Have you ever driven somewhere and not remembered how you got there? Do you often feel like you could fall asleep while watching TV? Reading? During meetings or while talking with someone? These are all classic signs that you may not be getting enough sleep and sleep apnea could be the cause of the problem. If you’re dealing with sleep apnea in Post Falls ID, it’s because your body is restricted from getting enough oxygen at night. There are two different types.
- Obstructive sleep apnea happens when your upper airway becomes blocked many times while you sleep, reducing or completely stopping airflow. This is the most common type of sleep apnea. Anything that could narrow your airway such as obesity, large tonsils, or changes in your hormone levels can increase your risk for obstructive sleep apnea.
- Central sleep apnea happens when your brain does not send the signals needed to breathe. Health conditions that affect how your brain controls your airway and chest muscles can cause central sleep apnea.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea can include frequent loud snoring, gasping during sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, dry mouth, headaches, sexual dysfunction, decreased libido, and excessive nighttime urination. Microsleeping is also common among those who are sleep deficient. This refers to brief moments of sleep that happen when you’re normally awake, such as driving and not being able to remember part of the trip. In this case, lack of a good night’s sleep is not only inconvenient, but it can be deadly.
Sleep Apnea Impacts on Adults and Children
Adults are not the only ones who can suffer from sleep apnea. Children can experience the same lack of oxygen during sleep, but the symptoms may look different. Children who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea have exhibited overactive behaviors, acting out at school, worsening asthma and trouble paying attention in school. If you notice any of the symptoms in yourself or family and are concerned, you can talk to your physician and they may refer you to a sleep study, or test. By participating in a sleep study, your breathing can be monitored, and an accurately diagnose can be given.
Many people with sleep apnea wear a continuous positive air pressure machine (CPAP) at night and are encouraged to make lifestyle changes to improve the quality of their sleep. For some though, surgery may be an option. Whatever it takes, making sure that you get quality sleep should be a priority. Good-quality sleep supports healing and repairs to your body, helps support a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin), affects how your body reacts to insulin, and supports healthy growth and development. Being well rested also affects your body’s ability to fight germs and sickness as well as decreases your risk of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and stroke. With all the benefits that good quality sleep can bring to your overall health, don’t wait to contact your physician if you suspect you might have sleep apnea.