Advice To Help You Deal With Troubling Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea robs many people of a good night's sleep. The good news is that there are many simple ways that help you get a restful night's sleep. Try using this advice to sleep better at night.

It's necessary to use a CPAP machine for four hours each night if your doctor has prescribed one for your sleep apnea. It can be hard, at first, to get comfortable using it. For this CPAP therapy to work successfully, you will need four hours each day to use it. As you become more accustomed to the sleep mask, you should be able to wear it longer.

Children can also suffer from sleep apnea. You can usually notice a child with sleep apnea when they are hyperactive, inattentive, hostile, irritable and see them continuously breathing through their mouth. Sometimes, sleep apnea is confused with ADHD, and you should consult your doctor for the proper diagnosis.

Try something besides sleeping pills. Much like alcohol, sleeping pills can relax your throat muscles. They can also contribute to a large variety of things that are problematic to those who suffer from sleep apnea. See if your doctor knows of any sleeping medication that doesn't cause respiratory depression.

When you have sleep apnea you can find out about it from tests your doctor will run. A sleep study can also shed some light on your sleep problems. Your primary physician may find that the best course of action is to send you to see a sleep specialist. These doctors have the specialized expertise necessary to diagnose and treat many sleep disorders including sleep apnea.

If you sleep alone, you may have sleep apnea and not know it. You can consider recording your sleep patterns with a camcorder. Make sure that the microphone on your recording device picks up any snoring or other noises you make while sleeping, because your physician needs to hear them.

If you have sleep apnea and use a CPAP, be sure to carry a medical ID with you. Should something happen to you that requires medical attention, this will alert others of your condition. Your ID should clearly inform medical personnel of your sleep apnea condition. Include the fact that you're using a CPAP machine and indicate the proper pressure level it operates at.

Always bring your CPAP along whenever you travel. Using a CPAP is essential every night for those of you living with sleep apnea. Most machines come with a travel pack anyway. This can be used to transport the CPAP machine simply when not at home.

Treat any sinus or allergy problems you might have if you do have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea makes breathing during sleep hard. You want to reduce any chance that you have of disturbing your sleep. Addressing nasal problems ensures you a better chance at sleeping from dusk until dawn problem-free.

Some people have great luck with stopping their snoring by using an anti-snoring device they wear in their mouth while sleeping. Snoring occurs when air passages are almost closed, while sleep apnea occurs when air passages are completely closed. So, anything that helps relieve the first issue will also help with the second. An anti-snoring device can reduce your apnea while you sleep.

Exercising your tongue can help with your sleep apnea. One simple exercise is to put your tongue against the roof of your mouth and hold it there for a couple of minutes. Your tongue and throat muscles will become stronger by doing this, making it less likely that your airways are blocked as you sleep.

Life is hard enough to deal with without the added stress of feeling tired and having no energy throughout the day. Don't let your sleep apnea stop your progress, so put the tips from this article to help work for your benefit.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Are you feeling sleepy all the time? Do you snore? Is your doctor having a difficult time treating your high blood pressure?  If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you might have Sleep Apnea (also called Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA).

Sleep Apnea is a condition involving pauses or decreases in breathing during sleep.  It is usually due to airway collapse.  This collapse occurs in the nose and/or the throat – anywhere from where air enters the nostrils to the back of the tongue.  Imagine a straw collapsing when trying to suck on a thick milkshake. Frequently, this airway collapsibility problem is inherited and starts in childhood.  In the daytime, it is not a problem because there is good muscle-tone in the airway and the brain monitors breathing.  But at night, the throat muscles become relaxed and the brain is not as attentive to the airway.  So on inhalation, the airway walls can either completely collapse or significantly narrow.  This is a problem because 1) the body must struggle to breathe and 2) the brain has to “wake up” to reopen the airway.

These frequent awakenings lead to fragmentation of nighttime sleep.  You may not remember them because they are so short.  In fact, patients with sleep apnea can wake-up more than 30 times an hour and think that they slept uninterrupted through the night.  Since sleep must be continuous and consolidated in order to be restorative, a number of cognitive problems can occur with sleep fragmentation: daytime sleepiness, memory problems, concentration difficulties, emotional instability, irritability, slowed reaction time, and most importantly, an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents.

There are also cardiovascular consequences of this constant “struggling to breathe.”  This puts a strain on the heart and blood vessels, leading to increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Finally, there are social implications to Sleep Apnea.  The snoring associated with sleep apnea can disrupt the sleep of others.  In fact, one study showed that when a person treats his/her sleep apnea, the sleep partner gets the equivalent of one hour more sleep per night.

Sleep apnea is a progressive disease and often gets worse with age.  Weight gain, alcohol, and other sedating/relaxing substances exacerbate it.

Who Gets Sleep Apnea?

A common misconception is that only overweight men that snore loudly have sleep apnea, but the facts are:

1) Sleep apnea can occur without snoring
2) Thin people can have sleep apnea
3) Women can have sleep apnea
4) Children can have sleep apnea

In other words, anyone can have it. Even skinny women.  Even children.

I Think I Might Have Sleep Apnea, How Do I Find Out If I Have It?

Make an appointment with your primary care physician, or if your insurance allows it, go straight to a sleep specialist. If your physician thinks you might have sleep apnea, then he/she can refer you for a sleep study or comprehensive sleep evaluation.

How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?

There are four main categories of treatment for sleep apnea: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Surgery, Oral Appliances, and Behavioral Modification. 

The most effective way to treat sleep apnea is with CPAP.  CPAP is a mask worn over the nose attached by a hose to an air compressor.  The air compressor gently and quietly blows room-air into the nose, which “stents” the airway open, preventing airway collapse.  This is the most effective way to treat sleep apnea, and all patients diagnosed with sleep apnea should at least try it before considering other options.

Surgery can be an effective way to treat sleep apnea. A number of different procedures can be performed.  These range from nasal septum repair to jaw reconstruction.  Talk to your doctor about whether surgery is the right option for you.

An oral appliance is a device made by a dentist or an orthodontist designed to pull your lower jaw forward.  By pulling your lower jaw forward, the tongue is pulled away from the back of the throat.  If your airway obstruction is occurring behind the tongue, then this can be an effective way to treat your sleep apnea.  The treatment of sleep apnea with oral appliance should be a coordinated effort between the sleep physician, the dentist/orthodontist, and the patient.

Behavioral modifications can help in the treatment of sleep apnea, but are usually the least effective.  These include such techniques as weight loss, sleeping on your side, and avoiding alcohol before bedtime.

None of these treatment options is ideal, but they all can be useful in treating sleep apnea and resulting in more restful sleep.  With risks like heart attack and stroke, you should do everything you can to get your sleep apnea under control.  If you think you have sleep apnea, contact your doctor or go to a sleep center.  It could be the best decision you ever made.

Even the Elderly Need a Good Night's Sleep

Experts say that older Americans often have difficulty getting good night's sleep. It is a big quality-of-life problem, since contrary to popular belief, the elderly needs about the same amount of sleep as younger adults. According to senior research associate Dr. Harrison Bloom of the International Longevity Center, sleep problems together with sleeping disorders are not an inherent part of aging. In addition, he also said that it's pretty much of a myth that older people need less sleep than younger people.

But still, in a study published recently in the American Journal of Medicine, researchers found that more than half of older Americans have problems in getting the sleep that they need. Dr. Julie Gammack, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Geriatric Medicine at St. Louis University and also the author of the study said that older people tend to have “sleep fragmentation”, meaning they wake up more often during the night. She also added that older people seem to get less “REM” sleep, the type of sleep during which rapid eye movement occurs.

It is unclear what specific role these naturally occurring changes in sleep patterns have on a person's quality of life, but what is important though, is that older people often have actual sleep disorders and sleep problems, according to Dr. Bloom. In line with this, experts say that there is usually more than one case. A professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and associate director of the University of Washington's Northwest Geriatric Education Center Michael Vitiello said that sleep disturbance in older adults is typically associated with acute and chronic illnesses, including specific sleep disorders like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome that appear with greater frequency in older populations. As people age, they typically develop more diseases and suffer from aches and pains. Gammack noted that these things can disrupt sleep, so what they may see as a sleep disorder may actually relate to the effects of some of their other medical conditions. Bloom also added that taking multiple medications, like most older people do, can also lead to fatigue and “hypers    omnia”, or being tired all the time. Another big problem, Bloom notes, would be depression and anxiety, since these conditions are commonly associated with sleep problems.

But despite the prevalence of sleep difficulties in older adults, many patients are not getting the help they need. According to Vitiello, the average physician only receives little training regarding sleep disorders and usually does not routinely screen patients for them. This may be due to lack of time or training, or the belief that there is little that can be done to improve sleep. As a result, sleep disturbances such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and circadian rhythm disorders are left undiagnosed and untreated.

In somehow solving the problem, an organization on aging, geriatrics and sleep is currently developing guidelines to promote prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sleep problems in older adults. According to Bloom, the reason why they are concerned with the problem, besides a major issue on the quality of life and being tired, is that sleep disorders are associated with hypertension, diabetes, pulmonary disease, heart disease, depression, and anxiety. A cause and effect relationship has yet to be established between sleep disorders and these chronic health conditions, but Bloom suggests that they contribute to each other.


Great Sleep Apnea Tips for All Ages

Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed, and it varies in intensity from one sufferer to the next. This is a condition that occurs whenever a person's airway slightly collapses while sleeping, which interferes with his or her ability in breathing. For more information about this terrible condition, continue ahead to the article below.

Regular practice on a wind instrument can minimize some of your sleep apnea symptoms. Researchers in Germany have found playing a didgeridoo can make your throat muscles stronger. These muscles are responsible for opening and closing your airway, as well as controlling the stiffness of the airway. Therefore, getting involved with an instrument like this can help you sleep better.


Refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages as much as possible, especially at bedtime. When drinking alcoholic beverages, it will relax your muscles. Drinking alcohol will make it hard for you to get through the night if you have sleep apnea. Your throat muscles relax too much from alcohol, which means trouble of your body to manage breathing. If you're not going to give up alcohol, then just don't do it right before bedtime.

It can be a very serious issue when you have sleep apnea. If you see any signs, go get yourself an opinion right away. In the process of fully diagnosing your condition, you may be able to consult with a sleep specialist. Home sleep tests with portable monitors are also often used to pinpoint sleep apnea.

In an effort to get a restful night of sleep, sleep on your side if possible. When we sleep on our backs, the nasal and throat passages are more prone to obstructing the air-ways. If you have trouble staying off your back, sew a tennis ball into the back of your pajamas to help you stay on your side. You may see a big difference in the quality of your sleep.

Sleep in a prone position. It's not uncommon for many with sleep apnea to sleep while laying on their back. Your airway can become obstructed if you sleep on your back. It is best to sleep on one of your sides or your stomach. If you roll on your back when you sleep, try using pillows to stay on your side.

Try and get someone you know to tell you how you sleep through the night. Try setting up a video camcorder to record yourself while you are sleeping at night. You need to include audio in your video because the doctor needs to hear the noises you make.

Your physician may suggest that you start recording your sleeping habits in order to zero in on your sleep apnea symptoms. Here, you will track your hours of successful sleep, when you awaken through the night and other problems you may encounter. If you have a partner, you can find out about snoring issues, breathing issues or flailing limb issues. These pieces of information are key to helping your doctor diagnose your sleep disorder.

A medical ID is a must for those being assisted by a CPAP machine. Should something happen to you that requires medical attention, this will alert others of your condition. This ID should state that you've got sleep apnea, that you're using CPAP therapy, and that your machine has a specific pressure level that it must be set to.

Don't forget to bring your CPAP along when you need to stay in the hospital. Be it an intended or emergency room stay, you must always have access to your CPAP and the mask when you suffer from sleep apnea. This is because it is already customized to the pressure you need, and the mask won't be awkward. This will make continuing your CPAP therapy much more tolerable.

After reading this article, you should now know what sleep apnea is and how it affects people's lives. If you or someone you know may have sleep apnea, it is vital that you consult with your doctor about it.

What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is identified with pauses in breathing while asleep. There are signs to look out for that may indicate you are suffering from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be a dangerous condition so you should consult your doctor should you display any of the common symptoms. The following paragraphs offer some answers.

Of all the sleep apnea symptoms, the first one that comes to mind is sleepiness. Someone with sleep apnea struggles to get a good night’s sleep. Consequently, that individual is always sleepy. Yet sleepiness represents only one of the sleep apnea symptoms.

Some sleep apnea symptoms are similar to those found with sleep deprivation. Morning headaches and dry mouth are examples of such symptoms. Repeated morning headaches and frequent episodes of dry mouth could easily a sign that you’re suffering with sleep apnea.

Other sleep apnea symptoms are problems with concentration, forgetfulness and depression. These are among the less obvious sleep apnea symptoms. They represent behavior that has been associated with many things other than sleep deprivation. They might easily be overlooked or attributed to hunger, aging, or stress.

One way to determine whether or not lapses in alertness result from sleep apnea is to try and improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.

Keeping regular hours bedtime hours, avoiding caffeine and the development of a bedtime routing should all help you to sleep better. If you use these strategies, over a period of time your daytime sleepiness should diminish. However, if you don’t start to see improvement after a couple of weeks it may be that you are suffering with sleep apnea and a visit to your doctor would be advised.

Formal identification of sleep apnea requires observation during sleep. Snoring can be another sleep apnea symptom, although not all those snore suffer with sleep apnea. Unfortunately, not all individuals have someone at hand to listen for sounds of snoring. With small children, snoring is less pronounced and sleep apnea is best detected by a skilled physician.

Regardless of an individual’s age or medical history, the presence of sleep apnea symptoms needs to be addressed. Consult with your physician if you are concerned about sleep apnea.