Do you suffer from sleep apnea? Have you woken up in the middle of the night feeling like you can’t breathe? Maybe your partner has told your breathing stops and starts a few times during the night. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you know it has a big affect on your sleep, but it’s time to talk about the affect it has on your waking hours.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea, affecting around 18 million Americans, and the most noticeable sign is snoring or disrupted breathing during the night. It’s caused when the muscles in your throat relax during the night, expanding and blocking your airway. This is the source of that shallow, or nonexistent breath that scares your spouse in the middle of the night. In fact, you’ll have many episodes of paused or shallow breathing each night that often last around 30 seconds. While some people don’t notice these pauses in breathing, others will wake up often, feeling like they are choking or gagging. If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can have some serious consequences.
The Long-term Effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
You’re aware of several affects of sleep apnea, like feeling groggy when you wake up, or having difficulty concentrating, but sleep apnea also affects how you look, how you feel, and what you’re able to do. Sleep apnea has also been linked to some serious health concerns, such as an increased risk of heart disease or stroke, and a greater likelihood of suffering from diabetes.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Your Waking Hours
It’s obvious that sleep apnea affects your sleep, but do you know what affect it has on your waking hours? Those who struggle with obstructive sleep apnea face groggy mornings with foggy brains. They often wake up with a dry mouth and a pounding headache, and spend the day struggling with low energy levels, slow reaction times, and reduced productivity. They have difficulty focusing or concentrating on tasks, have problems with memory, and fight to be engaged in what’s happening around them.
Obstructive sleep apnea robs you of your ability to be happy and alert, and have the energy to do whatever you want, from running errands to running after the kids in a game of backyard tag.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
Have you ever had a bad night’s sleep? After just one night of sleeping poorly, you’ve struggled with feelings of drowsiness during the day, and had difficulty staying alert and focused at the office. Imagine if every night was a bad night, and every morning you woke up to a foggy brain?
If you have sleep apnea, even that strong cup of coffee can’t help you stay awake. Regardless of how many hours you spend in bed during the night, you don’t feel well rested in the morning. Excessive daytime sleepiness is a lot more serious than just feeling tired, but is a chronic, deep, and even uncontrollable need to sleep during the day. You’ll often feel sleepy the entire day, and struggle with chronic drowsiness and excessive fatigue. You may even fall asleep in the middle of a conversation or while eating! It’s common to drift into sleep while sitting at your desk, in the middle of a meeting or during an important task. Even worse, you might find yourself nodding off behind the wheel.
For people with obstructive sleep apnea, feeling tired and needing to sleep has become the new normal. This inability to stay awake, focus, or even remember what it is you’re supposed to be doing takes a huge toll on your health, lowering quality of life, affecting your career, jeopardizing your safety, and causing problems in your relationships.
Treating Sleep Apnea
If you think you have obstructive sleep apnea, contact us at Sound Sleep Medical. Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you need to be healthy and happy, and our sleep specialists are here to make sure you get a good night’s rest. Sleeping well affects how you look, feel, and act day in and day out, and getting enough sleep is the key to being successful in every area of our waking lives.