We all know that sleep apnea causes many a difficult night. Noisy snoring, gasping for breath, and waking up dozens of times a sleep cycle are the unhappy consequences of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). What you may not realize is that sleep apnea can make your days just as challenging.
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by an obstructed airway. The throat muscles may relax as you sleep and make it impossible to inhale fully with each breath. Or you may have a physical condition such as a deviated septum, enlarged tonsils or excess throat tissue that blocks the free passage of air into your lungs. As a result, you stop breathing for a short time and often choke or gasp for breath. Your body responds by waking every time you need to start breathing properly again, and this can happen dozens of times each hour you are asleep. The result is that, while you may think you have slept through the night, you have never gotten the deep sleep your body needs to restore itself.
How can sleep deprivation affect our daytime hours? You might find yourself suffering from any of these problems:
- Constant drowsiness
- Falling asleep at work or while driving
- Headaches every morning
- Sore throats
- Dry mouth (which can lead to gum and dental problems)
- Memory and attention problems
- Moodiness or depression
- Decreased libido
As if these reasons weren’t cause enough to find a solution to your sleeping disorder, the longer term results of sleep apnea can be devastating. High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, dangerous responses to medication or general anesthesia, a higher risk of accidents, and many other serious consequences have been linked to sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea doesn’t just ruin your night. If you suffer from any of the daytime problems listed above, please give our Chevy Chase, Maryland office and your doctor a call. If obstructive sleep apnea is the cause, the doctor can work with you to find a solution that will improve your quality of life 24 hours a day.