WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?

If you’ve tried improving your sleep, but still snore or wake up feeling tired, you may have a common sleep disorder called sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea? “Apnea” literally means “no breath” or “stopping breathing”. When you have an apnea, air stops flowing to your lungs for 10 seconds or longer – that is, you actually stop breathing. Sensing you have stopped breathing, a control centre in your brain triggers you to wake up just enough to start breathing again. Then you fall back to sleep and the cycle begins again.

This can happen more than 50 times every hour, even though you may not remember waking up. As you can imagine, constantly being triggered back into breathing-hour after hour, night after night, may put a strain on your body. Sleep apnea affects more than 3 in 10 men and nearly 1 in 5 women, so it’s more common than you might think.

WHAT CAUSES SNORING?

NORMAL, OPEN AIRWAY

PARTIALLY CLOSED AIRWAY

CLOSED AIRWAY DURING AN APENA

If you’ve been told you snore, chances are you already know you aren’t getting the type of quality sleep you need. When we’re asleep, the muscles in our necks relax. Sometimes, they relax so much that the upper airway (the nose and throat) partly closes, becoming too narrow for enough air to travel through to our lungs. This could be caused by temporary reasons, such as swollen tonsils or excess weight around the neck, or structural reasons, such as the shape of your nose or jaw. This narrowing of your airway causes a vibration in the throat, which causes the sound of snoring.

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNEA

The first and most common sign of sleep apnea is usually observed by your loved ones: snoring. They might also tell you that you make gasping or choking sounds while you’re asleep. You might notice some other symptoms common to the different types of sleep apnea, such as:
  • constant tiredness
  • poor concentration
  • morning headaches
  • depressed mood
  • night sweats
  • weight gain
  • lack of energy
  • forgetfulness
  • sexual dysfunction
  • frequent urination at night

Remember, these symptoms may not always relate to sleep apnea, so please discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor to ensure that an accurate diagnosis is made .

HOW SNORING IMPACTS YOU AND YOUR PARTNER

Snoring not only disturbs your partner’s sleep, it also disrupts the sleep you’re getting, whether you realize it or not. Snoring means you’re not getting the right amount of oxygen into your system for your body to perform its important functions. It also means you’re likely waking up throughout the night without realizing it. That could be getting in the way of the healthy sleep you need to lead a refreshed, energetic life. So regardless of what is specifically causing snoring for you, if you snore — or if you suspect you snore — consider it a sign that something might not be right and talk to your doctor today about doing a sleep study.

WHY SEEK SLEEP APNEA TREATMENT?

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea why should you seek treatment? To begin with, sleep apnea treatment will reduce and potentially eliminate the negative effects of the condition, such as snoring, drowsiness and lack of energy.1 Most sleep apnea patients who successfully undergo treatment experience increased energy and a healthier mental attitude – not to mention the satisfaction of consistently getting a good night’s rest. There are more incentives to seek sleep apnea treatment. Therapy may also help alleviate other chronic health conditions often associated with sleep apnea, improve your daily energy levels and help you feel more like yourself again. By continuing your sleep apnea treatment regularly, you are making an important decision to take control of your health, your well-being and your life

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