Sleep apnea and memory problems: is there a common ground? Actually, there is. People often underestimate the power of good sleep. On the outside, our body is taking a complete rest but on the inside, the magic happens. A great part of this magic is connected with memory. During the stages of deep sleep, our brain processes and sorts out all the information gathered throughout the day. And this is the point where memory loss and sleep apnea meet.
The link between sleep apnea and memory loss symptoms is backed by recent researches. It shows that people with sleep breathing problems are inclined to losing memory further than the ones without such problems. Let’s find out more about it.
How does sleep apnea cause memory problems?
The secret to understanding ‘How does sleep apnea affect memory?’ is hidden in the structure of our sleep. If you suffer from sleep apnea, your airways get blocked during bedtime and you fail to breathe normally. Be it caused by muscle or brain malfunction, your body’s reaction is the same: WAKE UP! Such micro-awakenings can happen many times overnight and prevent you from reaching deep sleep which is crucial for memory processes.
Another side of the explanation ‘Why is sleep apnea linked to memory loss?’ is subject to physiology. The regular flow of oxygen keeps our brain in shape. Once your breathing gets interrupted due to sleep apnea, your brain faces temporary but multiple oxygen shortfalls. In a long-term perspective, such patterns can decrease not only memory but brain performance at all.
In addition, the effects of sleep apnea on memory have been found in the studies of common memory-related disorders. If you take a look at statistics for dementia or Alzheimer’s, the question ‘Does sleep apnea affect your memory?’ becomes clearer.
For instance, those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, a popular memory disorder that strikes people in their old age, tend to have sleep apnea 5 times more often than the ones without AD. Patients with normal night breathing postpone pre-dementia memory issues for up to 10 years.
Can sleep apnea cause memory loss?
Sleep apnea affects the functioning of your brain, namely the areas responsible for cognitive activity. You might ask: ‘Can sleep apnea cause memory loss irreversibly?’ Left untreated it can seriously damage your memory. However, the good news is that the grey matter of our brain which prevails in areas responsible for memory is prone to restoration. Can sleep apnea cause short term memory loss? Yes, it can. But timely and gradual response to the problem can make your memory great again!
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