Most people know how a random bad night’s sleep can negatively affect the next day. Unfortunately, for those who have sleep apnea, their quality of life is impacted every day. They not only wake up in the morning feeling exhausted, but the disorder can begin to cause various health issues. In addition to heart and memory issues, sleep apnea can even lead to unwanted thoughts. Read on to learn more about the connection between sleep deprivation and intrusive thoughts.
First Things First: What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects about 25 million Americans. This condition causes breathing to repeatedly stops and start while sleeping. Various symptoms include loud snoring, gasping for air while sleeping, awakening with a dry mouth, excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating while awake. It can also impact a person’s overall health, including causing heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Fortunately, this condition can be treated! By visiting a sleep dentist, they can confirm a diagnosis and offer treatment to restore your sleep and your good health.
The Role of Sleep Deprivation in Unwanted Thoughts
As patients with sleep apnea struggle to breathe throughout the night, they have trouble getting restful sleep. As a result, they can become sleep deprived, which can impact their life drastically.
A recent study from the University of York tested the ability of participants to try to control intrusive thoughts while they were either sleep deprived or well-rested. Sixty healthy participants were shown faces with photographs of emotionally negative scenes, such as a picture of a war zone. They were also shown neutral scenes, like a picture of a cityscape. After a night of sleep or total sleep deprivation, the participants were shown the pictures once again. They were then asked to try and suppress thoughts related to the scene.
What were the findings?
Compared to the sleep group, the sleep-deprived participants found it more difficult to keep unwanted thoughts from their minds. The group of rested people were successful at suppressing such thoughts, causing them to have more positivity in relation to the negative scenes after the suppression task.
Overall, the participants who had been sleep deprived experienced an increase in unwanted thoughts by nearly 50% compared to those who were well-rested. The results of this study confirm that lack of sleep can greatly impact people’s ability to control intrusive thoughts from entering their minds, especially for those who already struggle with mental health issues.
Why You Should Seek Treatment
It’s important to get sleep apnea treated so you can not only get the rest you deserve but improve your overall health. By receiving care, you will lower the risk of certain medical conditions, as well as have a more positive mental outlook by being able to successfully handle unwanted thoughts. This is especially essential for those who suffer from psychiatric conditions like depression, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder, as struggling with intrusive thoughts can be even more dangerous for mental health.
By seeking treatment as soon as possible for sleep apnea, you will not only protect yourself from being sleep deprived but the intrusive thoughts that come along with it.
About the Author
As a leading expert in the field of sleep dentistry, Dr. Kent Smith regularly hosts training seminars to help dentists and their team members with treating sleep apnea. He is the President of the American Sleep Breathing Academy and a member of several other prestigious organizations. To learn more about the training opportunities available to you, contact him through his website or by calling (817) 318-6352.