If sleeping well is a problem, it could be your breathing that’s the trouble.
It’s respiratory care week across the U.S. While conditions like asthma typically come to mind when we think of lung health, there’s more to the problem and not all of it is happening in broad daylight.
Sleep apnea strikes while you’re, well, asleep and is a potentially life-threatening condition that affects an estimated 22 million Americans. It causes you to stop breathing for bouts of time while you slumber. The trouble is that it’s related to a whole group of additional conditions.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people with sleep apnea have a higher risk of being moody, developing depression, having high blood pressure, suffering from heart problems, having a heart attack, type 2 diabetes and liver problems among other complications.
Needless to say, it can be worth getting a diagnosis if you think you’re suffering from it. So, how can you tell if you have it? Here are 7 common signs:
1) Loud Snoring
Ok, we all know someone who really likes to rumble. So many kids have dreams of lions and bears coming to get them at night all because of Dad’s snoring. And sometimes it’s just what it is: loud snoring.
But breathing noisily while you sleep can be a sign of a bigger problem. It’sworth talking to your doctor about it and having your sleep analyzed, if necessary.
2) Moments When You Stop Breathing While Asleep
This one is more noticeable if you’re sleeping with a partner. Have they noticed that you sometimes stop breathing at night? Do they see you struggle for air? Ask for feedback.
3) Abrupt Awakenings
If you wake all of a sudden from sleep while struggling to catch your breath, this is a bad sign. It could mean that you’ve stopped breathing and have “choked” yourself awake. Is it the result of a nightmare, or is your breathing the problem? (Or, maybe you’re unstable breathing is causing the nightmare).
Whatever the case, get to the root of the problem by talking to a professional.
4) A Morning Headache
If you’re not hung over or suffering from a cold, waking up with a headache could be a sign of sleep apnea.
Since sleep apnea involves inconsistent breathing that can cause you to wake from your slumber, feeling rested can be difficult if you suffer from it. If you feel like you have trouble falling asleep and staying there, your breathing could be to blame.
6) Attention Problems
If something else isn’t at the root of the problem, consider whether or not your sleepless nights are the culprit.
Again, when your sleep quality dives, so does the quality of your waking hours. Feeling exceedingly drowsy and falling asleep while watching TV or driving can also indicate sleep apnea.
Talk to your doctor about professional solutions such as breathing aids, if you suspect you have a problem.
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