Breathing ceases while you sleep due to a disorder called sleep apnea. The Greek term “breathless” is where the word “apnea” originates. Breathing ceases while you sleep, which results in sleep apnea. Either your airway becomes blocked (obstructive sleep apnea) or your brain miscontrols the breathing process (central apnea) and this occurs.

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The subsequent shortage of oxygen triggers a survival response that arouses you just enough to allow you to start breathing again. That reaction keeps you alive, but it throws off your sleep schedule. This keeps you from getting a good night’s sleep and may have other negative effects, such as stressing your heart, which may be fatal.

How often does sleep apnea occur?

A frequent yet uncommon condition is sleep apnea. According to experts, between 5% and 10% of individuals globally are affected.

How does my body react to sleep apnea?

A basic understanding of the human sleep cycle is helpful in understanding the functioning of sleep apnea. There are many phases of sleep:

First stage: light slumber. This brief phase starts as soon as you go to sleep. It makes up around 5% of your whole sleep duration.

Step2: A deeper slumber. This is a deeper stage that accounts for 45–50% of your total sleep duration; the percentage increases with age.

Stage 3: Sleep in slow waves. Approximately 25% of your sleep duration is spent in this stage of deep sleep, which decreases with age. Getting someone out of stage 3 sleep is extremely difficult, and getting up straight out of it typically results in “sleep inertia,” a condition characterized by “mental fog” and sluggish thinking. During this phase, insomnias such as sleepwalking and sleeptalking occur.

REM sleep: “rapid eye movement” is what REM stands for. At this point, you dream. You may observe movement underneath someone’s eyelids when they are in REM slumber.

Usually, when you go to sleep, you start in Stage 1 and then cycle through Stages 2 and 3. You will eventually enter REM sleep and begin to dream after alternating between those stages. You enter Stage 1 or 2 again and begin a new cycle after the initial REM period. Typically, a cycle lasts between 90 and 110 minutes before starting again. The majority of people experience four or five cycles every night, providing they sleep for the entire eight hours.

How does one identify sleep apnea?

In order to diagnose sleep apnea, a medical professional would often inquire about your medical history and symptoms. Based on your responses and symptoms, if they think you may have sleep apnea, they will probably want you to get tested.

What examinations are planned to identify sleep apnea?

The following are the most popular tests for sleep apnea:

Polysomnogram sleep research conducted overnight. This is an overnight test where you sleep in a medical facility that is specifically designed to monitor your sleep while keeping you as comfortable as possible. The facility is sometimes referred to as a “sleep lab.” Sensors that track your blood oxygen levels, respiration, heart rate, brain waves, and other parameters are used in this exam. This test is regarded by experts as the gold standard for identifying sleep apnea.

Tests for sleep apnea at home. With this type of testing, a sleep study may be finished at home. Similar to an overnight sleep study, but without the need to record brain waves. This test is unable to detect central sleep apnea, therefore it is often not recommended if you have other medical issues or sleep disorders, or if your doctor suspects that you may have more severe sleep apnea. Experts frequently advise doing an overnight sleep study to validate the results of a home study if it shows no signs of sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea medication

Certain drugs may assist treat central sleep apnea in addition to positive airway pressure, adaptive ventilation, and phrenic nerve stimulators. These pharmaceuticals include, for instance, respiratory stimulants, hypnotics (which promote sleep), and more. None of these drugs, nonetheless, has received official approval or is unquestionably acceptable for this purpose.

What foods and beverages may I consume while having sleep apnea?

Individuals with sleep apnea should refrain from binge drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and from using sleeping pills or other recreational or illicit medications that heavily sedate users. They may worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea. Your doctor may discuss medications that may cause that with you, as well as ways to prevent side effects.

Treatment side effects/complications

Many factors, most notably the medicines themselves, influence the problems and adverse effects of the treatments. For advice on how to reduce or avoid side effects, your healthcare professional is the best person to consult.

When will I feel better following treatment?

The duration of recovery or improvement following sleep apnea therapy is contingent upon the specific therapies used. While some people may see complete benefits after just three to six months of constant nightly therapy, others may experience improvement nearly immediately. You can get further information from your healthcare professional about how long it will take you to recuperate and when you might anticipate feeling better.

Positive airway pressure devices, in particular, are effective in treating sleep apnea and can yield extremely quick results. While many modern devices can typically change automatically to match your needs, older devices may require some tinkering and altering (a process known as “titration”) of the settings (particularly if your sleep apnea is light or on the low end of moderate).

The majority of individuals can get over the discomfort of wearing a mask to sleep very quickly, while others may require some time to adjust. When they use a positive airway pressure device to sleep through the night, many patients see improvements right away.