Are you struggling to get enough sleep? Do you wake up feeling groggy and exhausted? If so, you aren’t alone. Many people struggle with sleeping, but for many different reasons. One common issue that can keep people from getting the rest they need is sleep apnea. It’s a condition that affects up to 25 million Americans and is the third leading cause of adult mortality from natural causes. If you are reading this, you likely are one of those 25 million Americans who are affected by sleep apnea. If you have been struggling to get enough sleep lately and haven’t been able to figure out why read on to learn more about this condition and how it can affect your ability to sleep soundly at night.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects your breathing. When you have sleep apnea, your breathing repeatedly stops and starts. This can disrupt the rest you get from sleeping and leave you feeling exhausted during the day. While sleep apnea has many potential causes, one of the most common types is caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids and occurs when air can’t enter or exit the throat properly. In this blog post, we will explore more details about sleep apnea and what it means to have this condition.
How Does Sleep Apnea Happen?
Sleep apnea happens when your muscles relax during sleep and your tongue and soft tissue push down against your airway as you breathe. This blocks your airway, causing your breathing to temporarily stop. This can happen as many as 30 times per hour, which is why people with sleep apnea often don’t get the rest they need. The most common cause of sleep apnea is being overweight, which puts pressure on your airway. Other causes include a large neck size; having a small jaw or a receding chin; having an obstructed nasal passage; having large tonsils or adenoids, and having a family history of snoring or sleep apnea.
Tiredness, Exhaustion and Lack of Energy
If you have sleep apnea, you likely experience many of these symptoms. These are usually the first signs that you are having issues sleeping and not getting enough rest. If you consistently feel tired, exhausted and lacking in energy, it could be because you are not getting enough sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping or feel like you are not getting enough rest, it can affect the way you feel during your waking hours. It can lead to issues focusing and concentrating, trouble clearing your mind, problem-solving and remembering things. If you are consistently tired and not feeling your best, it can cause problems in your relationships and make it more difficult to perform at work.
The Effects of Sleep Apnea
If you have sleep apnea, you may experience many of the effects listed above. But sleep apnea can also have long-term effects such as high blood pressure, a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, weight gain and diabetes. If you have sleep apnea, you may find that you have a much harder time losing weight than others who are dealing with the same amount of diet and exercise. This is because sleep apnea affects your metabolism and makes it much harder for your body to process food and maintain a healthy weight. If you have sleep apnea, you may notice that your hair is falling out or that it is becoming very brittle. Your skin may also be dry and flaky. These are all signs of poor health caused by not getting enough sleep and not being able to metabolize nutrients properly.
Irritability and Short Temper
If you have sleep apnea, you likely experience many mood and hormone-related changes. It is common for people who have sleep apnea to become irritable and impatient. If you have sleep apnea, you may find yourself snapping at loved ones or feeling more impatient and frustrated than normal. You may find that it is much harder to control your emotions and remain positive. You may also notice that your sex drive and hormone levels are affected. Sleep apnea affects your hormones and is commonly linked to low libido and problems with orgasm.
Feeling Out of Breath While Doing Normal Activities
If you have sleep apnea, you may notice that you feel out of breath or like you are struggling for air during normal activities. If you have sleep apnea, you may feel as though you are struggling for air while going upstairs, exerting yourself while gardening, mowing the lawn and doing other activities that people without sleep apnea can do without issue. If you have sleep apnea, you may notice that you are feeling increasingly winded while doing simple things like walking up the stairs at home or taking out the trash.
Treating Sleep Apnea
If you think you might have sleep apnea, you should talk to your doctor and have them conduct a few tests. They will likely ask you to keep a sleep journal where you record when you are sleeping and how soundly you are sleeping. They will ask you to do this for two or three weeks so that they have a good baseline to work with. If you have sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend that you wear a sleep apnea mouth guard. This helps keep your airway open while you sleep. If you are overweight, your doctor may recommend that you change your diet and start an exercise program.
3 Ways to Help You Get the Rest You Need
If you have sleep apnea and are struggling to get the rest you need, what can you do? There are a few things you can do to help yourself get the rest you need if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
-First, make sure your sleeping environment is as quiet and dark as possible. If possible, remove any bright lights and sounds that may be keeping you awake.
-If your partner is keeping you awake with their snoring, consider getting them a sleep apnea mouth guard or finding another solution to help them quiet down.
-If you have sleep apnea, you may need to see a doctor and get a sleep study done to diagnose the severity of your sleep apnea. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, they may recommend that you start using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This helps keep your airway open while you sleep.