Sleep Better Live Better
Most of us don’t think of snoring as something to be overly concerned about. However, frequent, loud snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea, a common and potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep. Although sleep apnea is treatable, it often goes unrecognized. Learning how to identify the warning signs and how to distinguish it from normal snoring, are the first steps to overcoming sleep apnea and getting a good night’s sleep.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea affects the way you breathe while you are sleeping. Untreated sleep apnea causes breathing to be briefly interrupted or very shallow during sleep. These breathing pauses typically last between 10 to 20 seconds and can occur up to hundreds of times a night, taking you out of your natural sleep rhythm. As airflow stops during a sleep apnea episode, the oxygen levels in your blood drops. Your brain responds by briefly disturbing your sleep enough to kick start breathing—which often resumes with a gasp or a choking sound. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you probably won’t remember these awakenings. Most of the time, you’ll stir just enough to tighten your throat muscles and open your windpipe. As a consequence, you spend more time in light sleep and less time in the deep, restorative sleep. The result is you feel less energetic, mentally sharp, and productive the next day.
This chronic sleep deprivation results in daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes, poor concentration, depression, overeating, and an increased risk of accidents. Sleep apnea can also lead to serious health problems over time, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and weight gain. With proper treatment you can control the symptoms, get your sleep back on track, and start enjoy being refreshed and more alert every day.
Common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea
- Morning headaches
- Memory or learning problems and not being able to concentrate
- Feeling irritable, depressed, or having mood swings or personality changes
- Waking up frequently to urinate
- Dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up
If these symptoms exist for you talk to Dr. Valle about a sleep appliance to help you get back on track for important recuperative sleep habits.