ANXIETY-related conditions have soared since the start of the pandemic, doctors in Spain have revealed.
Sleep apnea, the grinding of teeth and snoring have all increased due to the upset caused to everyday life and general uncertainty about what the near and far future holds.
In Malaga province alone there are now 22,000 people being treated for sleep apnea, according to figures from the provincial health department.
Orthodontist and digestive expert Alberto Cuevas told Diario Sur that the disruption of sleep can have serious consequences.
“The changes we have seen since the start of the pandemic are causing a significant rise in anxiety levels among the population,” he said.
“But we are also seeing a rise in breathing and dental problems, such as teeth grinding, sleep apnea and snoring, among others.”
Sleep apnea causes the sufferer to struggle to maintain a normal breathing rhythm while sleeping, causing them to repeatedly be awoken or unable to enter a deep sleep.
This has several knock on effects, often giving the person daytime symptoms such as morning headaches, irritability, depression, anxiety, personality changes, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, decreased libido and drowsiness while reading, watching TV and more worryingly driving.
It means sleep apnea can cause poor performance at work and occupational and traffic accidents.
If left untreated it can also lead to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems and strokes. It can also cause premature death.
Cuevas has advised anyone suffering from apnea to seek treatment.
Additionally, avoiding being overweight and having a balanced diet, daily physical activity will also help you rest better, he said.
The expert added that one should also reduce consuming caffeine products before bed, stop drinking and smoking and avoid large or heavy meals late in the day.