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The Link Between Snoring and Sleep Deprivation


Snoring is more than just an annoying habit that inconveniences sleeping partners. It can also be the sign of something worse. Here are some important facts you need to know about snoring and its connection to sleep apnea.

Loud snoring, accompanied by daytime fatigue, may be a sign of a common disorder known as sleep apnea. This condition causes breathing to stop and start repeatedly during sleep. It can affect the mood, leave a person exhausted during the day, challenge relationships with bed partners, and even be dangerous to one’s health. It can also lead to poor concentration and an increased risk of accidents, as well as irritability and even depression. Physical health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, liver problems and weight gain are other possible results.

Sleep Deprivation's Effects on the Brain

Sleep is incredibly important for a variety of brain functions. We know that sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Sleep also helps get rid of harmful toxins that are present in the brain, such as beta-amyloid, a protein that plays a role in Alzheimer's disease.

If that's not enough, many aspects of executive functioning, such as working memory, can malfunction when drowsy. Many falsely believe that the body can become accustomed to sleep deprivation over time. However studies show that with chronic sleep deprivation, the brain's ability to maintain attention and focus continues to decline the longer someone is sleep deprived without any evidence that this dysfunction plateaus over time. For young children, sleep deprivation can even mimic the symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Other symptoms may include:

  • Loud and chronic snoring almost every night
  • Choking, snorting or gasping during sleep
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Waking up at night feeling short of breath
  • Daytime sleepiness and fatigue, regardless of the time you spend in bed
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Insomnia or waking up in the middle of the night, as well as restless or fitful sleep
  • Going to the bathroom frequently during the night
  • Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • Uncharacteristic moodiness, irritability or depression
  • Morning headaches
  • Erectile dysfunction

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