Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which your breathing is interrupted by starting and stopping while one is asleep. You may not be aware of those short breathing pauses that occur most of the times during the night; however, it snaps you out of your natural sleep pattern – making your sleep cycle disruptive. Since sleep apnea only occurs while you’re sleeping it might be difficult to discover the problem. If someone complains about your recurring snoring problem, that you might not have had earlier on it may be a symptom of sleep apnea.
The way to tell if you are just a snorer or if sleep apnea is causing you to snore is if you feel exhausted and tired during the day and experience mood swings. Unrelated snoring never causes disruption in the sleep cycle.
Types of sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway, often causing interruptions in breathing and making you snore.
Central sleep apnea is less common. It occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles that controls your breathing.
Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
- Loud snoring almost every night
- Choking, snorting, or gasping during sleep
- Pauses in breathing
- Waking up at night feeling short of breath
- Daytime sleepiness and fatigue, regardless of how much sleep you got
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Going to the bathroom frequently during the night
- Finding it difficult to concentrate
- Uncharacteristic moodiness and irritability
- Morning headaches
There are plenty of ways you can help yourself at home and reduce your symptoms by adopting a lifestyle change that has proven to help reduce sleep apnea symptoms.
- Lose weight
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid caffeine and heavy meals, especially before sleeping
- Maintain regular sleep hours
Bedtime tips for preventing sleep apnea
- Sleep on your side
- Prop your head up
- Tighten the muscles that keep the mouth closed
In cases where self-help treatment does not prove helpful, it is recommended you visit a sleep clinic and find out more about your condition!