Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. It can occur in people of all ages, but it is more common in men and people who are overweight. It is a serious condition that can lead to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.
In the context of psychology, sleep apnea may be relevant because it can cause or contribute to a variety of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and cognitive problems. For example, a person with sleep apnea may have difficulty falling or staying asleep, which can lead to fatigue and difficulty functioning during the day. They may also have trouble concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions, which can affect their work or school performance and overall quality of life.
Treatment for sleep apnea typically involves a combination of lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and the use of special devices, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, to help keep the airways open during sleep. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct structural abnormalities that contribute to the condition.