Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that causes shallow breaths or pauses in breathing while sleeping. The pauses in breathing can last a few seconds or a few minutes. Occurring 5-30 times in the span of one hour and then normal breathing starts again usually with a choking sound or loud snort.
Sleep apnea can either be obstructive sleep apnea which is more common and occurs when muscles of throat relax or central sleep apnea that is caused when proper signals are not sent by the brain to the muscles controlling breathing.
Symptoms and Causes of Sleep Apnea
Some common symptoms of sleep apnea are sleeping excessively during daytime, morning headache, abrupt awakening with shortness of breath, insomnia and loud snoring. You need to see a physician if the snoring is loud that disturbs of yourself or others, you usually awake from the sleep as a result of shortness of breath, pauses in breathing while sleeping, and feeling excessive drowsiness during the day.
Snoring is usually not seen as something potentially dangerous or serious. Also, not everyone suffering from sleep apnea snores and hence it is a good idea to talk to your doctor if you snore loudly.
Relaxation of the muscles in the back of your throat causes sleep apnea. This relaxation of muscles causes the airway to narrow down or close while you breathe in. This causes breathing to stop momentarily dropping the oxygen level in blood. This is lack of oxygen is sensed by the brain and it awakes you from the sleep so that airways can be reopened. This entire process usually is not even noticed by the person.
Remedies for sleep apnea
There are some tips that can help you dealing with sleep apnea without any medical intervention. One good measure is to lose excessive weight and maintain a healthy weight. If you have this problem, it is best to avoid alcohol and some medications such as sleeping pills or tranquilizers. These medications relax the throat muscles and interfere with normal breathing.
You can try sleeping on your abdomen or side rather than your back. When you sleep on your back, it causes the soft palate and tongue to rest against your throat blocking airways. Using saline nasal spray during night can help opening up the nasal passage.
Treatments for sleep apnea
Sleep apnea can be treated with the help of therapies or surgery. The therapies include Continuous positive airway pressure, adjustable airway pressure devise and oral appliances. Surgery helps it by removing excess tissues from nose or throat that vibrate while you breathe and make you snore.