When the nightly symphony you make while sleeping finally leads to a search for snoring remedies, you might have a more significant problem to actually deal with than just keeping your bed partner awake. Loud snoring at night ranks as one of the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
OSA is a sleep disorder where the brain fails to receive enough oxygen. Soft tissue located at the back of the throat relaxes, causing the airway to become partially blocked. This obstruction prevents the brain from receiving enough oxygen, so the brain shocks the body out of sleep, thereby reopening the airway. Unfortunately, when a patient with OSA falls back asleep, the process repeats itself. Patients with severe OSA can experience the process of falling asleep and being shocked awake dozens of times an hour.
When left untreated, OSA can increase your risk for a variety of serious health problems that include heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. While snoring ranks as the most common symptom of OSA, the disorder can also cause other symptoms that signal you need to do more than just search for snoring remedies.
Let’s take a look at a few of the other signs your trouble sleeping at night might be the result of OSA.
Frequent morning headaches are another common sign of OSA. One of the reasons researchers believe OSA causes headaches is due to diminished oxygen levels in the blood and brain that occurs at night when breathing become impaired. If you frequently wake up greeted by an unexpected headache, you need to consider that the cause of your discomfort may be the result of more than just poor sleep.
The process of falling asleep, having the brain shock the body awake, and repeating this process dozens of times an hour prevents the body from achieving deep REM sleep. Not all sleep is considered equal. The type of deep rest our bodies require only occurs during REM sleep, the state of rest where dreaming occurs. Failure to receive this type of deep sleep causes daytime drowsiness where no matter how much sleep you’ve received the night before, you feel tired and sluggish the next day.
Inability to Concentrate
Having a tendency to doze off in class or during meetings makes it hard to pay full attention to what’s going on. A lack of deep sleep also causes the brain to feel fatigued, making it far more difficult for you to maintain your concentration. People with OSA typically have a harder time focusing on any one topic for too long, and have a tendency to develop short attention spans.
It’s not only your ability to concentrate that suffers when dealing with OSA, your memory can also start to falter. Specifically, studies have found that our verbal and visuospatial memory are impacted by OSA. How does this manifest itself? You may experience a struggle to find the right word at times, or you may forget the route you took to arrive at a destination. When left untreated, OSA has been linked to an increased risk for Alzheimer’s.
High Blood Pressure
As you might expect, the stress a lack of deep sleep puts on the body causes other health problems like high blood pressure to manifest. One in five adults experience at least a mild form of OSA, according to the American Heart Association. A strong connection exists between hypertension and OSA, and hypertension also increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, by treating OSA, you can also successfully lower your blood pressure and risk for heart disease.
Sleep apnea can manifest more symptoms than just loud snoring at night. If you have trouble sleeping and frequently experience any of the symptoms listed above, you need to schedule a sleep apnea consultation with Dr. Lawrence today. Leaving your OSA untreated can significantly increase your risk for a variety of other serious issue. Don’t wait to get the sleep you deserve. Contact our office today.