Can Sleep Apnea Be Caused By Stress? What You Need To Know

If you believe you may have sleep apnea in Chapel Hill, you may be wondering what is causing your condition. Could stress have anything to do with it? In this blog from Brightside Family Dental, we’ll take a look at the connection between stress and sleep apnea, and explain everything you need to know.

Stress Has An Indirect Connection To Sleep Apnea

According to current research, stress does not have a direct connection to sleep apnea. There are no clear direct, physical connections between stress and sleep apnea.

While you may notice that high levels of stress interfere with high-quality sleep, stress alone is not a specific cause of sleep apnea. If you believe that you have apnea, there is likely a different cause.

However, stress can contribute to other nighttime health issues. Teeth grinding (bruxism), for example, is associated with higher levels of stress.

What Contributes To Sleep Apnea? Top Risk Factors & Causes

If stress does not contribute to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is the most common type of apnea, you may be wondering what factors may contribute to the development of this condition. Let’s take a look at a few top causes now.

  • Overweightness and obesity – OSA is much more common in individuals who are overweight or obese, as these conditions can lead to fat deposits in the upper airway, which may interfere with proper breathing.

  • Diabetes – Diabetes is associated with a higher risk of OSA. Diabetic people with OSA may experience further complications due to apnea. Pauses in breathing cause carbon dioxide buildup in the blood, which can contribute to higher insulin resistance. This can make it more difficult to manage diabetes properly.

  • Enlarged tonsils & adenoids or narrow airway – Some individuals have larger-than-average tonsils and adenoids or narrow airways due to genetic or developmental factors. This can restrict your breathing, and contribute to the risk of developing sleep apnea.

  • Chronic nasal congestion – OSA is much more likely to occur in patients who experience chronic nasal congestion and cannot breathe freely through their noses.

  • Alcohol use or use of sedative medications – Both alcohol and prescription sedative medications can cause the tissue in the airway to relax, which may contribute to your risk of sleep apnea.

  • Tobacco use – Smokers are more likely to have sleep apnea due to the harmful effects of tobacco use on the lungs and airway.

Apnea is typically not caused by any particular risk factor, but by a combination of them. So if you recognize one or more of the above causes and think you may have apnea, it’s important to get help right away.

Need Help With Sleep Apnea In Chapel Hill? Come To See Dr. Manish Mistry! 

As an experienced sleep dentist in Chapel Hill, Dr. Manish Mistry can work with you and your sleep doctor to treat your apnea with Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) and other treatments, and to ensure you can get a peaceful, restful night of sleep. So don’t wait. Contact us online or give us a call at (919) 338-7010 to schedule an appointment at our office and get started.

Dental Health for a Better Me

Visit us at:

26 Knox Way
Suite 400
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

See us on:

Mon. 7:00am-3:00pm
Tues. 8:00am-4:00pm
Wed. 11:00am-7:00pm
Thur: 11:00am-7:00pm
Fri: 8:00am-4:00pm