Have you ever woken up with the feeling of short of breath or gasping for air?
Or maybe you snorted yourself awake? It's easy to laugh it off, however, there may be an underlying sleeping condition causing you to snort.
It is called Sleep Apnea and we are going to explore this sleeping disorder in detail in our sleeping disorder series.
If you are unsure if you have a sleeping disorder you can take our QUIZ to see if you are exhibiting any of the common symptoms.
Snoring, restless sleep and waking up feeling like you haven't slept are all symptoms of sleep apnea, a serious condition in which breathing is frequently interrupted during sleep. For people with this common disorder, breathing is paused for up to 10 seconds, causing them to jolt from deep sleep just enough to take a deep breath, only to fall back asleep again and so the cycle continues. According to World Sleep Day, depending on the severity, this can happen a few times up to a hundred times a night.
When this occurs repeatedly through the night, it can take a toll on your physical and emotional well-being. Persistent lack of quality sleep from sleep apnea can lead to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability and an increased risk of accidents. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute found Sleep Apnea can also increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and chronic kidney disease.
Sleep apnea occurs where there is an airway obstruction or a disconnect between the brain and the body.
Of the types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. It's characterised by the airway becoming blocked or partially blocked during the night causing difficulty in breathing.
A less common type of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea which occurs when the brain doesn't signal your body to take a breath. Central sleep apnea doesn't usually give rise to snoring so can sometimes be left unnoticed or untreated.
Mixed (or complex) sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
If you have a bedtime partner, you may be told that you snore or you have stopped breathing during sleep.
Signs of obstructive sleep apnea include:
Other symptoms include:
Sleep apnoea can affect anyone at any age, including children. Being overweight is one of the most common contributing factors. This is because fatty tissue can cause the throat to narrow and make it more difficult to breathe at night.
Other risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea include:
Like obstructive sleep apnea, men and middle-aged people are more likely to suffer from central sleep apnea. Other risk factors for central sleep apnea include:
The first step in treating central sleep apnea is to treat the existing medical conditions that are causing it.
So now that it looks like you are exhibiting some of the symptoms, what do you do now?
In the next article in our Sleep Apnea series, we take a look at possible cures for Sleep Apnea and answer the question CAN SLEEP APNEA BE CURED?