Are Sleep Apnea and Depression Connected?

Separately, sleep apnea and depression can be relentless, insidious and vitality robbing. When you suffer from either one, you wonder if things can get any worse.

It certainly can!

Combined, sleep apnea and depression can be even more debilitating.

And, as if this is not enough, if you are unaware you have sleep apnea depression can often go undetected or untreated. Many valuable years just slip away.

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea after years of deteriorating health and wrongly accepted that blissful sleeps would be only in my dreams. Although I took action to get a sleep study to determine if my sleeping quality was connected to my failing health, the connection between my sleep disorder and depression did not occur to me.

sleep apnea and depression

Sleep Apnea and Depression are Connected

It's only since the fog has lifted, after my sleep apnea was cured, have I realized that I was also depressed.

Why was I unable to recognize the sleep apnea and depression symptoms I endured most days?

I expect it was because I tend to maintain a positive outlook with an ability to smile in public when needed.

So whenever the notion of depression surfaced, I would always dismiss it, thinking this was just another one of life's challenges, "the blues". I hoped this phase would pass soon and it always did.

Looking around, there were many people worse off, so I'd focus on one of my many blessings. Interestingly, everything was so much better when I had a good night's sleep!

Depression Symptoms are Similar to Sleep Apnea Symptoms

It's only been in hindsight that I now understand why I didn't realize I was depressed –– depression symptoms are also symptoms of sleep apnea:
    •    tiredness, fatigue
    •    mental fog
    •    low energy levels
    •    lack of interest in daily activities
    •    feelings of worthlessness
    •    lack of motivation to pursue favourite activities
    •    trouble with concentrating
    •    difficulty in making daily decisions
    •    insomnia or increased need to sleep
    •    irritability
    •    depressed mood often daily
    •    feeling sad, empty or

Also, I realize now that when you're in a funk, you don't have the clarity of mind or energy to accurately assess your own state.

When my 3rd sleep apnea test in October 2009 confirmed I had cured my sleep apnea naturally and without a CPAP machine, this reinforced that the drug-free methods I had either designed or found through research, and incorporated into my daily routine, worked!

Once I started to sleep better, my depression and daytime sleepiness lessened. I'm now living my life with more energy and passion.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, be sure to arrange a sleep study through your doctor. Once you're diagnosed with sleep apnea, take immediate action to prevent  future stop-breathing episodes or snoring.

Untreated sleep apnea has been shown to cause potentially fatal or debilitating conditions, such as: stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, dementia/Alzheimer's, etc.

It's a serious disorder that must never go untreated.

Treated Sleep Apnea Helps Relieve Depression

Sleep Apnea and Depression Studies:

This first nationally representative 2012 survey,  published in the journal Sleepobserved an association between sleep apnea and depression.
9,714 American adults were studied.

In a more recent  study, researchers reported the link between sleep disorders and depression in men. 1,875 male participants between the ages of 35 and 83 over a period of 5 years were studied.  The results of this  Australian study was presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference in Denver, CO.

The study found that severe obstructive sleep apnea and excessive daytime sleepiness  were individually associated with the prevalence and onset of depression - the combination of both presented even greater risk.

Dr. Carol Lang, postdoctoral research fellow in the University of Adelaide's Department of Medicine stated:

"For now, if you have sleep apnea our advice is to simply be aware of the increased risk for depression and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. It is also important that people with depressive disorders raise any concerns about their sleep with their physician because often sleep problems are assumed to simply be a result of the depression itself and not investigated."

13 Depression Relieving/Sleep Enhancing Tips

Controlling sleep apnea symptoms will often help to relieve the depression symptoms. However, if this is not the case, these  depression relieving tips are worth trying.

If getting motivated is difficult, just start with one or two easy ones.

Begin slowly and continue to repeat them; especially the ones that lift your spirits. Add another tip when you're able.

sleep apnea and depression

• Exercise (even a 10 minute walk is beneficial)
• Spend at least 30 minutes absorbing outdoor light. (combine these first two tips to double your results, while economizing on your time)
• Join a laughing yoga class
• Join a support group
• Dance when not one else is looking. (If this works take a dance classes (great exercise ... and it's hard not to smile once you start moving to the music)
• Meet with a friend (you could also combine this with the first two tips)
• Do something nice for someone (for extra effect, do it anonymously)
• Keep a gratitude journal (start with the basics when you think there is nothing to be grateful for) ... you're breathing aren't you?, ...your warm bed, your cozy slippers, fresh air, etc.)
• Try massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, meditation, guided imagery
• Try CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
• Reduce or avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugar. Avoid drugs.
• Increase your fibre intake. ("an apple a day..." plus lots of other daily fresh vegetables and fruits)
• Focus on getting quality sleep

Now that I've made the sleep apnea and depression connection, it's easy to see that depression relieving techniques are sleep enhancing techniques too. See the Sleep Hygiene page for more sleeping tips.

The same can be said for the following natural dietary supplements recommended for depression. That is, these supplements are also recommended for improved sleep:
Vitamin D
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)
St. John's Wort

No one should have to endure the symptoms of depression and sleep shouldn't be something you just dream about either.

Depriving yourself of enjoying life to the fullest or risking the many inevitable health complications of sleep deprivation, especially sleep apnea and depression, is not an option.

There are proven ways to overcome sleep apnea and depression. ... I'm 'living' proof that it's possible to reclaim your health, vitality and joyful living.

Follow my example and try some of the suggested tips and links. You'll be amazed when you start enjoying significant improvements in your sleep quality.

Overnight results are possible. And know that sleep apnea and depression can be overcome without drugs.

The art of sleeping better, relieving your depression and getting your health back does take some effort on your part. However, your efforts will be rewarded with a blissful sleep that can happen as immediately as tonight.

Watching your health improve and experiencing a renewed zest for living is your added bonus.

See for yourself how these and other natural cures can help you overcome your sleep challenges.

Return from Sleep Apnea and Depression to Information on Sleep Apnea

Return from Sleep Apnea and Depression to Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

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