Feel like the Walking Dead?
You feel tired throughout the day, even when you think you’ve slept enough. You have difficulty concentrating, or you’ve got to fight to stay awake during the day.
If you’re not the proud, sleepless parent of a new baby, you just might be one of the many who suffer from sleep apnea, and you don’t even know it. It’s estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from it, yet only 20% have been diagnosed.
So, what is sleep apnea? It’s a sleep disorder that occurs when your windpipe is blocked while you sleep. This limits the air that reaches your lungs, which results in loud snores or gasping sounds. The gasping part happens because your body reawakens you to start breathing again. During the course your night’s “sleep”, this may happen a few times or hundreds of times.
And the reason so many people aren’t aware that they may have sleep apnea is that they remain in a light sleep during their breathing interruptions. And if you’re unaware that you have this problem, the disorder remains undiagnosed.
Ok, so what’s the problem with sleep apnea? Aside from interfering with your job and daily activities, (and forcing you to sleep by yourself at night),untreated sleep apnea increase your risk for more serious health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, acid reflux and asthma.
6 Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea
If you think you suffer from sleep apnea (or you know of someone who sleeps next to you who might), here are some common signs of this sleep disorder.
- You have dry mouth when you wake up. This is usually caused by sleeping with your mouth open. While there are various reasons why you do this, one of them is that you’re having difficulty getting enough air, so you’re breathing through your mouth to compensate. Learn more about dry mouth.
- You often wake up with a headache. This may be attributed to your sleep pattern being off because you’re not getting enough deep sleep from your body needing reawaken itself to breathe properly.
- You’re Tired All the Time – because you don’t sleep deeply, or continuously enough.
- Your jaws or teeth are painful. While teeth grinding can be responsible for this due to stress or TMJ disorder, sleep apnea may also cause this because you’re not getting enough air when you sleep and you’re straining your facial and jaw muscles to get more air.
- You’re a world-class snorer – You probably wouldn’t know this, however, unless you’ve had someone telling you, or alerting you via elbow jabs, pillows…moving into separate residence. Loud snoring is definitely a sign of sleep apnea, but if it’s infrequent, it could also be due having a cold, allergies, or from drinking alcohol.
Tired of being tired? There may be some relief for you to keep you from the ranks of the Walking Dead. If you believe that you may suffer from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, Dr. Kyle Beffa can evaluate you to determine whether you have sleep apnea, as well as provide treatment options. Depending upon your level of the sleep apnea, your treatment may be as simple as wearing a custom-designed mouthpiece, or snore guard. Call us at (206) 242-0066 or contact us online if you have any questions or would like to schedule an evaluation.