Sleep Apnea 101
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can cause health problems and even shorten your lifespan if it’s not treated. This is because sleep apnea can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep, which not only makes you tired but can also negatively affect your health over time. Sleep apnea can also impact your partner’s sleep. For these reasons, it’s important to know the symptoms so you can get treated promptly.
The Most Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
There are different types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, in which the tongue or throat muscles obstruct airflow, is the most common, but some people develop central sleep apnea, in which the brain fails to send the proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing, or complex sleep apnea, which is a combination of the two. They differ only in what causes you to stop breathing during the night. The symptoms are the same across all types of sleep apnea.
Not all snoring is caused by sleep apnea, but it is a symptom of the condition. If your partner informs you that you’re snoring loudly, then that may be a sign that you have sleep apnea.
Your Partner Notices That You Stop Breathing
Sleep apnea is characterized by episodes in which you stop breathing while you sleep. Because you’re sleeping, however, you may not notice this yourself. It can be difficult to determine why you’ve woken up in the middle of the night. But if your partner informs you that you stop breathing during sleep, you may have sleep apnea.
Waking up Gasping or Choking
If you wake up in the middle of the night gasping or choking, that could be a sign of sleep apnea. This is because if your airway has closed or narrowed, you’re not able to get enough air.
If you wake up frequently during the night, even if you don’t notice that you’re choking or gasping for air, or find that you have trouble staying asleep, it could still be a symptom of sleep apnea. Your body automatically wakes you up so that you can reopen your airway and start to breathe normally again.
If you wake up with your mouth feeling dry, this could be because of sleep apnea. This with sleep apnea may breathe through their mouths because they’re not able to breathe through their noses, something that can increase the risk of sleep apnea.
Waking up With a Headache
Waking up with a headache in the morning could indicate that you have sleep apnea. This is because your brain doesn’t get as much oxygen when you stop breathing while you sleep.
Hypersomnia is the opposite of insomnia. If you have insomnia, you have difficulty sleeping but if you have hypersomnia, you have difficulty staying awake. If you’re not getting enough sleep or your sleep is of poor quality because of sleep apnea, you may be sleepy throughout the day.
Trouble Paying Attention
Another side effect of not getting enough quality sleep is difficulty paying attention. If you’re not able to pay attention or concentrate, that could be a sign of sleep apnea.
Being irritable is also a sign of lack of sleep. If sleep apnea is preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep, you could find that you’re irritable more frequently.
How Can You Prevent Sleep Apnea Symptoms?
The only way to treat the symptoms of sleep apnea is to treat the sleep apnea. The best way to do this is to use a custom oral appliance. Unlike a CPAP machine, which unblocks your airway after obstructions have already occurred, a COA prevents the blockages from occurring in the first place by positioning the lower jaw further forward to prevent muscles and the tongue from collapsing back into the airway.
Are You Experiencing Sleep Apnea Symptoms?
Contact us to schedule a sleep test.
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