Snoring & OSA

The Connection Between Sleep and Mental Health: How a Sleep Specialist Can Help

October 26, 2023
The connection between sleep and mental health

Singapore’s fast-paced lifestyle can be both exhilarating and exhausting, often leading to inadequate sleep for many. This has far-reaching consequences as the vicious cycle of sleep deprivation does not just lead to physical health issues, but can also take a toll on one’s mental health. 

Keep reading to delve into the connection between sleep and mental health, explore common sleep disorders, and understand how a sleep specialist in Singapore can help you achieve a peaceful night’s rest. 

The Connection Between Sleep and Mental Health

Research has shown that insufficient sleep can exacerbate existing mental health conditions and even trigger new ones. 

  • Worsening Mental Health

When you are sleep-deprived, the brain’s ability to manage emotions is compromised, making you more susceptible to feelings of irritability, sadness, and anxiety. Coping with everyday stressors then becomes more challenging.

  • Impaired Cognitive Function

Sleep deprivation can impair cognitive functions, such as memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills. This makes it difficult for individuals to manage their mental health effectively.

Common Sleep Disorders That Impact Mental Health

Image of a man snoring and a woman cannot sleep

The relationship between sleep and mental well-being is intricate and understanding the common sleep disorders that frequently disrupt this balance is essential. 

1. Insomnia

One of the most prevalent sleep disorders in Singapore with a local reported rate of 15.3%, insomnia is a chronic condition that can persist for months or even years. It is characterised by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing non-restorative sleep. The relentless struggle to sleep can lead to increased anxiety, irritability, and frustration, contributing to or exacerbating conditions such as anxiety and depression. 

2. Sleep Apnea

While snoring is a hallmark of sleep apnea, it is not just about the noise — it is about interrupted breathing during sleep, which can have severe consequences for both sleep quality and mental health. The condition is characterised by episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep, causing snoring and frequent awakenings. It can lead to chronic fatigue and daytime sleepiness, affecting cognitive function and worsening mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Learn more: Snoring and breathing problems: Effects sleep apnea has on your health

How a Sleep Specialist Can Help

Patient in medical examination

Seeking help from healthcare providers such as a sleep specialist in Singapore is essential for regaining control over your sleep and mental well-being. 

  • Comprehensive Evaluation

When you visit a sleep clinic, a sleep specialist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your sleep patterns, identifying any underlying sleep disorders. This may include a sleep study in which your brain waves, the oxygen level in your blood, heart rate and breathing, and eye and leg movements will all be recorded and monitored. 

Learn more: 5 Signs You Need to Have a Sleep Study Performed

  • Integrated Treatment

A sleep specialist can also work closely with mental health providers to develop a tailored treatment plan. This plan addresses both the sleep disorder and any underlying mental health conditions, a holistic approach designed to address the root cause of the issue. 

  • Specialised Treatment

Depending on your specific needs, treatment options at a sleep clinic in Singapore might include behavioural therapy, medication, or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for sleep apnea

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Includes techniques to change negative thought patterns and behaviours related to sleep. It helps individuals develop better sleep hygiene practices, such as creating a relaxing bedtime routine, managing stress, and reducing activities that hinder sleep.
  • Medication: Prescribed medications for sleep can vary and may include sedatives, hypnotics, or medications to manage underlying causes of sleep disturbances. While medication can provide temporary relief and promote better sleep, it is important to monitor its use under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): This treatment involves using a CPAP machine, which delivers a continuous stream of air through a mask to keep the airway open during sleep. It is a snoring treatment that alleviates the fatigue and cognitive deficits associated with sleep apnea.

Quality Sleep, Quality Life

If you are tired of sleepless nights and the burden they place on your mental health, addressing the issue should be your priority. 

Dr Gan Eng Cern is an ENT Specialist in Singapore who treats a wide range of conditions including obstructive sleep apnea

Get in touch with us today!

    When Should You See an ENT Specialist in Singapore?

    • Any ear, nose or throat symptoms that you are troubled with or concerned about
    • Persistent blocked nose with mouth breathing or snoring

    Dr Gan Eng Cern

    Dr Gan Eng Cern is a distinguished ENT doctor with fellowship training. In addition to his clinical practice as an ear, nose and throat specialist in Singapore, Dr. Gan has contributed to the academic field as a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. He is recognised for his extensive research work, with numerous contributions to reputable international ENT journals. Dr Gan is also highly sought after as a speaker and has shared his surgical knowledge as a surgical dissection teacher at various prominent ENT conferences and courses.


    • 2020 – Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Best ENT Specialist (Expat Living Singapore)
    • 2016 – Best Educator Award (Eastern Health Alliance)
    • 2016 – “Wow” Award (Patient Compliment)
    • 2014 – Eastern Health Alliance Caring Award – Silver
    • 2014 – 19th Yahya Cohen Memorial Lectureship (awarded by the College of Surgeons, Academy of Medicine Singapore for best scientific surgical paper)
    • 2012 – Human Manpower Development Award (Ministry of Health, Singapore)
    • 2007 – Singhealth Best Doctor Award


    • MBBS – Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
    • MRCS (Edin) – Member of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    • MMed (ORL) – Master of Medicine in ENT (National University of Singapore)
    • FAMS – Fellow of the Academy of Medicine Singapore

    Why Choose Dr Gan Eng Cern


    Reliable & Reputable ENT Expert

    Experienced and patient ENT Specialist who has your best interests at heart. We aim to provide you with accessible and specialized care for any ENT condition in a comfortable setting.


    Friendly & Helpful Clinic Staff

    Our friendly staff will assist you to the best of our ability and we are happy to accept most insurance providers and assist with E-filing with relevant insurance providers or Medisave.


    Advanced ENT Equipment & Fully Equipped Facility

    Our ENT Specialist, Dr Gan Eng Cern, will be able to diagnose and offer personalised treatments for your specific ENT condition. You can expect a high level of ENT care in a spacious setting with in-house minor surgical, endoscopy, allergy testing and microscopy services.


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    There are various financial options available for you to ensure that you are able to receive the most optimal treatment and care. Our ENT clinic staff will be able to assist you with your medical insurance claims and work with your chosen healthcare organization to minimize the hassle and paperwork required. In some cases, you may be able to utilise the funds in your Medisave account to defray part of the costs of your treatment. As our clinic is accredited by the Medisave board, we are able to process your claims from your Medisave for certain clinic procedures.

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