Snoring, Sleep Apnea & Real Damage To Your Intimacy

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

There are many things that can dilute the intimacy between couples. In this episode we’ll talk about how sleep apnea and snoring can be detrimental to your intimate relationships and your brain’s role in it.


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Debbie: I'm wondering, is there any study done on the tie with sleep apnea and possibly affecting Alzheimer's, or any other brain disorder?
Dr Daniel Amen: Untreated sleep apnea doubles your risk for Alzheimer's disease. With sleep apnea, what we see on scans is there parietal lobes, top-back part of the brain, and temporal lobes start to drop in activity. A lot of people don't know that sleep apnea can clearly affect intimacy, because with sleep apnea usually comes snoring, so people are often not sleeping together. Stop breathing multiple times at night, so you freak out your partner because they think you're dead or you're on your way to being dead, and you have lower overall blood flow to your brain, and that means you're chronically tired, you're more depressed, you're more impulsive, you say stupid things that if you had good blood flow to your brain you would have inhibited, right?
Like when your wife says, "How do you look on me?" - "Not that good." It's not the thing to say. One of the things I've learned is when she goes, "How does this look on me?" My first comment is, "Well, how do you think it looks on you, sweety?" At least I know my position before I take one. Getting sleep apnea evaluated and fully treated. There are people here, there are guys here and women here, who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, but have then blown it off.
Debbie: Also impacts. I'm wondering what the impact might be, possibly for the spouse, who's also having her sleep ... Do I sound like I'm trying to help myself here? Her sleep is being interrupted.
Dr Daniel Amen: It's terrible. When no one is getting sleep, there's more irritability, there's less sex, there's less money because people don't make good decisions. As before, you always want to protect the blood flow to your brain and everywhere else.
Debbie: Thank you.
Dr Daniel Amen: Thank you, Debbie.
Speaker 11: One of the things in my practice I never used to screen for were head injuries. It seems like there's a lot of problems with intimacy that happened after a car accident, after getting knocked out ... Kick-boxers, obviously. The head injury seems to be, many times, a breakdown in intimacy from that injury. Following up to that, what do you think about the use of hyperbarics and oxygen treatment to treat those kind of injuries?
Dr Daniel Amen: If you asked me what is the single most important thing you've learned from doing all these brain scans, I would go, "Mild traumatic brain injury changes people's whole lives and no one knows about it." When I first started doing scans, I had no clue of this. I'd ask people, "Did you ever have a head injury?" They'd say no. I'd scan them. They'd have a big dent in their left frontal lobe. There's not many things that give you that scan pattern, and then I'd go, "Are you sure?" They'd go, "Well, I don't think so," and then I'd ask them five times, "Have you ever fallen out of a tree, fell off a fence, dove into a shallow pool?" You could not believe ... Well, you can, because I know you know this, the number of people who say, "No, no, no, no."
Then, this first guy who did this to me, he said, "Oh my goodness. I was seven years old and I fell out of a second story window. Do you think that counts?" Maybe. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is very interesting. We know it's actually approved by Medicare. Not for the brain. How stupid; but for fourteen wound healing indications. What we've seen, because we've done many before and after scans with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, is it boosts brain activity, and that's what you want after a head injury, is you want to get some of the brain activity back. It's my contention that when your brain works right, you work right. When your brain has trouble, you have so much trouble in your life.
Speaker 11: Thank you.
Dr Daniel Amen: Thank you.