Posted on Thursday, March 21st, 2024 at 8:37 pm    

Understanding Apnea Events

It can be upsetting to wake up and suddenly realize that you’re not breathing, a condition known as sleep apnea. However, many people with sleep apnea don’t even know they have a problem.

As far as they know, they get a good night’s sleep every night, but they can’t stop feeling sleepy during the day regardless. Their partner may be the only one who even suspects something is wrong due to the constant loud snoring.

Understanding apnea events and what you can do about them may help restore your peace of mind and make it a little easier for you to get the sleep your body needs.

What Are Apnea Events?

If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night because your breathing stopped during sleep, you may have experienced an apnea event. According to the Harvard Medical School, an “apnea” is an interruption in breathing during sleep. When you stop breathing in your sleep, your body will wake you up, even if for just a moment, so you can start breathing normally again.

That can cause you to snore loudly or make choking noises as you fight to resume normal breathing.

Because you may only be awake for a moment, you may not remember waking up at all when, in fact, you may be waking up multiple times every night with sleep apnea. A recent article published by the Harvard Medical School states that apneas can happen hundreds of times in a single night, and any individual apnea may last for 10 to 30 seconds. 

Causes of Breathing Interruptions

According to the University of Rochester Medical School, causes of breathing interruptions include:

  • The throat muscles become too relaxed during sleep, causing them to sag and obstruct the airway. This is the most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea.
  • The airway becomes too narrow to let air flow in and out easily, usually due to weight gain. This is another cause of obstructive sleep apnea.
  • The brain temporarily loses communication with the muscles controlling breathing. This is a case of central sleep apnea, which is relatively rare.

Regardless of the cause, the breathing is interrupted, and the person suffering from sleep apnea wakes up partially for a moment to get their breathing going again. They may make loud snoring or choking noises while resuming regular breathing. Because the person suffering from sleep apnea often wakes up multiple times a night, whether they remember it or not, the result is poor quality of sleep. 

Consequences of Sleep Apnea

Having your sleep interrupted repeatedly throughout the night is bound to have other consequences, from a disgruntled sleeping partner to simple exhaustion. According to the University of Rochester Medical School, common consequences of sleep apnea include:

  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Problems with blood pressure and irregular heartbeat
  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke

You may also experience some of the usual side effects of not getting enough sleep, from headaches to irritability. One of the most serious consequences of sleep apnea is inattentiveness due to sleepiness. Harvard Medical School warns that untreated sleep apnea can make you seven times more likely to be in a car accident. Sleep apnea is a problem with real and serious consequences.  

Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea

Understanding Apnea Events

The most common warning signs of sleep apnea are snoring and sleepiness. Neither of these is enough to diagnose sleep apnea, as there can be other reasons for either snoring or sleepiness. However, if your partner tells you that you snore loudly when you’re asleep, yet you find it hard to stay awake during the day, sleep apnea is a likely culprit.

Harvard Medical School suggests that you should visit a doctor and get checked out for sleep apnea. The doctor is likely to ask you about snoring and sleepiness, check for any signs of a narrowed throat, and check how large your neck is. They’ll also take your blood pressure, as sleep apnea is associated with high blood pressure. 

Get Help for Better Sleep Today

If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, help is available. There are a variety of solutions to help you overcome your sleep apnea and get the rest you need, including a variety of comfortable oral appliances. To find out which treatment is right for you, simply make an appointment with a sleep clinic like Silent Night Therapy.

Stop keeping your partner awake all night with your snoring or struggling through the day because you’re just too sleepy to function. Contact Silent Night Therapy online or call 631-983-2463 today. We can help with your sleep apnea.