Sleep Apnea and Depression

I learned this September that I have moderate sleep apnea. An apnea is when you stop breathing during your sleep. A hypopnea is a similar event where your oxygen flow is decreased by greater than 50%. For me, this meant that during the night there were periods of time, sometimes as much as 45 seconds, when I am not getting adequate oxygen.Strangely enough, unlike most sufferers of sleep apnea, my events occur almost exclusively during REM sleep, which is our deepest and most restful sleep. Which is probably why I’m so damn tired all the time.

s8-elite.jpgI hope that my depression is also directly related to my apnea. As many of you know, I have dysthymia, which is a chronic form of mild depression. Since I don’t like the side effects from the medication commonly prescribed, I am hopeful that treating my sleep apnea will in turn help treat my depression. It was recently reported in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine that treatment of sleep apnea in patients with depression helped not only the apnea but the depression as well.

After a couple of sleep studies and a week or so of waiting on insurance, tonight will be my first night with my CPAP machine, which forces a controlled amount of air through my nose while I sleep. I have the S8 Elite by ResMed, which I was told was “the Cadillac of CPAPs” by my sleep technician.

I am happy to have air blown up my nose if it will make a difference.


  1. I want to commend you on getting treatment! I am sure you are not surprised that there are thousands of people who are not aware that not being able to get restorative sleep, by having untreated sleep apnea can lead to a whole array of health conditions,and depression can be one of them, not to mention heart disease, strokes, obesity and others.. so you have done yourself and your family a great thing!

    By the way… be encouraged to keep using the CPAP even though it may take some getting used to. Many people start but become CPAP intolerant..if that happens to you, ask you doctor about dental appliances. There are alternatives.. you can check out my blog for some more information

    Dr. Greenburg

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