Did you know that approximately one in five Americans experience sleep apnea in either it’s mild or severe form and that another 80% of Americans go undiagnosed with this condition? Not only that, but those with the severe form of sleep apnea can wake up hundreds of times a night!
Of the two types of this serious sleep disorder – obstructive sleep apnea, where the soft throat muscle tissues relax and collapse in your sleep blocking your airway, and central sleep apnea, where your brain neglects to signal your body to breathe – both end with you being sleep deprived.
If someone you love often complains about your snoring, chances are good you may have this condition, especially if you are feeling drowsy and irritable. This condition day in and day out can result in you waking up mentally exhausted with a headache despite getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
Perpetual exhaustion could mean that you’re not achieving the REM sleep cycle your body needs to stay healthy. You may be constantly jolted awake and not even know it as your airway collapses in your asleep. This causes you to stop breathing so essential oxygen can’t reach your heart, and your circadian rhythm never gets into the deep sleep stages. Constant sleep deprivation that affects your regular REM cycle takes a toll on your physical and mental health.
The risks this unaddressed sleep disorder can take is safety on roads since car accidents are one of the major signs of sleep apnea, making you 2.5 times more likely to be in a car accident at the wheel as compared to people not dealing with this stressful disorder. The good news is those car accidents go down by as much as 70% for those using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) mask while they sleep.
Lack of sleep and the accompanying disruption in your normal circadian rhythm can prevent important hormones from reaching their peak or not being released at all, leaving you feeling hungry all day. It can also cause you to become insulin resistant and vulnerable to diabetes.
If you carry extra weight around, your heart is increasingly stressed as it has to work harder because it’s not getting necessary oxygen while you sleep. Losing weight and keeping your body mass index (BMI) under 30 will help keep your heart healthier and lower your risk of sleep apnea.
If you are tired from constant snoring and waking up with frequent headaches, we strongly recommend talking to your doctor as unaddressed sleep apnea is detrimental to your wellbeing. Getting a sleep study test done to determine prognosis and seeking treatment can get your energy and your health back on track! Please give our sleep specialists a call to schedule your consultation.