Treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is so important. And what makes it extremely important to treat sleep apnea is because we want to keep our memories. New research now suggests that OSA may impair a person’s ability to form meaningful memories about their personal life. In turn this could be a sign of depression.

In this study, researchers found that sleep apnea impairs a person’s ability to form autobiographical memories, which refers to a person’s ability to memorize specific episodes and retain information about their personal lives.

What is autobiographical memory?

One major consequence of OSA is depression, which is higher in patients with sleep apnea. However, the mechanisms behind this connection are unclear. If you have impaired autobiographical memory, it is often paired with depression.

Autobiographical memory is a memory system consisting of episodes recollected from an individual’s life. This is often based on a combination of episodic (personal experiences and specific objects, people and events experienced at particular time and place) and semantic (general knowledge and facts about the world) memory. It is ultimately a type of explicit memory.

Because sleep apnea is a significant risk factor for depression, it is important to better understand the neurobiological mechanisms at work. This can help improve the mental health of so many people.

Contact Dr. Patel at Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia to treat sleep apnea and protect your memories.