Sleep apnea linked to memory issues, study finds

Credit: Unsplash+

Imagine trying to sleep but repeatedly stopping and starting your breathing without even realizing it.

This is what happens to people with sleep apnea, a condition that can lead to less oxygen in the blood during sleep.

Those with sleep apnea might find themselves gasping or snorting in their sleep, waking up with headaches, or feeling foggy and unable to concentrate during the day.

Dominique Low, MD, MPH, from the Boston Medical Center and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, led a study that suggests a link between sleep apnea and problems with memory or thinking, known as cognitive issues.

This research is about to be shared at a big gathering of brain experts in Denver. While the study doesn’t say sleep apnea directly causes these cognitive issues, it shows that people with sleep apnea seem more likely to experience them.

The study involved over 4,000 participants who answered questions about how well they sleep and how their memory and thinking skills are doing.

Specifically, they were asked if they snort, gasp, or stop breathing in their sleep and if they have trouble remembering things, feel confused, have a hard time focusing, or struggle with making decisions.

Out of the participants, 1,079 reported having symptoms of sleep apnea. Among these, 33% also reported having memory or thinking problems, compared to only 20% of those without sleep apnea symptoms.

After considering other factors that might affect cognitive health, like age, race, gender, and education, the researchers found that people with sleep apnea symptoms were about 50% more likely to report cognitive issues.

Dr. Low emphasizes the importance of catching sleep apnea early. Treatments, such as machines that help keep the airway open during sleep, are available and can make a big difference.

Alongside a healthy lifestyle that includes good sleep habits, eating well, staying active, keeping socially engaged, and mentally stimulated, managing sleep apnea could help protect memory and thinking skills, making life better overall.

However, there’s a catch to this study. The information was gathered from a single survey, and participants reported their own symptoms instead of being diagnosed by a doctor.

More research is needed, following people over time to see how sleep apnea and cognitive issues might be connected.

In short, this study sheds light on a possible link between sleep apnea and cognitive challenges, underlining the significance of early detection and treatment.

It suggests that looking after our sleep health is not just about feeling rested but could also be crucial for maintaining our mental sharpness and overall quality of life.

If you care about sleep, please read studies about herb that could help you sleep well at night, and these drugs could lower severity of sleep apnea by one third.

For more information about sleep, please see recent studies that coffee boosts your physical activity, cuts sleep, affects heartbeat, and results showing how to deal with “COVID-somnia” and sleep well at night.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.