If you find yourself tired throughout the day, no matter how many hours of sleep you get, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder which makes it difficult for you to get a restful night's sleep. While you may feel as if you slept through the night, you may have been woken up hundreds of times because of the apnea. Daytime exhaustion and loud snoring are two signs that you may be suffering from sleep apnea. This disorder tends to occur in those that are overweight and can be reduced or eliminated by maintaining an optimum weight.
The Causes of Sleep Apnea
The most common cause of sleep apnea is excessive weight around the neck and throat. Children can suffer from sleep apnea too, from adenoids or tonsils that are too large. Even an overbite can cause sleep apnea. In the event of obstructive sleep apnea from excessive weight, when the person falls asleep, the neck muscles relax and block the airway periodically.
Why Sleep Apnea is Dangerous
While snoring loudly may be annoying, it's important to understand that it can also be dangerous. Sleep apnea is identified as breathing that is stopped for ten seconds or more. Throughout the course of the night, this can happen hundreds of times. When the person stops breathing, the oxygen saturation level in their blood can become diminished. If this occurs, the body is not getting the necessary oxygen it needs. In addition, to stop the apnea, the body jerks awake. This response disrupts the sleep of the individual and doesn't allow for a restful night's sleep.
Over time, sleep apnea can lead to a number of physical ailments, such as heart disease and diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight can help remove this risk.
How Sleep Apnea is Diagnosed
To officially diagnose you with sleep apnea, you'll need to spend the night at a sleep disorder clinic. The process doesn't hurt, although you may have trouble falling asleep with some of the wires used to measure a variety of factors during the night. Your oxygen levels will be measured, and the number of times you stop breathing will be calculated. Your sleep specialist will talk with you about treatment options if you are diagnosed with apnea.
If you find yourself tired all the time and your partner complains that you are snoring, it's time to talk with your doctor to see if you should be tested for sleep apnea.