What is sleep apnea?

One of the most common sleeping disorders plaguing the modern population is known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea (pronounced AP-ne-ah) is a disorder that affects breathing during sleep, which means breathing can be too shallow or there might be periods when breathing stops for a few seconds. Usually, those who suffer from sleep apnea are completely unaware of their condition. The disruptions in your breathing can happen as many as 30 times in an hour and can move you out of deep sleep, causing you to wake up tired.

Sleep apnea can disturb the quality of your sleep to the point that it starts to affect your waking life. Read this article to find out more about this sleeping condition.
Sleep apnea can disturb the quality of your sleep to the point that it starts to affect your waking life. Read this article to find out more about this sleeping condition.

Luckily there are many ways that you can treat sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a chronic health condition that needs to be treated as soon as you realise that you are suffering from it. In fact, this sleeping condition is one of the biggest causes of sleepiness during the day. As mentioned before, sleep apnea is a largely undiagnosed illness and it cannot be picked up in a blood test, but once the diagnosis has been made, it is treatable.

Usually, a sleeping partner, or family member, will uncover the illness. Loud snoring and pauses in breathing are very noticeable to those around you, so chances are if you have sleep apnea you will be alerted to the sleeping condition.

A brief overview of sleep apnea

Collapsed breathing passages or blocked breathing passages are the primary cause of this sleeping condition. This type of condition is known as obstructive sleep apnea and shallow breathing is the result. Not enough oxygen going to the brain can cause headaches and of course there is the issue with tiredness during the day. This condition is also going to cause the sleeper to move abruptly from deep sleep back into light sleep.

The other type of sleep apnea is known as central sleep apnea and it is far more uncommon. This kind of condition is more common among those who have existing medical conditions or who are using certain kinds of medication.

Should you be suffering from sleep apnea, the chances are you have already realised how this condition can affect your life. So while it is a condition that is very difficult to diagnose, there are a few symptoms that you should be aware of.

The symptoms of sleep apnea

  • Waking up with a dry throat, or a very sore throat
  • Snoring loud enough to wake yourself up
  • Waking up during the night from a choking sensation
  • A lack of energy during the day or feeling very sleepy throughout the day
  • Feeling sleepy while driving
  • Having headaches first thing in the morning
  • Experiencing restless sleep night after night
  • Suffering from forgetfulness or experiencing mood changes
  • Experiencing insomnia

Should you have one or more of these symptoms you might want to consider visiting a doctor, who may ask that you have a sleep apnea test. This can be done in a sleep disorder clinic or it can be done at home.

This sleep test, also called a sleep study, can consist of a multiple-component test that transmits the data from your sleep such as your physical activities, including breathing. This equipment is portable, depending on who is doing the testing, and will go a long way towards helping to identify the condition.

Electrodes are placed on the face and scalp and they send data back to the measuring equipment. The data is generated by brain and muscle activities, and along with belts around the waist measuring breathing, the doctor will be able to get a full idea about your sleeping patterns. The amount of oxygen in your blood will also be measured throughout the night.

Treating sleep apnea

Now that the tests have uncovered that you suffer from sleep apnea, you will need to know what treatments you can consider using. The treatments for sleep apnea range from changing aspects of your lifestyle to losing weight. Depending on what the cause of your condition is, there are a number of things that you can do. Sometimes the condition is caused by drinking alcohol or taking sleeping tablets or even smoking and can be easily treated by simply giving up a bad habit.

If lifestyle changes are not helping, the next thing that you will need to do is look at the specific machinery that will help with your breathing. Sleeping with the assistance of what is known as a CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) Machine, will provide you with a continuous flow of air into the nose ensuring that you will be provided with air throughout the night. This is possibly the most common treatment currently available.

In more extreme cases, surgery might be the only option available, however, there is no need to worry. Your doctor will evaluate the reasons for your sleep apnea and then decide if such a drastic measure will be necessary. Surgery can be an option in cases where the jaw is too small, if the patient has a deviated septum or if the patient has large tonsils.

While The Mattress Warehouse cannot give medical advice, if you think you might have sleep apnea, it is best to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. If you are looking for beds for sale, we are the mattress company to buy from. With a wide range of the very best bed brands in South Africa, we offer you the opportunity to buy a comfortable bed at a reasonable price. Contact us today or shop through our website to find the best bed, and transform the way that you sleep.