Impacts of Sleep Apnea on your Brain

Sound sleep is important for every individual. Many people face sleeping disorders that disrupt their sleep at night. Sleep apnea is a disorder that disrupts sleep. Those suffering from sleep apnea may experience irregular breathing. They may even stop breathing at times during sleep.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three different types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive sleep apnea.

The most common form of sleep apnea where the throat muscles relax.

Central sleep apnea.

The brain is not able to send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Complex sleep apnea syndrome.

This is a combination of both obtrusive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea.

The brain is not able to send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Complex sleep apnea syndrome.

This is a combination of both obtrusive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.


The following symptoms may indicate sleep apnea:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air while sleeping
  • Breathing stops during sleep
  • Morning headache
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersomnia
  • Irritability

How does Sleep Apnea Impact the Brain?

Sleep apnea has various effects on the body, and it also adversely impacts the brain. Ignoring the symptoms for too long may result in serious side effects. Serious side effects of sleep apnea on the human brain include:

Memory Loss

Memory loss from may occur from sleep apnea. People may experience moodiness, shortened attention span, fatigue, and trouble recalling short-term events. Those may also find it difficult to transfer short-term memory into long-term memory.

Change in the Shape of the Brain

One symptom that people face due to sleep apnea is tiredness or fatigue. People facing this problem often stop breathing. This starves the brain of oxygen. Chronic fatigue can lead to physical distress. This may result in measurable damage to the brain. A study at UCLA found sleep apnea suffers have a 20% decrease in mammillary bodies. These are important for memory storage.

Changes in the Functionality of the Brain

Another impact of sleep apnea concerns the function of the brain. In addition to memory loss, sleep apnea may also change the insular cortex of the brain. This could affect the functioning of the brain.

Poor Reasoning Skills

Sound sleep is very important for the brain. People with sleep apnea may have trouble concentrating and paying attention.

Delayed Reaction Time

Another common symptom of sleep apnea is a slower reaction time. This is due to mild sleep deprivation. It can be especially fatal when the person is driving or working in high-risk areas. A small delay in reaction time can lead to serious accidents and incidents.

Problem in Regulating Mood

Studies show that sleep apnea may result in anxiety, stress, and depression. Individuals suffering from sleep apnea have lower GABA levels. Gamma-aminobutyric acid, also known as GABA, is a neurotransmitter. It helps transport messages between the brain and the nervous system. This neurotransmitter helps regulate emotions. Lack of sleep results in lower GABA levels, leading to mood swings and irritability.

Other Impacts of Sleep Apnea

Additional conditions may result from sleep apnea. These include:

  • Daytime fatigue
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart issues
  • Liver problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Asthma
  • Acid Reflux

These are just a few of the common health issues that can result from sleep apnea.

What can you do if you have sleep apnea?

If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, you should consult your doctor. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, a CPAP machine can be used to achieve restful and restorative sleep.

What is a CPAP machine?

A CPAP machine continually supplies oxygen while a person is sleeping. It helps aid in proper breathing while the harmful impacts of sleep apnea are reduced. It is important to keep the CPAP machine clean. As with any medical device, there is a high chance pathogenic growth. Mold, bacteria and other pathogens can grow in in the CPAP device and tubing. Using a dirty CPAP machine can cause unwanted infections, cough and pneumonia. A CPAP cleaner keeps the machine components clean and free from pathogens. CPAP cleaner is made from effective, yet non-toxic activated oxygen or ozone solutions.


Talk to your doctor if you experience symptoms of sleep apnea. Symptoms include fatigue, mood swings, regular headaches, trouble sleeping, dry mouth, insomnia and snoring. Sleep apnea is a disorder that can easily be corrected if detected at an early stage. Simple lifestyle changes may improve your sleep naturally. These include meditation, reducing stress, sleep positioning, eating healthy and exercising. Despite implementing healthy lifestyle changes, some people may still require medical attention. Using a CPAP machine alleviates the negative impact of sleep apnea so that you can get a good night’s sleep. Achieving a restful and restorative sleep is paramount to overall health and wellbeing.

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