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[Health] Anxiety and Sleep Apnea
#1
Anxiety and Sleep Apnea
Here's a pretty good article on the connection between sleep apnea and anxiety.

Quote:Anxiety: A Clue to Sleep Apnea

By Emma Cooksey
October 14, 2020

Before my sleep apnea was diagnosed, I woke up most days with a physical tightness in my chest. That made me think anxious thoughts and I got depressed because I wasn’t sleeping well and didn’t see an end in sight. It was a vicious cycle that took years to unpick and resolve.

Living with undiagnosed sleep apnea
Like most women with chronic sleep conditions, my sleep apnea went undiagnosed for more than 10 years. The main symptom that bothered me, aside from being exhausted all the time, was anxiety.

My doctor treated me for anxiety with anti-depressants. I tried alternative therapies like acupuncture, medical herbalism, massage, and Ayurveda. I journaled, I had therapy, I read self-help books. Nothing made a difference, and I was still waking up with a pounding chest and a sense of impending doom every morning.

Exhaustion and anxiety in my 20s
My 20s were a never-ending cycle of exhaustion, anxiety, and barely holding down a job or keeping it all together. I often reflect now on how differently things would have gone if my doctor had asked questions around my sleep and energy levels and ordered a sleep study much earlier.

On first impression, I was an anxious 20-something in tears and overwhelmed. I know now that this is exactly what sleep apnea often looks like.

Running out of reasons
Looking back, I definitely explained away my anxiety and depression because of what I was going through at the time. I would think to myself, “No wonder I am depressed, my friend just died.” Then, “No wonder I have anxiety, my boss is the worst.”

My anxiety and depression became more of a puzzlement when my life looked up. I found myself married to a wonderful husband and in a job I enjoyed. I ran out of things to say in therapy. We already worked through my childhood, my trauma, my kids and ended up with awkward silences.

Diagnosis and treatment made a difference
Things changed for the better when my sleep apnea was diagnosed in 2008. I had a sleep study and I began treatment with a CPAP. My anxiety did improve with the CPAP. It wasn’t completely gone; anxiety is, after all, a complex condition affecting all aspects of life.

There is no doubt having uninterrupted sleep helped my mental health enormously. I particularly noticed my chest wasn’t pounding upon waking anymore. I no longer felt like I was being chased by a bear.

Appreciating the silver lining
A silver lining to my late diagnosis was the fact that I had already completed a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy course and discussed every bothersome issue in therapy. I had also incorporated regular yoga and meditation into my routine. Now when feelings of anxiety arise, I have a toolkit ready to go to help me navigate the overwhelm.

Pay attention to your symptoms
Anxiety seems to be everywhere these days but it can be a clue that someone is suffering with sleep apnea. It’s my hope that people pay close attention to their symptoms. If anxiety is accompanied by daytime sleepiness, brain fog, snoring, or any of the other common symptoms of sleep apnea, request a sleep study for further investigation.
Sleepster

INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#2
RE: Anxiety and Sleep Apnea
Interesting and a great find.
Dave

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEBSITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#3
RE: Anxiety and Sleep Apnea
The physical side effects of stress and anxiety are caused by our autonomic nervous system which has two sides, sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest). Anything that triggers our sympathetic nervous system can create the exact same physical and mental issues that stress and anxiety can cause. Apnea is one of these causes, it literally triggers your sympathetic nervous system so as to try and keep you from suffocating in your sleep. Watchpat tests used for apnea don't monitor breathing but rather monitor peripheral arterial tone (a measurement related to autonomic nervous system reaction), that really makes it obvious how closely linked anxiety and sleep apnea can be (especially when you further consider that this is happening in your sleep when body is supposed to be relaxing and healing itself).
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#4
RE: Anxiety and Sleep Apnea
The way that I explain sleep apnea is that every time you stop breathing your body stages a mini panic attack to kick you awake and start your breathing. Then you promptly fall back asleep, and either stop breathing again and another mini panic attack, or you breathe for awhile reasonably well. As long as you are looping through the sleep->suffocation->panic->arousal->breathe->sleep->suffocation->panic->arousal->breathe->sleep->etc. cycle your body is marinating in cortisol stress hormones. Then when you break the cycle for awhile and get enough oxygen, your body declares the emergency over and your kidneys go and flush the cortisol out. So not only do you wake up with heart pounding and mind racing like you are running from a bear, but you also wake up every hour or two with your back teeth floating, and by morning are seriously dehydrated.

I've maintained for years that a big problem with sleep medicine is that doctors go all freaked out by oxygen desaturations, but they think sleep deprivation is a sign of toughness to brag about. Listen to them talk about being interns and going 90-some hours with no sleep! But they imagine that somebody with apnea is going to stop breathing and die from lack of oxygen and are all hepped up to do something about THAT! But in fact none of us with plain old sleep apnea is in any danger of just "forgetting" to breathe -- what's killing us is that our own bodies are perfectly capable of massive reactions to the breathing halts. And over time we just wear out from all of the panic!

One thing that I don't get at all is how people tolerate machines with no data. When they told me last fall that I didn't have apnea and should stop using the CPAP, my reaction was OMG how can I go to sleep without the ability to check my data later and find out what happened while I was asleep?
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#5
RE: Anxiety and Sleep Apnea
Explains a lot, considering I'm 99% certain my CSA is linked to the dysautonomia I struggle with (which also routinely gets misdiagnosed by doctors as anxiety too, especially in women).


See my comparison of Viatom/Wellue and CMS50F oximeters here.

Not a doctor, definitely not your doctor, all advice is given as-is and represents simply my own understanding as a fellow patient and OSCAR user.
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#6
RE: Anxiety and Sleep Apnea
(05-18-2021, 10:25 PM)cathyf Wrote: The way that I explain sleep apnea is that every time you stop breathing your body stages a mini panic attack to kick you awake and start your breathing. Then you promptly fall back asleep, and either stop breathing again and another mini panic attack, or you breathe for awhile reasonably well. As long as you are looping through the sleep->suffocation->panic->arousal->breathe->sleep->suffocation->panic->arousal->breathe->sleep->etc. cycle your body is marinating in cortisol stress hormones. Then when you break the cycle for awhile and get enough oxygen, your body declares the emergency over and your kidneys go and flush the cortisol out. So not only do you wake up with heart pounding and mind racing like you are running from a bear, but you also wake up every hour or two with your back teeth floating, and by morning are seriously dehydrated.

I've maintained for years that a big problem with sleep medicine is that doctors go all freaked out by oxygen desaturations, but they think sleep deprivation is a sign of toughness to brag about. Listen to them talk about being interns and going 90-some hours with no sleep! But they imagine that somebody with apnea is going to stop breathing and die from lack of oxygen and are all hepped up to do something about THAT! But in fact none of us with plain old sleep apnea is in any danger of just "forgetting" to breathe -- what's killing us is that our own bodies are perfectly capable of massive reactions to the breathing halts. And over time we just wear out from all of the panic!

One thing that I don't get at all is how people tolerate machines with no data. When they told me last fall that I didn't have apnea and should stop using the CPAP, my reaction was OMG how can I go to sleep without the ability to check my data later and find out what happened while I was asleep?

Brilliantly put. Mirrors my life for the past ... god knows how long
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