The condition of sleep Apena has been linked to depression. Sleep Apena is a condition which causes breathing to stop and gasping for air while sleeping.The condition, known as sleep apnea, occurs when a person’s breathing is paused or interrupted while sleeping. The pauses, which can last a couple seconds to a minute, can cut off oxygen from the brain and the rest of the body. Symptoms of the condition include snoring, daytime fatigue and restless sleep.
“When a person stops breathing like this, they are momentarily brought out of deeper levels of sleep,” said Anne G Wheaton, a CDC epidemiologist and lead author of the study. “They may not fully wake up, but they will not get the proper amount of rest.”
The study, published in the journal Sleep, analyzed nearly 10,000 American adults. Researchers found that the likelihood of depression in study participants increased along with the self-reported rate of gasping and stopping breathing while sleeping.
About 6 percent of men and 3 percent of women enrolled in the study reported having been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. Otherwise, participants had not been diagnosed with the disorder, but described symptoms of gasping, snorting, restlessness while sleeping and daytime fatigue.
“Mental health professionals often ask patients with depression about their sleeping habits, and there is a known link between depression and insomnia, but less about depression and this specific sleep disorder,” said Wheaton.
There are several ways to treat sleep apnea, experts said, including airway pressure masks that can be placed over the nose and mouth while sleeping to keep the upper airway passages open. Surgery is available to remove excess tissue around the nose and throat that can cause snoring and block air passages.
Despite the availability of treatment, Cartwright said about 80 percent of people who snort or stop breathing five or more nights do not seek treatment and go undiagnosed.
“[That] is a headline all by itself,” said Cartwright. “Couples get together to sleep together. Snorting drives them apart.”