Does having sleep apnea make me less intelligent?

Does having sleep apnea make me less intelligent?

Sleeping is something that most of us take for granted, without realizing that this process is as important to life and health as eating and breathing. When we don't get enough sleep, our body suffers in many ways: lack of sleep causes headaches, loss of concentration, as well as bad mood and hyperactivity in children. It can also cause other health problems, such as obesity, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes; and increase the risk of injury, since there are more chances of suffering a car accident.

If left untreated, Obstructive Sleep Apnea can cause very significant neurological problems, such as stroke, depression, peripheral neuropathy and non-arteritic ischemic optic neuropathy. Likewise, an important consequence of the Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) is the deterioration of cognitive functioning, several studies having shown that sleep apnea causes deficits in executive functions, attention and memory in both children and adults.

But does this mean that having sleep apnea makes us less intelligent?

Adults affected by sleep apnea often report the feeling of deterioration of their intelligence. This, of course, depends on how "intelligence" is defined. Intelligence, broadly defined, includes the ability of logic, abstract thinking, understanding, self-awareness, communication, learning, emotional knowledge, memory, planning, creativity and problem solving. If we break down all these individual elements and call them "cognitive processes", then sleep apnea effectively decreases cognitive processes, since it alters the quality and quantity of sleep, a factor that is very important to carry out most of these processes. There is also a large amount of evidence that suggests that concentration, a process necessary to begin processing the information necessary to learn, think and perform, is negatively affected. Therefore, and always according to the previous definitions, we could conclude that sleep apnea affects people's intelligence.

If you have trouble sleeping, you suffer constant fatigue, and / or think you may suffer from sleep apnea, call us at +34 933933185 or write to international@institutomaxilofacial.com to arrange a visit with an specialist.

Related:

The role of the maxillofacial surgeon in the treatment of Sleep Apnea

Video: Risk factors for Sleep Apnea

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