Along with eating and drinking, sleeping is one of the things we all have to do or else. Sure, you can get by with a few nights of little sleep. But the older you get, the more that catches up with you. There’s also the need to dream. Without being able to dream, our minds tend to not work well. All in all, you need a good night of sleep.
When you have sleep apnea, that’s almost impossible. With this condition, you stop breathing during the night. You wake up because you cannot breathe, but not fully. That’s because the problem goes away as soon as you’re not asleep anymore. You go back to bed, only to stop breathing soon afterward. For many people, this can happen over 200 times each night. Without getting the sleep you need, you’re going to suffer.
There are a lot of myths about sleep apnea. To help you better understand this serious condition, here are the top five.
Myth: Sleep apnea only happens to overweight men.
It’s true that sleep apnea affects men more than women. It’s also true that people who are overweight can snore louder and more often than others. However, neither means other people cannot suffer from this condition. Both men and women can have sleep apnea, as can any weight, height, or age. Many children have problems with sleep apnea when they are younger. Don’t think you’re safe simply because you are not an overweight man.
Myth: Snoring is a definite sign that you have sleep apnea.
This is one of those myths with a hint of truth to it. One of the biggest warning signs that you might have sleep apnea is snoring. That’s usually because obstructive sleep apnea slowly closes your windpipe as you sleep. As the airway gets bent by the weight of your throat muscles, forcing air through it makes a loud noise. Some people will make choking sounds as the windpipe is finally closed.
However, people can snore for any number of reasons. If you take sleep medication, had a lot of alcohol before going to bed, or just had a bad night, you can snore. Just because you snored last night doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea. If you are snoring almost every night over and over again, however, that can easily mean you have sleep apnea.
Myth: There is no way to know if you have sleep apnea.
Some people believe that sleep apnea cannot be properly diagnosed. Since it happens while you are asleep, how do you know what’s really going on? And if you can snore for lots of different reasons, can you really rely on bad snoring to know if you have it or not? The answer to this is a sleep study test. In this, you’ll spend one night sleeping in a lab. A specialist monitors your sleep. The data collected can help determine if you just have the occasional sleep problem or if you have sleep apnea.
Myth: Only CPAP machines will cure the problem.
One common treatment for sleep apnea is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. This is an air pump that forces air into your lungs. This air pressure helps prevent your windpipe from collapsing. However, common is not the same as only. Many people have problems with CPAP machines. You have to wear a mask over your mouth and nose. This mask is connected to the machine through a plastic hose. It can be difficult to fall asleep with all of that on your face, which defeats the purpose.
Instead, you can get a dental appliance from our Rochester, MN dental office. This small device comfortably fits over your teeth at night. It shifts your jaw just enough to help keep your windpipe open as you sleep.
Myth: It’s only some lost sleep — sleep apnea is not a big deal.
You need sleep. There’s no way around that. When you start losing sleep due to sleep apnea, you are going to be moody and tired. You’ll also have trouble paying attention, meaning you could have problems at work or school. As this problem gets worse, you will be facing depression, hypertension, heart disease, car accidents, and more. Think back to the last time you tried skipping sleep. Now, imagine that feeling lasting for weeks at a time. Worse, sleep apnea rarely goes away on its own. Without treatment, you could be in trouble.
All of the above affects you. However, sleep apnea usually involves loud, repeated snoring. The people in your life will probably tell you how this affects their sleep as well. If you are worried that you might have sleep apnea, give us a call today at 507-315-2932.