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Is There a Link Between Sleep Apnea and Rage?

Posted On April 2, 2014
link between sleep apnea and rage
April 02, 2014

It seems as though every morning when you drive to work someone either cuts you off, or decides to forget that a green light really means go. Instead of moving, the car in front of you just idles while talking on their cell or else puts on make-up in the rearview mirror. You feel as though you blood is boiling, and you would merely like nothing better than to ram the offending car in outrage. Then later in the day, your co-worker forgets to cap the carton of creamer, and the rest of the container spills all over your new shirt. You scream obscenities and want to strangle said neglectful person. Are these normal reactions to the described offenses? For the most part, you are shy and mild-mannered so is something else going on? Granted, you have not slept well for the last couple of months. In fact, you wake up struggling to breathe and have been meaning to follow your wife’s suggestion to get checked out for sleep apnea. So is there a link between sleep apnea and rage?

Link Between Sleep Apnea and Rage

Not getting adequate sleep can have far-reaching effects, short and long term, and sleep apnea can very well be the culprit. Sleep apnea, specifically obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is characterized as pauses in breathing throughout the night due to an obstruction in the individual’s airway. Oxygen is not getting into the circulation and to the brain. With disrupted sleep, people with OSA can experience moodiness, daytime sleepiness, poor concentration and memory issues. When left untreated, sleep apnea can negatively impact your health. In fact, your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes can rise astronomically.

As with any suspected medical problem, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis and seek treatment. Whether you have sleep apnea or another sleeping disorder, you need to recognize the fact that lack of sleep can impact your mood and cause you to easily fly off the handle. In the meantime, you can follow some easy steps to get your mood up and not filled with rage.

The first simple step can be as easy as establishing a set time to go to bed each night and to wake up in the morning. Whether it is a weekday or weekend, consistently following a set schedule can start the ball rolling to move away from an emotional rollercoaster ride. Other lifestyle modifications that can help are:

  • Cut back on alcohol and caffeine consumption. Alcohol can disrupt sleep in addition to heightening negative emotions. There is some truth that certain types of alcohol make people mean, and compound that fact with lack of sleep and it is just asking for trouble. And caffeine turns on the whole body and makes sleeping more difficult.
  • Learn how to relax. When people are under stress, they tend to have trouble sleeping. Take a yoga class or try meditation. Knowing how to cope and soothe frazzled nerves can offset days where sleep is less than ideal.
  • Get some exercise. It might be a curse word for some but exercise has a profound and beneficial effect on a person’s health in many ways. Consistent exercise can improve overall health by decreasing blood pressure, keeping the extra pounds at bay, enhancing sleep and elevating mood.
  • Think before you speak. If you are sleep-deprived and woke up on the wrong side of the bed, so to speak, take a couple of seconds to pause and think before you speak. After all, once the words are uttered, they are hard to take back.

If these hints don’t seem to help soothe the savage beast, the issue with emotional rage might need additional help from a physician. Seek treatment so that you can be safe along with others.

If you have sleep apnea and would like to explore available treatment options, please contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a free consultation.

About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Communications for Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America, manages all content and communications for the company.
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