Sleep Apnea and the Brain

Sleep Apnea and the Brain

There is an old Irish proverb that says, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” And, at Millennium Smiles in Frisco, Texas, we have to agree. But, what if you are not getting good sleep and missing on the rest and restoration that a night of sleep brings? Did you know that lack of good sleep over long periods can cause a decline in your cognitive health and memory function? This is especially true of those individuals living with sleep apnea, a serious health condition that can affect both your oral and overall health.

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is critical for our overall health. It influences our mood, energy, hormones, immune system and how our brain performs.

Sleep also helps to consolidate your ideas, improves your attention span, increases your problem-solving capability and enhances your creativity level.

When we miss out on sleep because of sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, many physiological changes occur that can negatively that can impact how you learn and retain information.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a severe sleep disorder in which breathing is interrupted during sleep. In some cases, this happens because of an obstruction, such as the throat muscles relax or the tongue falling back into the throat.

Sleep Apnea Affects on the Brain

When breathing is interrupted during sleep, your body will not get to the REM stage of sleep, where dreaming occurs. During the REM cycle, memory and emotional regulation also happen and REM plays a pivotal role in memory and other cognitive functions.

Sleep apnea can also cause loud snoring, daytime fatigue and an increase in amyloid protein, a protein associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Other consequences of sleep apnea include an increase in heart disease, high blood pressure, the chance of diabetes and the risk of metabolic syndrome.

If sleep apnea sounds dangerous, that’s because it is. Signs of the condition include:

  • Snoring
  • Waking up gasping for air
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom at night
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating
  • Hyperactivity

These signs and symptoms can be an indicator of a serious sleep disorder. If you’re exhibiting these signs or know someone who is – adult or child – please call Millennium Smiles in Frisco, Texas, at 972-987-4899 today for a sleep consultation.