Sleep apnea is a condition where a person ceases to breathe for a period of time during sleep. For many people, this condition is minor, so the patient is unaware of it. But for those that suffer episodes that interrupt sleep, this condition is not only unhealthy, but can create a consistent weariness that can impact the patient and many others.

Symptoms for sleep apnea are wide and varied. Some may snore, but snoring is not necessarily a determining factor. This disorder can result in abrupt awakening numerous times per night as the patient tries to resume breathing because the tissues in the mouth and throat relax to such an extent that the airway becomes blocked. This is referred to as obstructive sleep apnea.

It is possible to be afflicted with both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea, which is a disorder of the central nervous system. 

Sleep apnea can be responsible for morning headaches, restless sleep, forgetfulness, and even depression.

Sleep apnea can be responsible for morning headaches, restless sleep, forgetfulness, and even depression. Consistently interrupted sleep can lead to dangerous conditions for people that are relied upon to be sharp and alert in their jobs like medical providers, air traffic controllers, pilots or people who spend hours driving a car, bus, train or operating machinery.

Often undiagnosed, many people attribute daytime fatigue to stress that interrupts their sleep. This may be true for some, and anyone can suffer from sleep apnea. If you feel you are at risk, there are some things you can try:

• Lose a few pounds – Even a moderate weight loss can help.

• Do not smoke.

• Avoid the things that you think would normally aid in sound sleep like alcohol and sedatives. These can relax the throat even more and may increase sleep apnea episodes.

• Limit caffeine and food consumption the last couple of hours before bed.

• Develop a sleep regimen – going to bed and getting up at the same time each day may help.

• Sleep on your side.

A sleep study may be needed for an accurate diagnosis. A visit to the dentist may be advantageous as well. There are options available from wearing a mouth guard to other devices that are designed to keep your airway open during sleep by adjusting the resting position of your tongue and lower jaw.

Other corrective measures are available, but a correct diagnosis is needed to find the best solution. If you are experiencing any symptoms of sleep apnea, contact the office of Dr. Daniel Bush to schedule a consultation.