Daytime fatigue is the consequence of untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), and we are poor judges of how impaired we are due to lack of sleep. And when we are driving, a lack of self-awareness of our own fatigue puts us and our passengers at risk for serious accidents. We frequently talk about “the impaired driver” concept, and think of “driving under the influence” of alcohol or drugs, but how about driving under the influence of fatigue or lack of sleep? It could be argued that individuals with a sleep disorder, who elect to forgo treatment, are irresponsible and culpable for the adverse consequences which may ensue from inadequate sleep. Of course, this sort of neglectful behavior is not prosecutable under the law.
There is a correlation between our mental health and emotional stability with respect to our quality of sleep. There is emotional dysregulation, anger, impatience, and poor judgment which are associated with inadequate sleep. With sleep deprivation, we lack the emotional stamina to deal with life’s stressors. Our emotional responses are controlled by a regulation between the amygdala and the frontal cortex in the brain. The connection and communication between these areas are impaired with sleep deprivation or sleep apnea.
Decision-making, reaction time, situational awareness, communication and memory can be impaired by as much as 50% due to inadequate sleep. Most mental illnesses are associated with sleep deprivation and sleep problems. Anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder are affected by sleep deprivation. Sleep allows us to protect our brain so we can perform at our peak, and have the emotional hardiness to deal with life’s stressors.
If you or someone you know is in need of a better night’s sleep, contact us for a no obligation consultation. We are the sleep specialists at Chevy Chase ENT located in the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. metro area dealing with sleep apnea and sleep-related problems. We can help diagnose your condition, recommend whether a sleep study would be beneficial, and offer you a variety of treatment options including CPAP, Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) and more.