Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders among Americans today, but if you’re like the majority of the population, you probably don’t know much about this disorder (or think it’s the fancy word for harmless, albeit annoying, snoring).
Here are a few important points about the disorder, and how it’s commonly treated today:
- “Apnea” is actually a Greek word meaning “without breath,” so “sleep apnea” is something that happens you’re asleep and your body stops breathing for long pauses, typically lasting around 10 to 20 seconds.
- These pauses may not seem very harmful (since the person will start breathing again naturally), but there’s usually a sudden “jolt” that happens when the person takes in a breath, and this causes the person to wake up.
- Because the average person suffering from sleep apnea usually experiences hundreds of these long breathing pauses per night — sometimes as many as 60 pauses per hour — this results in poor sleep and chronic sleep deprivation, which is linked to countless other health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and diabetes.
- Luckily, sleep apnea is a very treatable disorder! You may be able to find relief simply by sleeping on your side or propping your head up with an extra pillow, which opens up your nasal passages and allows for better airflow.
- Another common solution for this disorder, and something that many people find to be very effective, is something called a Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure machine, or CPAP machine for short. CPAP machines look very much like normal oxygen masks, and by gently pushing air through CPAP masks and into the person’s nose and mouth, the airways stay open and those long pauses in breathing don’t occur.
If you think that you might be suffering from sleep apnea, you owe it to yourself to have a medical specialist analyze your sleeping and breathing patterns! Finding the perfect treatment for this disorder is much simpler, and much more affordable, than most people expect — and the benefits of treatment go far beyond what you could possibly imagine.