If you believe insufficient sleep is only a minor problem which makes you feel fatigued and sleepy; think twice. Studies have linked sleep deprivation to numerous frightening medical issues, including dementia and heart disease. Now, new research suggests that inadequate sleep can also promote mental problems which can negatively affect our overall happiness.

Promoting Worry

Many people toss and turn at night due to worry. Unfortunately, research out of UC Berkeley indicates that sleep deprivation actually causes us to worry more. Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the study asked 18 healthy subjects to view an array of photographs consisting of disturbing or neutral images. Once the participants viewed the photos, they went one night without sleep before repeating the experiment. During both instances, researchers monitored the subjects’ brains using MRI. In the end, sleep deprivation appeared to cause much more neural activity in the subjects’ emotional brain regions, indicating heightened stress and anxiety.

The Implications

According to UC Berkeley researchers, their findings show that insufficient sleep can contribute to general angst and anxiety disorders. In fact, their study was so revealing, it could lead health practitioners to prescribe sleep therapy for people who suffer from panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

How it Applies to Sleep Apnea

Because it results in intermittent breathing problems, sleep apnea promotes insufficient sleep due to frequent waking. Unfortunately, this often makes it impossible for sufferers to attain the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep no matter what they do. Over time, this leaves sleep apneics exposed to several medical problems, while also making them more vulnerable to stress, anxiety and depression.

Reach Out for Help

By offering oral appliance therapy which creates a clear airway by adjusting the jaw, Dr. Dunayer provides an effective sleep apnea remedy. Patients enjoy comfortable, restful nights and better days, marked by reduced anxiety and more energy. To learn more, contact his office today.