Sleep issues: how to cope with Sleep Apnoea

The thought of hitting the sheets after a hard day is something that most people look forward to.

However, when we experience problems with our sleep it can really throw us off and affect our physical and mental wellbeing.

Sleep apnoea is one issue that can make us dread sleep instead of desire it.

Here are TEMPUR’s top tips to help you combat sleep apnoea and prevent it from spoiling your night’s sleep…

WHAT IS SLEEP APNOEA?

Sleep apnoea occurs when the airflow to your lungs is obstructed, resulting in a loss of breath and a sudden awakening.

It can last anything from seconds to minutes and can be a scary experience.

As we sleep, the throat and tongue muscles are more relaxed and this relaxation means the muscles may not sufficiently keep the airway open as it should, obstructing the throat and making it hard to breathe.

Our brain will then wake us up – often with a loud snort or jolt – if we are experiencing sleep apnoea.

However, although we are safe from anything fatal, it can lead to a very disturbed sleep.

WHAT CAUSES SLEEP APONEA?

A common cause for sleep apnoea is obesity.

Sleep apnoea can become twice as likely if you are overweight, as the larger tonsils and increased fat in the neck makes it more likely for the throat to become obstructed.

Another common cause could be the position you are sleeping in, such as lying on your back. This can mean that your throat is obstructed in certain places.

Smoking is another common trigger. This can cause inflammation in your throat and make breathing more difficult.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APONEA?

Often it can be hard to tell whether we are frequently waking up in the night due to sleep apnoea, but symptoms can include:

• Loud snoring
• Headaches
• Restless sleep
• Sore throat

Factors such as heartburn and decreased libido can also occur when experiencing sleep apnoea.

In other cases it can be associated with more serious health conditions such as a stroke, chronic fatigue or impaired cognition.

HOW TO PREVENT SLEEP APONEA

There are a couple of methods that can help improve sleep apnoea, with the most obvious being losing weight.

Losing weight can mean that the throat becomes less obstructed by any excess body mass.

If you smoke, then quitting can help air get to your lungs more easily.

Mandibular advancement devices are also another way that sleep apnoea can be improved.

These gum shield-type devices hold the lower jaw and tongue forward, meaning that your throat has more space to breathe properly.

Of course, sleep apnoea is a condition that requires consultation with a medical professional. If you are having any trouble sleeping then consult with your doctor who will be able to offer expert advice on the best course of action.

Have you suffered from sleep apnoea? Do you know someone who has? Let us know about your experiences below…

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