Sleep apnea is a chronic condition, but with the right diagnosis and care you can effectively manage it for a better night’s sleep.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that causes poor-quality sleep. Most people do not know they have it because the symptoms present when you are sleeping. Here’s what you should know about this condition:

  • What it is: People with sleep apnea experience disruptions, or pauses, in their breathing as they sleep. These “pauses” can be brief, lasting a few seconds, or as long as a minute. You may experience anywhere from a few breathing pauses to more than 2 dozen pauses over the course of a night.

  • What it means: These breathing disruptions make for restless sleep, as your body jolts out of a deep sleep state with every pause. This can make you feel extra tired, or fatigued, during the day. It can also put you at higher risk for high blood pressure, diabetes or stroke.

  • How it is managed: Getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step to managing the condition. If you are overweight, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes. This can help your body breathe more easily. Wearing a breathing device or mouthpiece at night can also help. If you think you may have sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend a sleep study to monitor your breathing patterns as you sleep. Learn more about the Blessing Sleep Center.

Sleep Apnea Signs and Symptoms

Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. Certain types of snoring increase your likelihood of having the condition. Look out for snoring that is:

  • Especially loud or disruptive to others

  • Followed by choking or gasping sounds, often heard by a family member. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, you can self-record your sleeping sounds. Set a digital recorder to start recording before you sleep, and it will catch any sounds you make while asleep.

  • Louder when you sleep on your back vs. your side

There are other signs of sleep apnea as well:

  • Chronic headaches, particularly in the morning hours

  • Memory lapses

  • Problems concentrating or focusing

  • Severe mood swings or irritability

  • Dry mouth or sore throat after waking

Contact Us

To schedule an appointment or refer a patient, please call (217) 277-5390.