Spatial Memory Problems Linked to Sleep Apnea

Although sleep apnea is completely treatable sleep disorder, it goes untreated far too often. Yet another link has been found between sleep apnea and the brain. A study conducted by the NYU Langone Medical Center found that sleep apnea can affect your spatial memory. Your spatial memory is responsible for recording information about your environment and your orientation in the environment. The small study conducted by these researchers found that it is hard for people that suffer from sleep apnea make it hard to remember things like where they left their house keys.

The study was conducted on a small group of people with severe sleep apnea. They were asked to complete a puzzle before sleep and after sleep. The study participants with untreated sleep apnea performed worse on the puzzle after their night of sleep than prior to their sleep. It seems the brain cannot properly recuperate during a night of sleep which is interrupted by sleep apnea. This disorder can cause significant problems because it disrupts your regular sleep patterns and waking you up from the deepest stages of sleep. The findings of this study can change the way doctors assess patients, including screening for memory loss and forgetfulness.

The director of the study Dr. Andrew Varga says, “We’ve shown for the first time that sleep apnea, an increasingly common medical condition, might negatively impact formation of certain memories, even when the apnea is limited to REM sleep…Our findings suggest memory loss might be an additional symptom for clinicians to screen for in their patients with sleep apnea.” Having sleep apnea can cause serious problems with your health and it has now been linked to problems that may affect your brain. The link does not prove cause and effect but it does prove that sleep apnea can harm your memory.

Sleep apnea is perfectly treatable through the use of a CPAP machine once the condition is diagnosed by a physician. The doctors at FusionSleep are dedicated to quality care for every patient. If you believe you are suffering from sleep apnea or simply want to get assessed for a sleep disorder, contact us today to schedule your first appointment.