The average adult may need 7-9 hours of sleep to function at their best, but the actual quality of sleep is what matters there. Sleep interruptions, being jarred awake, snoring, and loss of breath can all significantly affect and reduce your actual sleep time and even lead to potentially dangerous consequences. Approximately 22 million Americans are estimated to suffer from sleep apnea, and 80% of the moderate-to-severe cases are expected to be undiagnosed. The good news is the condition is easily diagnosed and treated. Sleep apnea treatment can range from needing a Positive airway pressure (PAP machine) to simply needing to visit your Red Bank dentist to pick up a special mouth guard or mouth device to improve nighttime breathing. But before you can get an actual professional diagnosis for sleep apnea, it’s important to know some major symptoms.
Depression, Mood Swings, or Ongoing Irritability
Mental health issues should never be taken lightly, but depression, mood swings, and irritability aren’t always a mental health issue. Sometimes they’re caused by stress and/or lack of sleep. This is especially the case when the mood or behavioral changes are random, sporadic, or have increased recently. If you feel there’s a connection with your moods and sleep patterns, a visit to your doctor or Red Bank dentist may be in order.
Your Night Breathing Pauses or Stops
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is marked by the fatty tissues of the tongue relaxing and falling back into the throat. The throat then closes around it, forcing an obstructed breathing pathway. In many cases, breathing either pauses briefly or stops until the brain sends distress signals and forces the body to jolt. Most of the time the pause only lasts a few seconds, and the person remains asleep and unaware of the change. But in some cases, the lack of or reduced oxygen can be ongoing or extensive and lead to serious health concerns like high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease.
You’re Consistently Tired or Wake up with Headaches
You may set your alarm every night to ensure you get those precious 7-9 hours of sleep. But if you’re waking up multiple times throughout the night due to air loss, that’s significantly reducing your actual sleep time. Difficulty waking up, being sluggish or tired throughout the day, and concentration issues are major signs that there’s a problem. Low levels of oxygen also widen blood vessels and cause vascular headaches. So if you have regular headaches after waking up, sleep apnea may be the culprit.
Snoring isn’t always a sign of sleep apnea, but it’s one of the biggest symptoms of those suffering from the condition. According to studies, 30% of adults over the age of 30 and 40% of adults over the age of 40 snore. And 28% of those snorers have sleep apnea. However, there’s a difference between a gentle, droning snore and a loud, obnoxious rumbling that wakes up your partner and potentially the entire household. If your partner is complaining that you snore on an ongoing or nightly basis, you probably do. And that may be worth a visit to your Red Bank dentist to diagnose and discuss the right sleep apnea treatment.