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Johns Hopkins Health - Is Poor Sleep Making You Sad?

Summer 2012
Issue No. 17

Is Poor Sleep Making You Sad?

Date: July 18, 2012


Depression and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can go hand in hand. Stacey Ishman, M.D., M.P.H., an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor), sleep medicine specialist and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Snoring and Sleep Surgery, has some answers that can help put your mind to rest.

Is there a connection between poor sleep habits and depression?
There are studies that show associations between obstructive sleep apnea—which causes interruptions in breathing during sleep—and depression symptoms. It seems that depression is more common in people who have sleep apnea. It might have to do with the fact that sleep apnea leads to poor sleep quality, which can make you feel down or depressed.

Can treating sleep apnea relieve depression?
If you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea and depression symptoms, treating the sleep apnea can improve your mood and reduce your depression symptoms. For that reason, it’s a good idea for anyone who has symptoms of depression to be screened for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

I think a lack of sleep is affecting my mood. What can I do to fix this?
Improving your sleep habits can help. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, and make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and cool. Do something relaxing, such as reading, before you go to sleep.

How do I know if I have sleep apnea, and what can I do about it?
Snoring is the most common sign of sleep apnea. A sleep study can give you a definitive answer. Treatments include losing weight, changing sleep positions, wearing dental appliances and using a device called a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which helps maintain continuous airflow and steady breathing. Surgery is also an option for some people.

Free Online Seminar
Putting Sleep Apnea and Depression to Rest
Thursday, October 4, 7–8 p.m. EDT

Join otolaryngologist and certified sleep medicine expert Stacey Ishman, M.D., M.P.H., as she discusses the connection between sleep apnea and depression, and treatments that address sleep issues. To register, visit

 For more information, appointments or consultations, call 877-546-1872.