signs of sleep apnea

Signs Of Sleep Apnea And Common Symptoms

Sleep apnea is a relatively common sleep disorder, and the signs of sleep apnea are characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses are called apnea. The pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a minute or more, and there is a wide range of severity. The pauses in breathing can happen as little as 5 or 6, or as many as 30 or more times an hour.

There are three types of apneas during sleep: central, obstructive and complex sleep apnea (the latter which is a combination of the first two). In central apnea, breathing is interrupted by a lack of respiratory effort. In obstructive apnea, breathing is interrupted by a physical block of the airflow despite the effort being made. Snoring is common with obstructive apnea. Complex apnea is a combination of both central and obstructive apnea.

This disorder can be diagnosed with a sleep apnea test called a polysomnogram, which requires an over night stay at a clinic so you can be monitered while sleeping.

Signs of sleep apnea

The major symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Being tired during the day, regardless of how many hours you sleep at night
  • Long pauses in breathing
  • Choking and snorting sounds while sleeping

Other common signs of sleep apnea are:

  • Dry mouth and sore throat in the morning
  • Moodiness
  • Restless sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Frequent trips to the restroom during the night

The signs of sleep apnea can be difficult to identify since they occur while you are sleeping. Most people will become aware of symptoms when their bed partner mentions them. However, if you suspect you are exhibiting signs of sleep apnea, you could always video tape yourself while you sleep to get a better idea of what is going on.

It is important to remember that not everyone who snores has periods of apnea during sleep, and not everyone who has this disorder snores either. The biggest sign of apnea during sleep is how you feel during the day. Normal snoring is not likely to interfere with your sleep enough to make you feel chronically tired every day.

Anyone can have periods of apnea during their sleep, regardless of their age or gender. However, there are some factors that may increase your risk. You are at a higher risk if you:

  • are male
  • are overweight
  • are over the age of 65
  • are a smoker
  • are related to someone who has this disorder
  • have a deviated septum
  • have allergies or asthma

Treatments for sleep apnea

While being diagnosed with this disorder may be scary, it is important to remember that it is a treatable condition. There are many things you can do on your own to help if you have mild or moderate periods of apnea during sleep.

Some simple lifestyle changes like losing weight, avoiding alcohol, sleeping pills, caffeine and heavy meals before bed can all help lessen mild apnea during sleep.

You can also try sleeping on your side, elevating your head while you sleep, and using breathing strips to open nasal passages.

While all of these tips may provide some relief, home remedies are no substitute for being treated by your doctor. Always seek a medical consultation if you suspect you suffer from sleep apnea.

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