First, we need to know what sleep apnea is; it is actually sleep disordered breathing. If you feel tired even after 8 hours of sleep and you loudly snore, then you probably have sleep apnea. There are two main kinds of it:
– Central sleep apnea, which results from the improper signals sent from the brain to the muscles controlling breathing.
– Obstructive sleep apnea, which is more common, and it occurs due to the relaxed throat muscles.
Actually, the symptoms of both types overlap making it difficult sometimes to determine the type exactly. Both kinds include loud snoring, which is more common in the obstructive type, breathing stops episodes during sleep witnessed by another person, awakening with sore throat or dry mouth, daytime sleepiness and
morning headaches. Nevertheless, you need medical attention if you witness the following:
– Breathlessness awakening you from sleep
– Loud snoring disturbing your sleep or others’
– Excessive daytime drowsiness causing you to fall asleep while working or even driving
Most people do not consider snoring as a sign of something serious, but if you snore loudly punctuated by periods of silence, then you need to see a doctor. Being chronically sleepy and fatigued can be due to many things like narcolepsy, and consulting a doctor is essential to determine the real cause.
In obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles in the back of throat relax making the airway narrow, therefore adequate breath is not available and this lowers the oxygen level in blood. This is when your brain awakens you so that you reopen your airway, and you mostly do not remember these awakenings. This pattern is repeated up to 30 times each hour all night long, which impairs your desired sleep. As for central sleep apnea, it is less common occurring when the brain does not send the proper signals to the breathing muscles; with this type you may wake up with breathlessness or have a difficulty to get back to sleep.