Sleep Apnea can prevent us from having restful sleep, but a better understanding of this condition can help us find the right solution.
On average, we spend 25-35% of our lives asleep. 229,961 hours with our eyes closed. Quality sleep is just as essential to us as food and water. So, what does our body do with all this downtime? What important business do we have to do in the dark? Did Wake Up Jeff from the Wiggles know more than he let on?
The science of sleep is still somewhat a mystery. The biological purpose of a good eight hours rest is still not completely known; all we really know is that we need it. Adequate sleep is imperative to almost every system in the body, from the nervous system to brain, heart, lung function, the metabolism and the immune system.
Recent studies suggest that a lack of good sleep can create a myriad of health issues such as obesity, diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
What is Sleep Apnea?
One of the leading causes of poor sleep is Sleep Apnea, which is common, but because it happens when you’re asleep, it’s very hard to diagnose.
We all know what the word ‘sleep’ means. It’s the wonderful thing you get to do after work, dinner and a glass of wine. But ‘Apnea’ is a Latin word, which translates literally to ‘suspended breath.’
There are a few kinds of sleep apnea. The most common of which is Obstructive Sleep Apnea. When you sleep, the muscles in your body relax and can even become somewhat paralyzed.
In Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the region behind your throat can become obstructed because your body is so relaxed that the muscles that would usually keep your throat passage open. In such a state, the relaxed muscles can nearly or completely block off your throat. If you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, you can stop breathing for up to 10 seconds, hence, ‘suspended breath.’
These periods of ‘suspended breath’ in the night cause lowered oxygen levels which leads your body to believe that it is being suffocated. This instigates a stress response, you experience heightened levels of adrenaline, high blood pressure and high heart rate.
In some cases, Sleep Apnea instances can occur hundreds of times per night, so you can imagine the havoc this wreaks on our bodies.
How do I know if I have Sleep Apnea?
There are several questions you can ask yourself to know if you have Sleep Apnea.
- Do you snore?
- Do you wake up tired even after a full night’s rest?
- Do you wake up in the morning with a dry throat?
- Not to be rude, but are you overweight? Overweight people are much more prone to Sleep Apnea due to the simple fact that more weight accumulates around the neck, the area that directly relates to our intake of oxygen.
- Are you depressed? If depression is coupled with any of these other symptoms, then it might be a good idea to take this seriously.
What do I do to fix it?
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to manage Sleep Apnea and eventually get better sleep.
- The first port of call is exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight is the simplest way to fix Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It can take the pressure off your throat and allow you to breathe freely.
- Quit smoking and drink less alcohol.
- Invest in a CPAP machine. A CPAP machine is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine. These machines ensure constant and steady oxygen to your body. Using a CPAP machine will ensure a good night sleep, which will, in turn, support your body and your health. Because your body is getting the rest that it needs in order to heal itself, many of the health issues that arise from sleep apnea will improve naturally.
You can find a great range of these here at Kenmore Amcal Pharmacy.
You need to sleep, and you need to sleep well for your own health. The surest way to know if you have Sleep Apnea is to go to your local pharmacy for a sleep test.
Kenmore Amcal Pharmacy offers half-priced Sleep Apnea testing for the month of January 2020 at $49.00 per test.
If you would like any further help, to be tested for Sleep Apnea or to find help managing it, come on down to our pharmacy to find a friendly team to assist you.
Katie Robertson is a writer, editor, and avid health researcher, paving her own way to wellness. Katie has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing.
When she’s not working, Katie lives in the world of fiction and you can often find her hiding in her herb garden with a good book.