Are You New To Sleep Apnea Treatment?
- Are you having trouble sleeping at night and think that it’s time to see your GP?
- Have you seen a sleep professional, and they’ve talked to you about sleep apnea?
- Or, have you actually begun treatment?
No matter what stage you’re at, knowledge is power. The more you know about sleep apnea and its treatment, the more comfortable you feel about it all.
At EdenSleep, we recommend that you take the time to do your research, but it can be quite time consuming and overwhelming.
So, we decided to put all the information in one article, so you can read through all the basics to get you started on your journey to a better night’s sleep.
What is sleep apnea?
Let’s start with the definition.
Sleep apnea (sometimes spelled sleep apnoea) is a sleep disorder where your natural breathing pattern is briefly paused or interrupted entirely during sleep.
There are a few different types, but the most common is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This occurs when the muscles in your throat controlling your upper airway relax too much while you are asleep. If this happens, the upper airway becomes constricted and you may begin to take shallow breaths or snore. If the airway constricts even further, it may become completely obstructed, causing you to temporarily stop breathing.
Sensing this, your brain will force you to cough, choke or snort to clear the airway passage and resume normal breathing again, which disrupts your sleeping state. Typically, you won’t fully wake or even remember it the following morning.
This wouldn’t be so much of an issue if this only occurred occasionally, however, people with sleep apnea experience this several hundreds of times a night! This continual disruption to your sleep patterns, combined with the constant restriction of oxygen results in a poor quality sleep every night.
Unfortunately, this takes a toll on your system and can put you at risk of other more serious health complications if left untreated, which is why treatment is available and should be considered.
What can cause sleep apnea?
The following factors are generally considered to contribute to sleep apnea:
- Throat muscle weakness
- Shape of your head and neck
- Swollen tissue such as adenoids or tonsils
- Sleeping medication
- Older age
- Nasal obstruction or congestion
- Relaxant alcohol or drugs
- Sleeping on your back
- Excessive fat in or around the throat due to obesity
- Narrow upper airways
However, keep in mind that everyone’s circumstances are different.
What are the typical symptoms
As you don’t tend to remember rousing from sleep throughout the night due to restricted breathing, the only way you may suspect you have sleep apnea is either because:
Your partner or friends overhear you excessively snoring or choking when you go to bed or you experience a combination of the following symptoms:
- daily fatigue
- poor concentration
- low energy
- morning headaches
- excessive sleepiness
- poor memory
- waking up unrefreshed
- depression or negative moods
Symptoms like these are frustrating enough every once in a while, but when they occur regularly, it may indicate that you suffer from sleep apnea, and it’s recommended to go see a Sleep Professional or a GP.
They can assess your situation and diagnose you correctly, because left untreated, sleep apnea can have a significant impact on your health.
How does sleep apnea affect your health?
Sleep plays an important role in maintaining both our physical and mental health.
The frequent disturbances in your breathing during the night caused by sleep apnea can prevent you from getting a healthy amount of quality sleep. This can lead to irritability and sickness which can impact your quality of life, your work and event your relationships.
But besides these more general impacts, there are more serious health concerns related to sleep apnea too. The lack of oxygen and strain on the body over longer periods of time can take its toll. Some of the other known risks linked to the disorder are hypertension, obesity, stroke, heart attack, Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and even increased susceptibility accidents.
However, there are treatments available to help manage the more general symptoms which affect their daily lives, as well as reduce the risk of the more serious issues.
It is recommended to seek professional advice about sleep apnea solutions as soon as possible to avoid ongoing and increasing health complications.