Snoring can be annoying, especially for those who have to bear it. But it is so much more than the loud noises; sleep apnoea is a medical condition that causes the snorer to momentarily stop breathing for a few seconds that can lead to some serious cardiovascular problems and might even be fatal! Don’t worry though, it is curable. Spare your spouse or roommate the horror and discomfort of sleepless nights with the tips mentioned later in this article.
Sleep apnoea even leads to other life-threatening problems such as high blood pressure, arrhythmia stroke and heart attack, a connection that doctors have figured out quite recently. So the next time you suddenly wake up in the night gasping for air release that it is high time you consult a doctor. Read through to know more about the symptoms and cures to sleep apnoea-
What causes sleep apnoea?
If you have a mild case of snoring there is a strong chance that you are prone to the risk of sleep apnoea. And if not treated on time it can lead to some serious trouble. Sleep apnoea is a sleeping disorder where a person faces an acute shortage of air during sleep. This is because the air passage is blocked or the tongue falls back blocking the way. It causes shallow breathing and shortage of oxygen in the lungs, often waking you up with a jerk probably because your brain finally realises that you cannot inhale properly anymore.
Why is it so dangerous?
Patients suffering from sleep apnoea run high risks of heart attack. Also because of irregular sleeping patterns, they might even have type-two diabetes. Sleep disorders result in blockage of the air passage that might cause great hindrance and complications in heart surgeries as sedatives such as anaesthesia might cause more harm than good. Sleep apnoea can even cause liver problems as well.
Types Of Sleep Apnoea
There are two different types of sleep apnoea – each restricts your breathing and is equally dangerous for human health.
- Obstructive sleep apnoea: This is perhaps the most commonly found type and is related to obesity. The weight of the upper chest and neck leads to restricted supply of oxygen in the lungs; hence the person wakes up several times a night gasping for air. OSA might even lead to heart diseases if not properly cured.
- Central sleep apnoea: This is pretty rare when compared to the former type. This is related to the nervous system where the brain fails to send signals to the diaphragm. This leads to the diaphragm not expanding and contracting properly, hence the breathing problem. A patient suffering from CSA type apnoea doesn’t really snore much but is more at risk.
The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnoea
Sleep apnoea is not something that hits you out of the blue; it has many symptoms that can prevent some deadly diseases if diagnosed timely. Check if you are suffering from any of these common symptoms of sleep apnoea-
Crankiness And Daytime Fatigue
Not getting proper sleep at night often results in you being all cranky and disorganised in the morning. You aren’t able to concentrate on anything because you are so exhausted all the time! Tiredness, drowsiness, incoherent actions, irritation and daytime fatigue are some of the commonly noticed symptoms of people suffering from sleep apnoea. This might lead to accidents or other mishaps as you are not totally alert.
Breathing From The Mouth
In a condition of sleep apnoea the nasal passage is blocked so you often have to breathe in through your mouth, thus the loud snores. You take in the unfiltered air with all the dust and other pollutants.
An Increase In Blood Pressure
Because you are not able to inhale properly, the oxygen levels in your blood vessels also drop quite suddenly. This causes the heart to pump blood furiously making up for the shortage of oxygen resulting in high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. Often the OSA type apnoea causes strokes, rapid heartbeats and heart attacks and might even be fatal.
Obesity And High Cholesterol
Sleep apnoea even leads to increased levels of cholesterol that only add up to the risk of a heart attack! Sleep disorders even cause uneven metabolic activity leading to obesity and strokes. So if you’ve gained a few extra pounds and suffer from high cholesterol chances are that you might be having sleep apnoea and high risk of heart diseases.
Disturbance In Domestic Life
Snoring and irregular sleep also affects your relationship with your spouse or roomie, as they have to bear with the noise. Also the fact that it makes your cranky and irritable doesn’t make matters any easier.
So What Can We Do About It?
Up until now we discussed the many problems and threats associated with sleep apnoea, but unnecessarily fretting over the matter won’t help. You know the problem, now find the solution! It is simple enough the crux of the matter is not getting enough sleep. Browse through these simple remedies and exercises that will help you sleep properly-
Major Lifestyle Changes
People suffering from sleep apnoea really need to adopt a healthy way of living. Fight obesity with proper diet and exercise that keeps you fit and cuts short the risk of deadly heart related diseases. It even keeps the blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels in check.
- Avoid watching TV or working late in the night
- You can do without that extra glass of wine or the cup of coffee after dinner
- Eat nutritious and healthy, add a lot of greens to your diet
- Mould your body clock to getting 6-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night
- Ensure that your bedroom is soothing and comfortable enough. Change the mattress and pillows if need be.
- Regular health check-ups and full body tests.
Cure Sleep Apnoea The Natural Way
Yoga is one of the best remedies to sleep apnoea. Simple stretching exercises such as Tadasana aka Mountain Pose, Salabhasana – alias Locust pose, Bhujangasana – also called the Cobra pose and Meru Vakrasana are recommended even by doctors. Other tricks such as playing the didgeridoo, loud singing, yawning and throat exercises also cures sleep apnoea.
Pay Attention To The Signs
The signs of sleep apnoea are pretty ordinary and obvious you just need to be alert. If your spouse is complaining of your snoring don’t take it lightly. Consult a doctor and take proper medication. Suffering from sleep apnoea makes you more prone to accidents and if not cured on time can lead to severe heart attacks as well
The Proper Treatment And Medication
Sleep apnoea/snoring is curable through CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) treatment where you have to wear an oxygen mask while sleeping to stabilize your breathing. Even breathing strips and nasal dilator comes in handy to curb those loud snores.
Some Simple Tricks That You Can Follow
- Avoid sleeping on your back as that restricts the air passage, sleep on your side to open up the nasal passage
- Sleep with your head propped up in a pillow
- Also wear loose fitting night clothes
- Chewing gum also help as it tightens your gums and muscles