Obstructive sleep apnea is a more common sleep disorder than people may realize, and many patients who have it may not realize for a long time. The longer it takes to recognize, diagnose, and treat sleep apnea, the bigger of an impact it can have on your sleep quality and overall quality of life. Today, we examine how having sleep apnea makes it harder to rest peacefully, or to sleep as deeply as you need to properly rejuvenate.
What happens during a sleep apnea cycle?
Sleeping occurs in cycles, and the most beneficial stage of sleep is the deep, rapid eye movement (R.E.M.) level. It can take a while for you to reach this stage after you’ve fallen asleep, which is why sleeping peacefully throughout the night is so critical. However, when you have sleep apnea, this cycle is interrupted constantly by the cessation of your breathing. Oral and throat tissues can collapse into your airway while you sleep, making it increasingly harder to breathe. As the obstruction grows, it can cause you to snore louder and louder, until the noise stops along with your breathing once the obstruction is complete.
What does interrupting your sleep cycle lead to?
When sleep apnea causes you to repeatedly stop breathing, your brain and body are forced to wake enough to clear the airway so that you can breathe again. Once they do and start to settle back into rest, however, your airway will once again become obstructed and your breathing pattern interrupted. This prevents your brain and body from entering the deep levels of sleep that they need to properly rest and recuperate, and before long, you can begin to experience symptoms of sleep deprivation throughout the day.
What symptoms might warn you of sleep apnea?
The details behind sleep apnea, such as its specific cause and the extent to which it affects your sleep pattern, can be different for everyone. However, its impact on the quality of your sleep will be similar due to the constant interruptions to your sleep cycle. In addition to the loud snoring that accompanies obstructive sleep apnea, other symptoms that might warn you of the sleep disorder can include:
- Increasing fatigue and daytime tiredness
- Losing concentration and focus
- Becoming more easily irritable
- Getting sick more frequently (due to a weaker immune system)
- And more
Learn how to treat sleep apnea and rest easier
If you have sleep apnea, then it could be significantly impacting the overall quality of your sleep, even if you don’t recognize it at first. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling Allen & Neumann Family Dentistry in Pella, IA, today at (641) 628-1121.