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Signs of Sleep Apnea: Are You Aware?

Updated on June 6, 2021
Sam Shepards profile image

I'm Sam. I enjoy writing about sleep and mental health-related topics as well as ways to prevent stress and to relax.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, Center for Disease, 37.9 percent of Americans claimed they unintentionally fell asleep during the day at least once in the past month. What could be responsible for the daytime drowsiness of 40 percent of Americans? Statistics showing sleep apnea as the number one most common disorder point to unhealthy sleep as the culprit.

Signs of sleep apnea, what to look for?

The signs of sleep apnea can be measured in clinical sleep apnea tests performed in laboratories, but can be more practically observed through the symptoms of sleep deprivation. These effects range from mild forms such as memory problems to conditions requiring medical attention including cardiovascular disease and stroke. You may find it of great importance to acknowledge the necessity of good sleeping habits. Neglecting these will only exacerbate small and manageable issues into full blown, life-threatening conditions. This article will help you to recognize the signs and symptoms of having a disruptive sleeping pattern.

Symptoms of sleep apnea to be aware of

Among the numerous signs of sleep apnea, the following three sum up the most commonly prevalent symptoms.

A. Extremely Loud or Intolerable Snoring

Snoring is a direct indicator that airflow is being obstructed. It is a symptom of friction and a telling sign that air is not being allowed to freely pass through the trachea. Something is getting in the way. This is an example of what is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The American Academy of Otolaryngology describe snoring as the noisy sounds occurring when there is an obstruction to the free flow of air through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. This results in lower amounts of oxygen intake, causing the heart to work harder.

B. Drowsiness/Sleepiness

The disruption of one’s natural sleep cycle is responsible for drowsiness during the day. There is no bigger indicator of being sleep deprived than persistent daytime sleepiness. 80 percent of us know when we’re about to fall asleep, according to the Sleep Apnea Association, and drowsiness is described as that moment when staying awake and attentive requires a conscious effort. Numerous studies confirm the threats to health with this type of cognitive impairment. Examples include falling asleep at the wheel, muddied clarity of thought, and job impairment or inoperable functioning. When your natural sleep cycle is disrupted, you cannot function at your best.

C. Obesity

Given what we now know about the detriment of health due to sleep apnea, it is not surprising to find weight gain, as a factor in the national obesity crisis, to be directly correlated with sleep depravity. In fact, research shows that obesity is also an indicator of sleep apnea. Excess fat and tissue have been found to be the primary blocks of air passageways. In addition, a decrease in energy expenditure is attributed to lowered oxygen intake and stressed heart functioning during sleep, resulting in lowered performance levels during the day, and increasing the chances of obesity. Other signs of sleep apnea include bouts of awakening from sleep out of breath, frequent waking in the morning with a dry mouth, and headaches.

Sleep Apnea becomes a serious problem when you begin to experience any life-threatening consequences. Diabetes and stroke may be indicators of poor health due to disruptive sleeping patterns. If you experience heart problems or disruptions in cardiovascular health, it would be worth taking a look at your resting patterns. Only a professional sleep study, performed in a laboratory, or an at home sleep study can definitively show the degree of severity when sleep apnea is present.

Sleep patterns and the value to your well-being

Sleep deprivation can take many forms, however the signs of a disruptive sleep pattern are clear to observe. A good night’s rest will leave you feeling refreshed and energized. Remember, sleep is meant to provide you the time to regenerate from the days mental and physical expenditures. It is the key element in supporting healthy brain functioning and emotional well-being, physical health, and daytime performance and safety.

Since sleeping patterns vary from person to person, it is important to take into account your own health patterns and evaluate yourself accordingly. What kind of sleep apnea solutions are worth looking at depends on the severity and symptoms you suffer from. Although medical treatment is available to address sleep apnea, the best prognosis for longevity is to establish a healthy lifestyle. Maintenance of your heath is paramount to this endeavor. The body never stops working, even while in rest. For this reason, it would be of great benefit to ensure that your body can take care of itself even while you sleep.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2016 Sam Shepards


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