Symptoms and Causes of Sleep Apnea

Insomnia, trouble breathing, weight gain, headaches, and mood swings may all be related to sleep apnea. Understanding the symptoms to sleep better.

sleep apnea

What Are The Warning Signs Of Sleep Apnea?

Symptoms include feeling tired and snoring loudly, even when you have slept enough.

Other known symptoms include:

  • Insomnia, excess daytime sleeping, nightmares, and sleep deprivation.
  • Other issues, such as loud breathing or breathing through the mouth, take place due to respiratory problems.

How do you know for sure you have sleep apnea?

Things like fatigue, dry mouth, depression, irritability, weight gain, headaches, and mood swings are all associated with sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea adults

This is a common disorder people struggle with, as they wake up briefly during the night and find they are short of breath for about 10 seconds or so.

What are some of the prominent causes of this type of sleep apnea?

It differs, as it would depend on whether you are an adult or a child.

  1.  Adults often struggle with obesity or excess weight, which can be related to the soft tissue of the throat and mouth. It is when you sleep in a specific position that your tongue and throat muscles become more relaxed, and the airways become blocked.
  2. Children will experience enlarged adenoids or tonsils, and in some cases, suffer from dental conditions like an overbite. Less commonly, they may have congenital disabilities like Down syndrome.

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Regardless of how old you are, when obstructive sleep apnea is left untreated, it will ultimately lead to more severe complications that will include accidents, cardiovascular illnesses, and even premature death.

Anyone who snores loudly and who suffers from repeated nighttime awakenings followed by too much daytime sleeping needs to visit a doctor for a medical evaluation.

Over half of the folks in the U.S who struggle with obstructive sleep apnea are either obese or overweight. The experts define this as your BMI (body mass index), which usually consists of 25 to 30 or above. It is this excess weight that turns out to be the strongest risk issue and is often linked to obstructive sleep apnea.

When your weight increases by 10 percent, the odds of developing moderate sleep apnea increases six-fold. As opposed to your average-weight adult, obese people are at a much higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea. However, the chances of this happening decreases after you turn 60.

Self Help and Lifestyle Changes to Treat Sleep Apnea

lifestyle changes

People can reverse milder symptoms of sleep apnea by taking heed of the following advice:

  • Quit smoking, as it increases fluid retention and inflammation in your upper airways.
  • Lose weight, as excess weight results in extra tissue toward the back of your throat area. A little bit of weight loss would open up this area and improve your symptoms.
  • Stay clear from sedatives, sleeping pills, or alcohol before bedtime as these tend to relax your muscles and interfere with the breathing process.
  • Exercise often to help you shed weight. Both resistance and aerobic training reduce symptoms associated with sleep apnea. Yoga is excellent for strengthening the muscles within your airways.
  • Do not consume caffeinated beverages within two hours of going to sleep.
  • Ensure you keep to regular sleeping times by adhering to a sleeping schedule, as it will help to relax your mind. Besides, plenty of sleep will decrease your sleep apnea.

Bedtime Tips and Tricks to Help Prevent Sleep Apnea

There are a host of ideas you may want to implement to overcome sleep apnea, such as:

  • Adopting the tennis ball trick, which involves sewing a tennis ball onto the pocket of the back of your pajamas. Doing so will deter you from rolling onto your back.
  • Sleeping on your side as opposed to sleeping on your back. When you sleep on your back, you tend to obstruct your airways with your tongue.
  • Open your nasal areas by making use of a saline spray, nasal dilator, irrigation system for your nose, or breathing strips.
  • Be sure to elevate the head of your bed by at least six inches or make use of a unique cervical pillow or foam wedge to lift your body from the waist up.
  • Try holding a pen in between your teeth or chewing gum for 10 minutes before going to bed.

Last but not least, ensure the mattress you sleep on is conducive to supporting your weight and a good match for your body type, whether you happen to be a taller person or someone who likes to sleep across the bed.

Resources - Mayo Clinic, Web MD, Help Guide