The word “apnea” is defined as a temporary cessation of breathing. Sleep apnea means that breathing stops temporarily during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type. It is caused when the flow of air through the throat is obstructed. Your brain wants air so when the flow is blocked, it wakes you up to get you breathing again. The awakenings are so brief you probably won’t remember them, but they can really disrupt your ability to experience the deep, restful sleep essential for rejuvenation. And believe it or not, these disruptions can occur up to 30 times an hour and hundreds of times during the night!
Although not all of these symptoms are representative of sleep apnea, they shouldn’t be ignored. It’s recommended you see Dr. Allen to get a complete diagnosis. A continued lack of revitalizing sleep can cause serious health problems.
One of the most obvious symptoms is a feeling of fatigue, even after sleeping for what should be considered a suitable number of hours. Although fatigue shouldn’t be surprising after awakening hundreds of times during the night! Drowsiness and difficulty focusing on tasks during the day are also symptoms of sleep apnea.
If you consistently send your sleeping partner to the couch because of your loud snoring, it’s possible you have sleep apnea. The snoring might be accompanied by gasping for air during sleep. Snoring can also be caused by obstructed airways due to allergies, asthma, or enlarged tonsils or adenoids. However, all of these conditions can be symptoms or causes of sleep apnea.
Waking up with a dry mouth or a headache, even after sufficient sleep, is another common symptom. Night-time sweating is also a symptom. This is common in menopausal women, who are also at higher risk of sleep disorders. Men in general, and especially men who are older and overweight, are at particular risk. As expected, this lack of decent sleep often leads to irritability and depression. Unfortunately, taking sedatives to improve sleep can add to the symptoms of sleep apnea because they relax the throat tissues which further inhibits air flow.
If you think you might be suffering from a sleep disorder, call for a consultation today. We can create a custom oral appliance that you will wear at night. It will open your airways while you sleep and allow the air to flow freely.