Sleep Apnea

I have written lots of pages about sleep apnea because I suffered with it for over 30 years. There are links at the bottom of this page for all the information you may need if you suffer from it too.

It affected my life for so long and prevented me from achieving optimal health.

So, what is Sleep Apnea!

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects your breathing while you sleep, you pause breathing and you have shallow breathing.

The pause in breathing can last for a few seconds or even minutes and this happens many times during sleep.

This is followed by loud snoring or snorting as breathing resumes. Because sleep is so disturbed by this, tiredness during the day follows.

Snoring is commonly associated with sleep apnea but this isn't always the case! Not everyone with the disorder actually snores.

Having said that, I am a REALLY loud snorer!!

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three types:
Obstructive (OSA)
The breathing is interrupted by a blockage of the airflow
Central (CSA)
This is when breathing stops due to a lack of effort to breathe.
Combination of both
The combination of both OSA and CSA.

What are the symptoms?

sleep apnea

What are the symptom of sleep apnea, do you know what to look for? If you have any of the symptoms below you may have this sleep apnea. 

Constant tiredness and fatigue are the main symptoms and can affect your life drastically. Having to sleep during the day affects how you run and plan your days.

Finding ways to keep yourself awake and alert is frustrating. This can lead to putting on weight through over eating, to try to give yourself more energy to stop feeling so tired.

Sleep partners also suffer as their sleep is disturbed from the noise of snoring and gasping for breathe noises.

There is no quick fix and its not something that will suddenly go away and you are cured.

The diagnosis procedure takes time and finding the right treatment also takes time. But also adapting your sleep to whatever treatment suits you takes time to get used to.

This is a long haul journey and you have to be prepared for a lot of trial and error to find something that really works for you and helps your symptoms.

Getting Tested

First port of call - your GP
You must emphasis to your doctor that your symptoms are affecting your health. Some doctors don't take sleep apnea seriously enough.

Your GP will refer you to a sleep specialist in your geographical area. The referral is to see a specialist who will organise a sleep study. The medical sleep study is to establish whether you have a sleep disorder or not.

The Sleep Study
This will record your sleep pattern, your level of sleep and how often you stop breathing.

Depending on your medical services this might be an overnight stay at a hospital or a sleep clinic and sometimes it can be done from your own home.

The sleep during the sleep study needs to be as natural as possible otherwise it will give a false reading. For example if you stay in a hospital for a sleep study and its far too hot in the night, you wont sleep properly so the study wont be accurate.

I've had sleep studies where the conditions have been awful and sleep impossible. Needless to say the results were inconclusive!

Always ask what is involved with the sleep study. You need to know exactly what they are going to do, so you don't get any nasty surprises on the night. This happened to me!

It is important that you know what treatments are available to you when you have been diagnosed.

This can either be through your sleep clinic, your doctor or private health care. If you have been tested you should be referred to a sleep disorder specialist/clinic.

Your symptoms must be treated, you should not ignore them, they won't go away and they could have an impact on your health.

There are many devices available for sleep disorders. You can find many devices online but do they actually work.

Some people will find something that works for them and stick to it. Others will find no relief from anything and will spend much money buying and trying new devices but without success.

Sometimes it is worth persevering with a device as it can take a while to get used to sleeping differently and feel comfortable sleeping maybe in a different position or a new pillow or even wearing a breathing mask.

Some devices can have their benefits.

Don’t ignore it
Sleep apnea should always be treated as it can lead to other health implications and long term complications. Sleep deprivation is serious and should be treated as serious.

If you see your doctor who appears to be flippant about your symptoms please see another doctor for a second opinion. This is your health and you are responsible for it.

Always seek a second opinion if the first doctor doesn't give you the answers or advice you are looking for.

The importance of sleep
When you sleep well you wake feeling refreshed and ready to start the day ahead with a clear head and ready to tackle what the day throws at you, full of vibrant health.

The stages of sleep that we go through at night are designed to refresh the body and all stages of sleep need to be complete for this. Someone with sleep apnea will not go through all the stages of sleep in the sleep cycle and therefore, does not wake feeling refreshed after a nights sleep.

Quality sleep helps to heal the body and mind naturally by repairing and restoring the body to its natural balance. Your body detoxifies, strengthens the immune system and replenishes nerve energy.

A person can't survive without sleep. If you don't have quality sleep it can have a dramatic affect on your health which also impacts on the way you feel and perform but also on how you look.

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