Are you sleeping as deeply as you should be?
Sleep apnea is one of the biggest and most unrecognized challenges to good sleep. If you or your partner snores, especially loud snoring, it may be sleep apnea. Do your research on sleep apnea (see Mayo Clinic: sleep apnea overview) and make an appointment with a doctor that specializes in sleep disorders, such as Dr. Ruchir Patel, director of the Insomnia & Sleep Institute of Arizona. It is estimated that 1 out of 5 adults worldwide has sleep apnea¹ with most of those cases remaining undiagnosed. That is a lot of people (and their partners) suffering from a lack of good quality sleep.
What is sleep apnea?
The type of sleep apnea related to snoring is called obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. Apneas happen when the soft tissue at the back of our throat collapses, blocking the airway. Snoring is the body’s attempt to get enough air, and the louder the snoring, the more severe the degree of sleep apnea you are likely to have. An apnea is the moment the brain detects there is not enough oxygen in the blood, and it briefly wakes us up. This can happen hundreds of times in a night, preventing us from reaching deep stages of sleep. The apneas are so brief and fast that most of the time we never consciously realize we have woken up, and many people can sleep through the night not even realizing what is happening. That is why, other than our partner giving us a hard time about our snoring, many of us who have sleep apnea don’t even realize it. That was my case, and after recently being diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, I am hoping to get the word out to others who may also have it.
Sleep apnea, and the loss of sleep quality associated with it, can lead to daytime fatigue, depression, brain fog, hormonal imbalances, heart problems and much more. This is a condition to take seriously for the sake of your health and quality of life. If you sleep with a partner, they can be a tremendous help in giving you feedback about the quantity and the severity of your snoring and if it is sometimes associated with choking or gasping sounds. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, make an appointment with a doctor specializing in sleep disorders and get tested as soon as possible. Do this for yourself and for the important people in your life – your family, your friends.
After an initial appointment with a sleep doctor and if they think you may have sleep apnea or any other sleep disorder, you’ll get the chance to do an overnight sleep study. You’ll have lots of wires and electrodes hooked up to you, so make sure you bring anything that will make you feel as comfortable as possible, such as comfy, loose fitting pajamas, your favorite pillow and slippers for the going to the bathroom.
If you do have sleep apnea, the treatment will consist of using CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, using a machine and mask. CPAP therapy has made a lot of progress over the years – machines are more efficient and quiet, masks are more comfortable. CPAP machines, like those from ResMed, will even upload data about your sleep each night – such as number of sleep apneas, mask leak, and number of hours used – that you can track using an App on your phone.
My purpose in writing this blog is to increase awareness of sleep apnea and encourage people to get tested who think they may have it. You deserve to be the best version of yourself possible. Life sure can be a crazy, mixed up, beautiful mess, and we need all the resources we can possibly get to take on the challenges and opportunities of each day, such as a great night’s sleep.
Best wishes to you!
Travis @ Scottsdale Bedrooms