fears.
For example, for younger kids:
- David and the worry beast: Helping children cope with anxiety by Anne Marie Guanci
- The huge bag of worries by Virginia Ironside
For older kids:
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