How Can Sleep Apnea Affect Your Brain?

May 18, 2024
Sad elderly man sitting on sofa

Your brain is at the center of everything you are, everything you experience, and everything you do. It is one of the most complex and amazing objects known to modern science! However, it can also be easily harmed by a number of factors, including sleep apnea! Just how might sleep apnea affect your brain, and what can you do to protect yourself? This blog post explains some key information.

Sleep Apnea and Your Brain

Sleep is vital for proper brain function. During the later stages of the sleep cycle, your memories are consolidated, making it easier for you to access them later. Your brain is also critical for emotional regulation; when you are well-rested, you are better equipped to maintain a positive outlook and avoid moodiness.

Unfortunately, sleep apnea disrupts the sleep cycle. It is a disorder that causes its victims to stop breathing multiple times each night. These pauses cause micro-arousals, which pull you out of the sleep cycle and prevent you from spending enough time in the deeper stages of sleep. Not only can this make you feel exhausted, but it can also seriously affect how your brain works.

Even a single night of poor sleep can lead to difficulty concentrating, a poor mood, and memory challenges. Long-term sleep deprivation as a result of sleep apnea is even more concerning. It can damage both the gray matter and white matter in the brain. There is even a strong association between chronic sleep problems and the onset of dementia.

How Can You Protect Your Brain from the Effects of Sleep Apnea?

Even though the human brain can easily suffer damage, it is also resilient. In fact, it may start to recover as soon as you start a routine of high-quality sleep! Here are some tips to help you conquer sleep apnea:

  • Get a sleep test. If you are not sure whether you have sleep apnea, ask your doctor or a sleep dentist to help you arrange for testing. Some symptoms that might indicate the need for a sleep test include daytime exhaustion, loud snoring, trouble concentrating, and mood swings.
  • Explore your treatment options. After you receive a diagnosis, you may find that you qualify for a custom oral appliance, a small device that can help you to breathe without disruption throughout the night.
  • Make appropriate lifestyle changes. You may be able to minimize the consequences of sleep apnea if you focus on making small lifestyle changes. For example, losing weight, getting enough exercise, and quitting smoking may all drastically reduce sleep apnea symptoms.

Sleep apnea can damage your brain! If you believe that it is affecting your memory and mood, now is the time to seek professional care.

Meet the Practice

Under the leadership of double board-certified sleep dentist Dr. Kenneth Mogell, our team is proud to provide custom oral appliance therapy for individuals with sleep apnea. If you are curious about this form of treatment, we would be happy to answer your questions and get you on the path to more restful nights and improved brain health. To learn more about how we may be able to serve you, contact any of our locations or call our Melbourne office at 321-265-3462.