Better Rest With Sleep Apnea

Getting proper sleep is essential for people to function effectively throughout the day. Research consistently shows that individuals who fail to achieve not just enough hours of rest but to reach specific stages in the sleep cycle suffer. Along with simply being tired the next day, a person who isn’t sleeping well may also struggle with memory, cognition, mood, and irritability. In the long term, poor sleep can manifest as health conditions ranging from anxiety to cardiac concerns. Learning how to manage sleep apnea can ensure a person is well-rested.


Sleep apnea defined

Many sleep-related disorders can impede a person’s ability to sleep properly. Sleep apnea involves repeated moments during a sleep cycle where an individual stops breathing temporarily and then begins breathing again. If a person frequently stops breathing, the body isn’t getting enough oxygen, which can be a concern.

Various forms of apnea

Different types of sleep apnea exist, obstructive and central. With obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the upper airway gets blocked while sleeping because of a physical impediment like enlarged tonsils, hormonal changes, or even obesity which can cause the airways to be restricted. Central sleep apnea is when the brain fails to send signals telling the body to breathe while a person sleeps and is usually caused by underlying health conditions. Some people may have a combination of the 2 conditions, known as complex sleep apnea.

Symptoms to watch for

Although 2 main types of sleep apnea exist, both versions can have overlapping symptoms. Common signs a person has the condition include loud snoring, gasping for air while sleeping, waking up with a dry mouth, and experiencing insomnia or hypersomnia. Some individuals may also have difficulty concentrating when awake, experience irritability, have morning headaches, or be told about nighttime episodes where breathing has stopped.

What treatment is best?

For most people, the treatment that comes to mind when sleep apnea is mentioned is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. However, CPAP devices are usually only recommended for individuals diagnosed with OSA officially. The machine can be effective at ensuring that a person continues to breathe properly by preventing the airways from closing. Such devices are only available by prescription and require proper calibration to ensure a person isn’t receiving too much air pressure.

Exploring other options

Depending on the severity of a person’s sleep apnea, a CPAP machine may not be necessary. For people with mild cases of OSA, a mouthpiece may be all that’s needed to ensure that the nasal passages and airway remain open during sleep. Other people may benefit from surgery to remove excess tissue from the throat. Meanwhile, individuals with central sleep apnea may be better candidates for a type of surgery that implants a device to stimulate the nerves responsible for breathing.

Make an informed decision

When snoring is more than an occasional nuisance, and a person is frequently waking up tired or experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, a trip to the doctor may be in order. If a sleep apnea diagnosis is received, a CPAP machine can be helpful to prevent breathing gaps and improve daytime quality of life by achieving more recuperative sleep.