Snoring is a common issue that affects most people at some point in their lives. It is always an indicator of something more. For example, you may be more likely to snore if you are more tired than usual or if you have a head cold. If the snoring doesn’t go away, weight gain or drinking alcohol late at night could be the cause. Small lifestyle changes can eliminate your snoring.
However, snoring can be an issue if it doesn’t go away or if it interrupts your breathing. You may not be aware that you stop breathing during the night unless someone tells you. Although, you may notice other symptoms of sleep apnea. If you suspect you have sleep apnea or have difficulty sleeping, you should talk to your doctor right away. Without treatment, sleep apnea can be deadly.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that affects your breathing as you sleep. Depending of the severity of your condition, you may stop breathing hundreds of times a night.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA occurs when the soft tissues in your mouth and throat (e.g., your tongue and soft palate) block your airway. As a result, your body doesn’t get enough oxygen, so your body will startle you awake.
Another form of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea. Rather than an obstruction, your body stops breathing because the brain doesn’t send the correct signals to the muscles that control your breathing.
Finally, complex sleep apnea is a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea.
What Are The Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
One of the biggest indicators of sleep apnea is interrupted breathing. When you stop breathing, your body panics. As a result, you will wake up gasping for air. However, you still may not be aware that you are constantly waking up throughout the night. This means that you need to look for other signs.
If you have OSA, you are more likely to snore loudly. This is because the soft tissues will block off your airway. When air moves through this area, it will cause loud snoring. In fact, your snoring may be loud enough to wake partners or be heard through walls.
In combination with snoring, you may also suffer from chronic headaches. When your body goes without oxygen, it raises your blood pressure and lowers your blood oxygen levels. This can cause headaches. Your body undergoes extreme stress when you stop breathing, so it does what is necessary to keep you alive. Your heart and immune system take the brunt of the long-term damage.
When you don’t get enough rest at night, it can hurt your cognitive abilities. For example, it may be challenging to pay attention at work or school. In addition, lack of sleep can affect your memory and decision-making. Also, it can make it difficult to stay focused on a task, such as driving a car.
In addition, you may find yourself feeling fatigued constantly. This is because your body is never able to rest at night.