What Triggers Sleep Apnea?

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Have you been hearing more and more about sleep apnea lately? Or perhaps you suspect you or your partner is suffering from the condition. It seems that more people are talking about, and finding solutions, sleep apnea — the condition that interrupts a person’s breathing during sleep. Let’s talk about sleep apnea today — what the symptoms are, and what solutions are available.

What Triggers Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when there are pauses or interruptions in breathing during sleep, sometimes for as long as 10 seconds, multiple times or at regular intervals throughout the night. Because the body is not taking in as much oxygen as it should be, the condition results in less oxygen in the blood. It also interrupts the sleep cycle throughout the night, leaving people unrested and dealing with the effects of a lack of deep sleep. The most common reason that sleep apnea is triggered is due to body mass and weight. In adults, a person carrying excess weight may also have excess soft tissue of the mouth and throat. While sleeping, the throat and tongue muscles relax and this soft tissue can momentarily cause the airway to become blocked. There are other reasons a person might be living with sleep apnea as well, including:
  • A narrow throat and/or a round-shaped head
  • Hypothyroidism — when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone
  • Excess growth due to hormones
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Deviated septum or collapsed internal nose structure
  • Regular smoking habits
  • Overconsumption of alcohol or drugs

How Do You Know if You Have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea has two main forms: Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)—interruptions are caused when the brain fails to message the respiratory system to breathe. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)—breathing is interrupted by a physical blockage, often the soft tissue of the throat or the tongue collapsing into the airway. (There is also a third form called complex or mixed sleep apnea, which is a combination of CSA and OSA.) There are several signs that you might be suffering from sleep apnea, though it can be difficult to diagnose on your own. But if any of these, or a combination of the following symptoms apply to you, it is a good idea to visit a clinic or see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
  • Snoring
  • Regular headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Lack of focus or ability to concentrate
  • General grogginess and a feeling of exhaustion
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, or are suffering from the above symptoms, the good news is that some lifestyle changes might help correct the problem. Diet and exercise will help shed extra weight, and reducing alcohol and quitting smoking are also helpful steps. Getting your hormone levels looked at may also help point you in the right direction. Prioritizing sleep and sleeping on the right mattress and pillow for your needs is a great investment into your overall health and well-being, and will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. If you are looking for the mattress that just might change your life, come and see us and we will help you find the mattress of your dreams.