Sleep - that one thing that is sacred to most of us. The bed is where we find solace, a place to rest, get rejuvenated and to relax after a stressful day. Yoga and meditation seem to be far fetched ideas when you are dead beat at the end of the day.  So sleep is the go to choice when you want to relax and unwind.  But there are many of us who find it very difficult to get a good night's sleep. Or in other words, falling asleep or staying asleep is a challenge. 

Back in the day, lack of sleep wasn't thought to be a great problem. As the years progressed, sleep emerged as a field of study and experts now say that sleep has a major role in diseases like ADHD, Schizophrenia and even Dementia. There are various sleep disorders that have been identified. Click below to read more about each of them

Snoring

Sleep Apnea

Sleepwalking

Insomnia

Sleep Apnea- What it is and how to treat it?

Sleep Apnea is a condition or a sleep disorder where an asleep person experiences pauses while breathing. This happens in small episodes called apneas. Sometimes these apneas last long enough so that one or more breaths are skipped. This is dangerous when these episodes of apneas happen frequently in the sleep cycle.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a type of sleep apnea that is caused due to obstruction in the airway. How do you know if sleep apnea is the reason for your disturbed sleep. Here are a few tell tale signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. The obstruction could be because of nasal congestion due to an upper respiratory infection. Swelling in the throat, or tonsillitis can also obstruction to the breathing that causes sleep apnea.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

  • Headache in the mornings
  • Lethargy 
  • Feeling tired throughout the day
  • Being forgetful or easily distracted
  • Insomnia
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Disinterest in sex
  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up feeling out of breath
  • Falling asleep at odd places like in the middle of a conversation

Diagnosis

A polysomnogram is a sleep test to diagnose sleep apnea. The test's observations are then analyzed by a qualified sleep specialist to determine whether or not you have sleep apnea or any another type of sleep disorder.

Are you getting enough sleep? Click here to find out how many hours of proper sleep 

Other research related to sleep apnea

Hot flashes in menopausal women 

Researchers at the The North American Menopause Society have revealed that hot flashes in menopausal women increase cardiovascular risk and OSA. Researchers were previously not able to put a finger on OSA in women as the obvious signs in women are very different to those in men. OSA symptoms for women most often include insomnia, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, and in some cases even depression.  Overweight older women with hypertension were more likely to have OSA than others. Read more about other women's health problems here

Sleep apnea and accidents

American Academy of Sleep Medicine  conducted a research that reveals that obstructive sleep apnea is one of the reasons for increased motor vehicle accidents in the US. Accidents caused by sleep deprived drivers behind the wheel are about 2.5 times more than other drivers. This shows that it is not just drunken driving that can increase road accidents, but sleep-deprivation can do that too. The accident risk is reduced when sleep apnea is treated with CPAP therapy. 

Birth defects and link to Sleep Apnea

Another research by American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2017 revealed that  babies born to mothers who had sleep apnea had a higher risk of congenital anomalies and needed resuscitation at birth. The risk of delivering premature babies was also high in mother’s who had sleep apnea. 

Alzheimers and Sleep Apnea

Who knew Alzheimers disease were also related to sleep apnea! Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may put elderly people at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers disease affects about five million elderly Americans.  Statistics reveal that OSA is even more common, affecting about  30 to 80 % of the senior population in the US.  You wonder how a sleep disorder like sleep apnea can cause Alzheimers. This is because sleep disturbances cause amyloid deposits in the brain. This accelerates decline in cognitive ability that could possibly lead to Alzheimers.

Sleep Apnea and its link to circulatory problems

Fluctuating oxygen levels caused by sleep apnea can deteriorate a person's circulatory system. Research conducted by University of British Columbia revealed that about just six hours of fluctuating oxygen levels, can mess with the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure. This is another compelling reason that it is necessary to get a sleeping problem checked by an expert to rule out sleep apnea.