A Look at Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is very common. In fact, some people have sleep apnea and don’t even realize it. If you feel tired a lot during the daytime despite getting eight hours of sleep per night, you should definitely talk to a doctor. What happens when you have sleep apnea is that periodically throughout the night, there is either a pause in your breathing, or your breathing becomes shallow. The pauses usually only last a few seconds, but they can last a little longer. When those pauses end, the resumption of normal breathing is often accompanied by a coughing sound. In addition to that, your sleep becomes lighter. Since this happens so frequently throughout the night, you don’t get as much deep, high quality sleep as you need.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type. What causes it is a blockage in the airways. The reason this and other types of sleep apnea go undiagnosed so often is that doctors are unable to observe its signs in clinic. What’s more, patients are usually unaware of the signs because they are asleep when they occur! It is most often the family members of patients that first notice the signs, and one of those signs is loud snoring. Therefore, if your family members have told you that you snore loudly, a visit to an ENT specialist would be in order. Besides, even if it isn’t sleep apnea, such a specialist can often help you with your snoring anyway.
A less common type of sleep apnea is called central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is usually not accompanied by snoring. What causes this is that there are short periods of time in which your brain simply fails to send your body the proper breathing signals while you’re asleep. Needless to say, this is even harder to catch. Again, if you feel tired during the day and you don’t know why, see a doctor.