Most people don’t snore, or at least they don’t disturb anyone else when they do but almost half of us snore at least sometimes, or are disturbed by someone who does. Snoring may be seen as a joke but it can be very serious for sufferers or their sleeping partners, leading to sleeping in separate bedrooms or even total separation or divorce. Snoring is not only a nuisance to the sufferer and their sleeping partner but as many as 75% of those who snore have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA sufferers stop breathing for short periods during their sleep. This can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.
Anything like a cold or flu or even allergies that stuff up your nose and mean you breathe through your mouth instead, can make you snore, On a temporary basis, you can get over-the-counter medicines or nasal strips to keep your nostrils open but if you’re constantly stuffed up talk to your medical adviser.
Ways to reduce or prevent snoring
Sleep on your side. Try sleeping with two or three stacked pillows so you’re not flat on your back but don’t make them too high as that can also cause snoring from tilting your head too far forward. Sew a small pocket on the back of your pajama jacket and put a tennis ball in it so you don’t sleep on your back.
Check up on any drugs you are taking. Sedatives, muscle relaxants, and some antidepressants can relax your tongue and the muscles in your throat and this can lead to snoring Your doctor may be able to change your medications if this would help.
Get enough sleep. Make getting enough sleep a habit. Go to bed and rise at regular hours.
Don’t drink alcohol less than 3 or 4 hours before bed. Sleeping pills can also have the same effect, not only making snoring more likely but possibly worsening the quality of your sleep.
Cut back on smoking. This irritates the throat lining and narrows the air passages, leading to snoring
Keep your bedroom air moist. This helps lubricate your throat and makes breathing through your nose easier, reducing snoring. A humidifier may help.
Treat allergies with antihistamines before going to bed. People with allergies may find they snore more during allergy season. And taking this treatment before bed can keep your nasal passages free during the night.
Try tongue and throat exercises. Some people snore because the muscles in their mouth and throat have lost tone (slack or loose). Exercising these muscles can improve the muscle tone and reduce snoring. You can find a number of programmes that teach you singing exercises that will greatly improve your muscle tone. Or just try singing more often or even play the Australian didgeridoo. Research has found that volunteers who performed the exercises shown below daily over a period of three months not only reduced their snoring frequency but also snoring intensity compared with those who didn’t do the exercises.
Exercise 1: Push the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth and slide the tongue backward.
Exercise 2: Suck the tongue upward against the roof of the mouth and press the entire tongue against the roof of the mouth.
Exercise 3: Force the back of the tongue against the floor of the mouth while keeping the tip of the tongue in contact with the bottom front teeth.
Exercise 4: Elevate the soft palate (the back of the roof of the mouth) and the uvula (the fleshy protrusion that hangs from the soft palate) while making the vowel sound “A.”
Check out the video for more information on stopping snoring.
If you regularly have trouble sleeping you may need to review your life patterns and health and think about what might be contributing to your sleep problems. There are simple steps you can take to improve your sleep and some of these are covered below. For some people, insomnia has become a way of life that they struggle to overcome. Don’t just accept poor sleep as a way of life there is help available, both strategies you can employ yourself and professional advice and help.
What Is Insomnia? Insomnia is said to occur when someone finds it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, even when they need to and want to. People who have insomnia often feel dissatisfied with the amount and quality of sleep they experience. They may find themselves feeling fatigued or they may have difficulty concentrating, suffer from mood disturbances, and poor performance at work or at school. Acute insomnia only lasts a short while and may happen before an exam, or after receiving stressful or bad news. Many people have experienced this type of insomnia. It usually resolves itself without treatment.
Chronic insomnia is where a person’s sleep is disrupted at least three nights a week over a period of at least three months. It can have many causes, one of which is hereditary. Other factors include changes in the usual environment, learned patterns of sleep behavior, shift work and others. People who have chronic insomnia can be helped to get back to healthy sleep patterns.
How To Deal With Chronic Insomnia
Not being able to get a good nights rest is often laughed about in many TV shows, movies, and even cartoons. However, it can be a serious problem and as many as 30% to 50% of the population suffer from insomnia periodically in their lives. Another 10% of the population suffers from chronic insomnia which is when it lasts for more than 3 months or more, but sometimes far longer. There are also some dangerous daytime problems that are caused by nighttime insomnia and other long-term health problems that can be quite serious as well.
It Helps If You Can Honestly Find The Cause
Of course, most problems with sleeping are actually rooted in our day-to-day lives such as stress on the job, at home, or at school. Then there are other causes that people don’t like to admit such as alcohol abuse. You might think that alcohol helps people sleep, and yes it does, until it wears off and then they’re wide awake at 2 AM in the morning. Then the only thing that seems to work is another drink, or five, which is another problem altogether.
Then there are those that drink too much caffeine, either in colas or coffee, and they too can have problems sleeping. The sugar in many drinks can also cause problems, but it tends to be more of a roller coaster effect, first up, and then down. Other drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and especially smart drugs can also have a huge impact on sleep. Most so-called smart drugs, or nootropics as they are called, are actually stimulants and will keep you up at night just like they do during the day. If you can be honest with yourself and evaluate your intake of food, drinks, and drugs, you may find your solution to the problem on your own.
The Problem With Not Getting Enough Sleep
You might just say that insomniacs should just skip the sleep and watch TV or browse the internet until they feel tired. The problem with that is that then these same people show up for work at their jobs where their attention span is limited and they could cause accidents resulting in injury or death to themselves or others. Plus, lots of research has been done on overall health and sleep showing that many diseases like heart disease, strokes, Alzheimer’s, and even diabetes are all worsened by a lack of sleep.
Curing The Problem Can Be Easy, Or Not
If you do go to a sleep clinic they will start with a complete lifestyle evaluation that may uncover one or more causes of your insomnia. Then, they might have you sleep on-site and on camera to see if you might have breathing, snoring, or other problems that are interfering with your rest. It could be as simple as clearing up a long-term sinus infection that keeps you from breathing correctly.
Whatever you decide to do, evaluate your own lifestyle or have a professional do it for you, there are solutions to most sleep problems. If you can’t figure it out on your own you owe it your yourself to seek professional help since suffering through sleepless nights is bad for your health and that of those around you as well.
Dealing With Insomnia
5 Tips For Sleeping Better
Nobody likes to show up to work tired and groggy after a sleepless night. However, this is the unfortunate solution many people are facing. In fact, over 30 percent of people around the world from insomnia or sleeplessness.
People are all too often poor sleepers who have created self-defeating habits that make insomnia unavoidable. The missing hours not only make you tired, but also affect your performance at work. Insomnia can lead to a lack of focus and concentration and increases your chances of getting into an occupational accident and even depression.Here are 5 effective tips to avoid this by adopting better sleeping habits:
1.Leave the Bedroom
If you are unable to sleep, you might assume that an effective strategy would be to close your eyes and attempt as much as possible to fall asleep in your bed. However, experts recommend getting up and leaving your bed if you notice that you are unable to sleep after 20 minutes.
If you do this, your bed won’t be linked with negative associations that make it harder for you to sleep. So, get up and sit on your couch and you can even pick up a book to read. Return to bed after you start feeling sleepy.
2.Switch off Your Devices
Turn off your electronic devices at least one hour before going to bed, Smartphones, TVs, and computers emit a blue light that disrupts sleep schedules by convincing the brain that it is morning while in actuality it is midnight.
Instead of scrolling and tapping on your electronic devices, a better strategy would be to try winding down after a long day at work by reading a book before you go to bed. Alternatively, you can try to journal your thoughts or even develop a nightly ritual that calms you automatically.
3.Avoid Stressing Yourself Out
If you are unable to sleep, try not to beat yourself up. Simply put, you should not obsess over the clock seeing how many hours less of sleep you are getting. Obsessing over the number of hours of sleep you are not getting just puts unhelpful pressure on yourself.
A better approach would be to get a longer view. You may not enjoy a good night’s sleep this night, but you will definitely enjoy one tomorrow night, no sweat.
If stress is keeping you up, you should try keeping a pen and notebook close by and write down everything that keeps you awake. Once you have put it on paper, it is free. Doing this should help clear your mind to get more sleep and you might just wake up with workable solutions.
4.Wear Out the Body
Research suggests that people that exercise enjoy better quality of sleep than those that don’t work out. While vigorous exercisers have the greatest difference in sleep, even a 10-minute walk is enough to help increase your chances of enjoying a good night’s sleep.
The important thing is not to work out in the hours leading up to bed. Experts say that doing this can impair your ability to fall asleep if it is too intense, which is a situation that you definitely want to avoid as an insomniac.
5.Relax Muscles to Ease the Mind or Listen To A Relaxation Tape
Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that has been used for centuries to get the body to stop holding everything in and relax. You can tense and flex all the muscles and then relax them in 20-second intervals.
Start with the face by lifting the eyebrows and then relaxing them so that you ease tension out of the forehead and then repeat the method with all body parts. By the time you finish doing the exercises, your body should start feeling looser and your mind will start feeling calmer
The Bottom Line
Insomnia can be quite a stressful and debilitating condition, but worrying about sleep does not have to take over your life. All you have to do is try the 5 useful tips discussed here and start enjoying a good night’s sleep as you did when you were younger.
The 5 tips discussed here will help you fight insomnia when you are lying in bed and can be the game-changer you are looking for. In the end, it will help you relax and help you find sleep more easily in the future.
Sleep deprivation just means not having enough sleep. That can be temporary (because you pulled a late nighter or the kids weren’t well) or long term (you ALWAYS stay up late or you do shift work or your sleep is not good quality). Some people suffer regularly from Insomnia – unable to sleep.
Sleep Deprivation Effects
If you are always sleepy in the daytime, tired, clumsy and gaining or losing weight unexpectedly you may be suffering from chronic sleep deprivation. (There can be other reasons and if you suspect that, see your medical adviser.) Laboratory animals that were stopped from sleeping eventually died. Long before that, sleep deprivation will affect your brain and your mental capacity, with memory lapses and drops in attention and concentration, perhaps missing out words and sentences when taking notes or forgetting to add ingredients while cooking. It seems that your mental ability is directly related to the number of hours you sleep each night. The less sleep, the worse you perform.
Even short term sleep deprivation can mean a possible increase in the likelihood of developing Type 2 Diabetes. People who usually slept for only a few hours each night were studied and it was found they were more likely to show symptoms of Type II Diabetes.
How Much Sleep?
You already know you’re supposed to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but sometimes, you stay up for a night out on the town, to finish a project at work, or even just to watch Law and Order! We’ve all heard it – especially from our parents – It happens to us all and an occasional late night here and there won’t hurt apart from feeling lousy next day, or falling asleep after lunch, which won’t impress the boss! It’s the long term skimping on sleep that’s the real problem. It’s called chronic sleep deprivation and it’s not just caused by staying up late. It can also be caused by sleep apnea, that affects the quality of your sleep, waking you up many times each night, even if you don’t remember.
Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. It also increases the amount of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, in your gut, making you crave fatty, sugary foods. And more, it can also cause problems with the hormone that tells your body when you have had enough – leptin, the satiety hormone. That means you keep on eating, even though you are actually full.
Effects Of Sleep Deprivation
Lack of sleep can make you feel grumpy and foggy and affect your health, your sex drive and your looks. Sleep deprivation can cause accidents. It was a factor in the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident in 1979, the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. It is also implicated in as many as 1 in 5 road traffic accidents every day. Driving tired can slow your reaction time as much as driving drunk. And workers who complain of excessive daytime sleepiness are more likely to suffer more work accidents and to need more sick days per accident.
Chronic sleep deprivation may impair your attention, alertness, reasoning, problem solving and concentration, making it more difficult to learn effectively. It can significantly affect your health, performance, safety, and pocketbook and may be caused by unrecognized sleep disorders. If after a typical night’s sleep, you do not feel restored and refreshed but still sleepy during the day, you may have a sleep disorder. Sometimes, it has been going on for so long, you may not even realize that you should and could feel differently. Many people remain undiagnosed for years.
Lack of quality sleep over a long period can have frightening effects on your health.
That cold that doesn’t go away! Is it a cold? Or might it be due to nasal polyps?
What Are Nasal Polyps?
If you have a cold that continues past 10 days and that doesn’t go away, even with over-the-counter cold or allergy medication, you may have nasal polyps. These are benign (that means they are NOT cancerous) growths of the lining in your nose.
Polyps are tear-drop-shaped or round growths that can block your nose. Often, you do not know you have them, but some people need to have them removed, because they can contribute to sinus problems, asthma and even sleep apnea.
Quick Solution Miracle Cure For Nasal Polyps
Nasal Polyps Treatment Miracle.
This is a guidebook to treating nasal polyps without surgery or steroids, providing a permanent cure between four days to eight weeks. It helps polyps shrink, giving quick relief from chronic situations like recurrent headaches, sinusitis, and asthma and also relieves symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea caused by breathing difficulties.
Symptoms Of Nasal Polyps
The symptoms can include a constantly runny nose, chronic respiratory tract infections, sneezing, postnasal drip and loss of the sense of smell, breathlessness, breathing through the mouth, asthma, insomnia and nose bleeds. They are also linked with allergic rhinitis and cystic fibrosis. But often the cause is unknown and may even be hereditary. Sometimes, people get them before they develop asthma or sinusitis. Obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that causes you to stop and start breathing frequently while sleeping, may be associated with nasal polyps in some people.
Treatment of nasal polyps is not always necessary. Those who develop a small nasal polyps and do not notice any adverse symptoms generally need only monitoring of the polyps. Treatment often is by way of steroids, antihistamines and surgery. But there are also natural home remedies for nasal polyps and these have the added HUGE benefit of helping stop the polyps coming back.
BEFORE TRYING REMEDIES FOR NASAL POLYPS
Before you try any remedies, be sure that nasal polyps are actually what is causing your symptoms. The best way to do this is to consult your medical adviser. NOTE: Pregnant and breastfeeding mums should ALWAYS consult their medical advisers before trying any remedies. Anyone who is already on medication should also ask their medical adviser whether any of the following might affect their medications.
The core of a pineapple contains bromelain which can help reduce symptoms of sinus infections and may also help protect against allergies and asthma. You can also take bromelain as a daily supplement.
Magnesium rich foods, like nuts, seeds, legumes and dark green leafy vegetables (dark green cabbage) can help, or you can take a magnesium supplement or soak in bath filled with Epsom salt to absorb magnesium directly through your skin.
Turmeric, previously only associated with curries is becoming very popular these days and rightly so, not just for its taste properties but also for its health-giving properties. Turmeric contains curcumin, a great anti-inflammatory. You can add turmeric to your cooking (yum) or drink in a smoothie (golden smoothie). You can also take it as a supplement, available over the counter or from health shops or online.
Many people will have this natural decongestant in their kitchen all the time. Boil a chopped-up onion in water for 5 minutes. Place the mixture in a bowl and inhale the steam, putting a cloth over your head to prevent it steaming up your kitchen (Be careful of boiling water!). Once cooled, save the water and drink a little 2 or 3 times daily.
Provided you don’t mind being seen as anti social, you can chew raw garlic, otherwise, treat it in the same way as onion.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This food cupboard stand-by (for making stock, among other things) can also be used to fight nasal polyps, by drinking a glass of warm water, containing 2 spoonfuls 2 or 3 times a day.
Boil fresh slices of ginger in water for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool, then drink as a herbal tea. You can add lemon juice or honey or both to taste, if you like.
Nasal Polyps can be a miserable condition but there are several ways of treating them. Provided your medical adviser has confirmed that this is what you have and that there is no reason for you not to try treating them, go ahead and try one or more of the remedies given.
Snoring and sleep apnea can cause a great deal of grief to the snorer and their family. They can also cause severe health problems. And while it may be funny to hear a sufferer’s partner describe during the day how the snorer behaves and the lengths the partner must go to to avoid being hit when the snorer is dreaming or to get a reasonable amount of sleep, it is definitely NOT funny if you are having to deal with this in the middle of the night, when you are tired and need uninterrupted sleep.
There are many snoring aids or anti-snoring aids available to try, as well as CPAP and Maxillary Advancement Devices which may be available from your medical practitioner and which need professional advice and help to get the best use from them. These aids are not for everyone, some may suit you better than others and you should check reviews from other users to see if these will suit you. With some devices, it is possible to use them on a trial basis to see whether you can tolerate them or whether they make your sleep worse, even after a period of adjustment. Other devices are reasonably cheap and if they don’t work for you, you can try a different device. And there are exercises available here and other exercise options available here for toning slack muscles in the mouth and throat which may suit some.
A CPAP machine may be prescribed for people who have sleep apnea. In sleep apnea, the sufferer may stop breathing while sleeping, resulting in loud snores as their body tries to restore the oxygen supply or even waking the person up from sleep regularly throughout the night. This can lead to people suffering constant fatigue and relationship problems because they may keep their partner or even the whole neighborhood awake with snoring.
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and is applied through a mask and hose connected to a pump. This provides a continual positive flow of air into the nose and this keeps the airways open while the user is sleeping, preventing breathing stoppages, snoring and helping the person get a more refreshing night’s sleep.
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A neti pot is a small porcelain or plastic pot with a long spout, looking a little like Aladdin’s magic lamp! It is used for washing out the nose and sinuses to remove allergens, dust and mucus.
Neti pots have been used for centuries in India and have been adopted more recently by the Western world.
Washing out the nose is called nasal irrigation and a mild solution of salt in water in used. The salt helps to shrink inflamed tissues and can help remove infection and this is one possibility to help stop snoring.
Some people may be wary of using them at first but there are plenty of videos available for demonstrating the use of a neti pot and once you see how they are used, you will agree it is very simple. Basically you bend your face over a sink and tilt your head to one side. Then insert the tip of the neti pot into the upper nostril and let the saline solution run gently into the nasal cavities. Provided you keep your head tilted forward, it will not run down your throat. Once the nasal passages have been washed out from one side, then tilt the head the other way and run the solution through the other nostril.
Snoring – it affects pretty much everyone at one point or another. However, some people snore much more frequently than others. Persistent snoring not only affects the quantity of your sleep, but also the quality of it. This can leave you feeling fatigued throughout the day, which will leave you more irritable. It can also increase the likelihood of developing some serious health problems. Also, snoring may cause your partner to stay awake as well. This can lead to relationship problems if it isn’t addressed sooner or later. They could maybe end up wishing you were in outer space or at least inside a spacesuit! If you are tired of how your snoring is affecting your life, you’ve come to the right place. In the following article we’ll talk about possible causes for your snoring and what you can do to finally get a handle on it and stop snoring immediately – perhaps.
Why snoring happens
Before looking at how you can stop snoring, let’s look at why you are snoring in the first place. There are several different reasons why someone might snore. Some of the most common include…
1. Age – As you get older, your throat gets thinner and the muscles become weaker making you more susceptible to snoring.
2. Sinus and nasal problems – When your airways are partially blocked, it is harder to breath which can create a vacuum within your throat.
3. Being out of shape or overweight – Lack of muscle tone and excess fatty tissue have been shown to contribute to snoring.
4. Sleep posture – People who sleep on their back are more likely to snore because their throat muscles relax, blocking the airway.
5. Medication, smoking and alcohol – Any of these can cause your throat muscles to relax which can lead to snoring.
How to stop snoring
If you’re a snorer, chances are you can attribute it to one or more of the causes mentioned above. Having said that, it is possible to reduce, and in some cases eliminate, your snoring altogether. The first thing you are going to want to try is to make some lifestyle changes. If you feel that your snoring may be caused because you are out of shape and/or overweight, you should strongly consider diet and exercise as a means of reducing your body fat and becoming more conditioned. It would also help to stay away from drinking, smoking and any type of sleep medication or medicines that cause you to become drowsy.
Aside from lifestyle changes, you may also want to establish a bedtime ritual that will help keep you from snoring. Make it a habit to stop eating and consuming caffeine at least two hours before going to bed. You may also want to set up a humidifier in your bedroom to keep the air moist, as dry air can also cause you to snore. If you have blocked nasal passages, consider using a nasal decongestant or Neti pot right before you go to bed. When it finally is time for you to go to sleep, position your head so that it is raised slightly because this will make it easier for you to breath throughout the night. Also, make sure not to sleep on your back. Back sleepers may want to tape a tennis ball to the back of their pyjama shirt to make sure they sleep on their side or stomach.
As mentioned earlier, many of the causes of snoring can be linked to weak throat muscles. There are several throat exercises you can perform throughout the day that may help your muscles become stronger. One great exercise is to place your tongue behind your teeth and move it back into your throat. Hold this position for 3 minutes each day. Another great way to strengthen your throat muscles is to sing loudly. Depending on how good a singer you are, you may want to reserve this exercise for the shower!
If none of the remedies mentioned so far have worked, it may be time for you to see a doctor. There may be some underlying, more serious condition which is causing your snoring. At the very least, your physician will be able to rule out any serious health problems.
Snoring is a completely natural bodily function, however it can become a problem if it occurs too frequently and these tips can help you banish snoring to a considerable extent.
If snoring remains a problem, there are further solutions that can be considered.
Your neck, throat and jaw muscles need exercise too
Snoring and sleep apnea can both be a result of your throat getting blocked while you sleep because your muscles sag and your throat closes when you sleep. By strengthening the muscles in your neck, throat, and jaw, it is possible to enable your muscles to remain toned, so they don’t sag and block your airway. Exercise your neck and throat by spending a few minutes every day performing exercises designed to strengthen the tongue, jaw and neck area. Strengthening these muscles can increase your throat strength and decrease the chance that it will go slack while you are sleeping.
Exercise your mouth and throat
Throat exercise will strengthen the muscles in your throat, keeping them from collapsing during the night. Try pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then hold it there for two or three minutes. You can also use a balloon. First take a deep breath through your nasal passages, then inflate the balloon as much as possible. Repeat this five times. These exercises will strengthen your airway muscles. Another simple exercise that you can do to help prevent snoring is to say your vowels. Take a few minutes a few times a day to say a, e, i, o and u. Say each letter loudly and draw out the sound to last 5-10 seconds each. This will help strengthen throat muscles that are lax and may help eliminate snoring and sleep apnea. You can also give singing a try. Singing is a natural form of exercise for the muscles in the throat and soft palate. Since snoring is sometimes caused by lax muscles in these areas, strengthening them can help. So go ahead and belt out your favorite tune every day, it might give you a quieter and more peaceful night’s sleep and help you stop snoring!
Exercise your tongue
Tongue exercises can also be beneficial because a lot of snoring arises when your tongue falls back and blocks your airway while sleeping on your back. The best exercise consists of sticking your tongue out as far as possible and keeping it straight and then moving it from the right to the left and then up and down. Try to do this roughly 15 times a day.
Exercise your body
Add regular exercise into your routine. Exercise not only tires out the body, it helps relax your mind as well. With a good exercise routine, you may find that a more normal sleep is possible. It may keep the snoring or sleep apnea symptoms from being as severe or even not appearing at all.
If exercise is not for you….
If the mouth and throat exercises don’t help, then a great way to ensure that you do not sleep on your back and cause snoring or sleep apnea to occur is to use a tennis ball to prevent rolling onto your back. You can place one in a pillow behind your back and when you roll over in your sleep, the tennis ball will make you roll back on your side. You could also sew the tennis ball into a pocket on the back of your night clothes. If a tennis ball is too large, you could try a table tennis ball instead.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder, which is potentially serious, in which a sleeper’s breathing stops and starts continually. It is defined as “breathing stopping entirely for 10 seconds or more” and this breath stoppage can last up to 30 seconds! It may or may not include snoring, however, the most characteristic form is where the sleeper exhibits loud snoring, which is then followed by a period or periods of silence when breathing stops or nearly stops. Naturally, this then wakes the sleeper – known as arousal – although the length of time the sufferer is awake may be tiny and they may not become consciously aware that they have woken. Their quality of sleep, though, is affected.
Problems Caused by Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea does not mean that you have problems with going to, or staying asleep (this is insomnia), it is about problems when you’re asleep and it can affect anyone of any age, including childen. Due to the stoppage in the breathing, your body gets less oxygen than it needs and that reduction in oxygen levels is connected to serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, fatigue, general irritability, memory difficulties, weight gain, impotency, headaches, deterioration in your job ability and falling asleep in the day, leading to driving accidents. It has also been linked to symptoms of depression. It becomes significant when the length of time not breathing is longer than 20 seconds or it happens more than 5 times an hour, and anyone who thinks they have it should see their medical adviser.
It can be a dangerous condition because of the health risks, and affects millions of people. Snoring may often be the first sign of this problem, which has led to it being termed the snoring disease because this is one of the symptoms. Snoring is due to a reduced airflow, whereas sleep apnea is a complete, though temporary, obstruction of breathing due to airway blockage. This is obviously more more serious.
Who Gets it?
This problem can affect anyone but there are certain factors that could increase the risk of developing it. It is more common in men than women and in middle-aged and overweight people. This is because men may be more likely to have narrower air passages than women, and an increase in weight can also lead to narrower air passages. As people get older, their muscles may lose tone (become more floppy) which can lead to blockages in the airway. It can be made worse by smoking and alcohol intake and also by taking sleeping tablets.
How Do I Know I have It?
If you snore and you also find that you are excessively tired during the day, maybe falling asleep at work, or while talking to someone, or find it hard to stay awake while driving, then you should consider getting investigated for sleep apnea. Some other symptoms include not waking up refreshed after your night’s sleep, or being woken up by choking spells during the night, or because you are gasping for air. Sometimes it is a sleeping partner who notices this, as the sufferer may not remember this in the morning.
Sleep apnea is treatable but must first be diagnosed. Many hospitals now have sleep apnea clinics, to which your doctor can refer you. There are two types of sleep apnea. The first, which is called central sleep apnea, is fairly rare and is caused by a problem in the brain. This is less likely to be accompanied by snoring. The second, termed obstructive sleep apnea, as its name suggests, is caused by an obstruction. This is more likely to also cause snoring. It is possible to suffer from both.
Some simple remedies that may help you stop snoring and reduce the problem of sleep apnea are to lose weight, reduce or stop alcohol intake, sleep on your side and sleep with the head raised a bit more than usual (maybe another pillow). Stopping smoking, while not simple, may also help.