The Lowdown on Sleep Apnoea
While there are HEAPS of things that can cause issues with people’s sleep, one of the most common is called Sleep Apnoea. So, today we wanted to do quick overview of what it is, why we care, and how we treat it.
If you are a visual learner and want to skip the novel and get straight to the movie, you can scroll to the end 😊
What IS Sleep Apnoea?
There are different types of apnoea, but the most common by far is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea or OSA. OSA is a relaxing or closure of the upper airway, which restricts or stops air from entering the lungs.
These events need to last for a minimum of 10 seconds for us to be able to count them, but I’ve seen them last over 2 minutes in some people. That’s breathing out and then not breathing in again, for sometimes over 2 minutes! You might be thinking: “I can hold my breath for that long” - but remember that in these events the person doesn’t get to fill their lungs first.
Let’s try it - start to breathe out and then hold your breath - now check the clock and see how you start feeling after 10 seconds, 20 seconds, etc. Now do it a few times in a row, and you will start to feel what it’s like to be in the body of someone with OSA.
Who Gets It?
Sleep Apnoea effects about 20% of women and 35% of men – that’s about 100 million people worldwide!
What are the Symptoms?
Tiredness and snoring are the symptom that everyone associates with OSA, but not everyone gets them. It can present in different people in different ways.
Some other symptoms are:
- Poor Concentration
- Insomnia or regular awakenings throughout the night,
- Poor Memory
- Morning headaches
- Low Energy
- Finding it hard to get up in the morning
- Low or depressed mood
- Anxiety during the night
- Muscle pain
- Impaired Immune System
And the list goes on because, as we know, sleep really is the foundation for the rest of your health.
Every time the airway closes, the body has to work harder to function. The organs struggle for oxygen, and the heart works overtime to pick up the slack. In severe apnoea this is happening over 30 times PER HOUR! These episodes start to take their toll on the body. If left untreated, OSA has been linked to increased risk of hypertension, obesity, heart problems, Type II diabetes, stroke, depression and motor vehicle accidents.
What should I do if this sounds like me?
The good news, like most things in the world of sleep, OSA is really easily treatable. So, the first step is to do a sleep study to find out if you have OSA and everything gets better from there!