Link between snoring and cognitive impairment, according to research
It turns out that 50% of people who snore regularly are actually dealing with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition in which the muscles at the back of the throat can’t keep the airway open, resulting in brief but repeated pauses in breathing. .
The researchers wanted to find out how strong the relationship between sleep apnea and cognitive function is. so they studied the brain1 27 healthy middle-aged men with untreated OSA. The results? Participants with severe OSA had reduced alertness, executive function, short-term visual memory, social and emotion recognition than controls. Even the participants of moderate OSA had cognitive deficits compared to controls, although they performed better than those with a more severe condition.
Translation: Sleep apnea (which is characterized by loud snoring) is strongly associated with cognitive deficits in healthy men — even in middle age.
Researchers believe that low oxygen and high carbon dioxide in the blood, changes in blood flow to the brain, and neuroinflammation are the cause of these brain health problems. And over time, that’s not great news for cognitive longevity.