Although sleep apnea is primarily a physical condition, it can have a devastating effect on mental health. Untreated, sleep apnea has the potential to reduce the amount of oxygen which the brain receives: this can significantly impair memory, concentration and focus, as well as increasing the likelihood of anxiety and depression. In some cases, sleep apnea can trigger severe mental illnesses. Even when the condition is being managed, symptoms can persist. For some patients, using a CPAP machine be traumatic, resulting in an increased likelihood of low mood, anxiety, poor self-esteem and related issues. For all these reasons, paying attention to positive mental health management is vital. Here we take a look at five must-dos, when it comes to maintaining mental well-being.
Seek medical assistance
If you’re feeling low, a trip to your GP or healthcare provider is a must. Doctors have access to a range of different treatment options that could make a real difference. Remember that your mental health is important! Seeking medical support can help you get what’s needed to make a real difference to your well-being.
Reach out to others
Frequently friends, family and professionals will want to help, but they won’t know what you need and how you’re feeling if you don’t tell them! Telling others how you feel and requesting support is crucial. Often, the positive feedback that you are valued and needed can make all the difference.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Cutting back on the booze, stopping smoking and losing weight are time honoured additions to any programme of self-care measures for a reason: these habits really do make a difference to health and well-being. Studies show that sleep apnea sufferers who are overweight, drink excessively or who smoke are less likely to respond well to treatment, and experience greater limitations due to their condition.
Do things you enjoy
Making a pro-active decision to spend time on your hobbies frequently improves mood, as well as providing a positive alternative to more destructive behaviours.
Don’t forget about exercise!
Even if you don’t lose weight through exercise, becoming more active brings its own set of mental and physical benefits. Start gradually, pick an activity you enjoy and keep it up!