If you wake up feeling fatigued every day and don’t know why, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Often marked by snoring, this condition involves repeated breathing interruptions during sleep. This means that, despite getting a normal number of hours of sleep, sleep apnea patients never get the deep sleep they need to wake up feeling refreshed.
How sleep apnea affects sleep
Sleep apnea sufferers may experience breathing interruptions anywhere from five to more than 100 times every hour they are asleep. Each episode cuts the body’s oxygen supply, causing either partial or complete awakening. As a result, the brain’s normal cycle of sleep stages is disrupted so that sufferers spend the entire night in the lightest stages of sleep. With low mood, poor memory and slowed reaction time the next day, sleep apnea sufferers are miserable and often without any hope of being redeemed by just one good night’s sleep.
Sleep apnea is dangerous
Chronic sleep deprivation due to sleep apnea is bound to reduce quality of life and worsen performance at work. However, it also raises risks of death in a number of ways. Accident risk on the road and on the job is much higher among people with untreated sleep apnea. Sleep apnea also deoxygenates the body, which is why sufferers are commonly out of breath in the morning. This lack of oxygen increases risks of heart attack, stroke and sudden cardiac death. Finally, sleep loss impacts the immune system, placing sufferers at greater risk of colds, cancer and other diseases.
Get back to healthy sleep
Mild cases of sleep apnea can sometimes be resolved with a few simple lifestyle changes. For example, keeping the bedroom cool has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of apnea episodes. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol late in the day can also reduce sleep apnea. Heavy meals can cause or worsen sleep apnea by increasing hyperventilation, so dinner should be kept light for healthy nighttime breathing. Finally, snoring pet owners may breathe easier by keeping their animal friends out of the bedroom.
Sleep apnea can drain the life out you if you leave it untreated. If you would like to learn more about sleep apnea, please download my free e-book. With sleep apnea in the past, patients can once again live a healthy life with ample productivity and pleasure.