Tired of waking up sleepy even after a full night’s sleep? You may be suffering from sleep apnea, which is a common problem in the U.S. In fact, the Alaska Sleep Education Center says that sleep apnea affects roughly 20-million Americans.
While it’s generally not harmful, sleep apnea can be a serious sleep disorder that causes people’s breathing to repeatedly start and stop throughout the night. There are three main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common form, affects about 4-percent of men and 2-percent of women, adds the source. That number would probably be higher if more people sought a proper diagnosis for their sleep woes, it adds.
Let’s take a look at 12 things to know about sleep apnea…
1. Defining Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
The Alaska Sleep Education Center notes this type of sleep apnea is defined by “partial or complete blockage of the airways during sleep,” caused by throat muscles that relax and block airflow (for 10-seconds or more). This means less oxygen is getting to the brain, and “in turn signals the brain to partially awaken from sleep to signal the body that it needs to breathe,” it adds.
The patient will then gasp loudly or make snorting noises to move past the obstruction, it explains (which can obviously be disruptive to anyone sharing the bed). Once the brain gets the hit of oxygen it needs, sleep returns and the cycle repeats, says the source.