Sleep is a necessary element for well-being and good health.The body renews and heals itself when we go to sleep thats why when we wake up we feel fresh and rejuvinated.However, in some conditions such as Sleep apnea, this resting can be disrupted due to the shortage of breathing during sleep which results in waking up .In this article, I will discuss all the information related to sleep apnea including causes , symptoms and treatment of the disorder.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a sleeping disorder which is characterized by breathing pauses while sleeping. These interruptions can last from seconds to minutes and can also occur multiple times in one hour. These pauses are known as apneas. So,the apnea meaning is the stop of breathing during sleep . Due to these breaks in breathing, the body usually wakes up to start breathing again which may break the sleep cycle.
Sleep apnea is usually of two types. These types are:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA): OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea. In this type, the airway fails to remain open during sleep because of the throat muscles malfunctioning.
- Central Sleep Apnea(CSA): In this type, the brain is not able to communicate properly with the muscles that controls breathing.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSP):
OSP is a sleep disorder in which there is total or partial obstruction of the upper airway happens in a recurrent manner while the patient is asleep.This results in waking up during the night due to breathing cesation. Due to this disorder, the patient constantly suffers from fatigue and lathargy. It can also result in variety of other disorders such as hypertension and cvs diseases. Obstructive sleep apnea treatment includes lifestyle changes such as weight loss, obstraining from alcohol and sedatives , as well as machine like cpap to help the airways to remain during sleep aswell.
Causes of sleep apnea:
Obstructive Sleep apnea causes includes :
- Obesity: Being obese increases the risk of airway obstruction because excessive weight can put increased pressure on the airway which results in its disruption.
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids: When the tonsils increase in size particularly in children, they can also restrict the airway
- Structural abnormalities: Sleep apnea can also be exacerbated by physical characteristics like narrow jaw,or deviated sputum.
- Smoking: Smoking increases the chances of airways breakdown by causing inflammation and fluid retention in the airways.
- Use of alcohol or sedatives: Alcohol or sedatives use helps to relax the airway muscles which can lead to obstruction.
While the central sleep apnea is often caused by the already present diseases such as Heart failure or stroke.
Symptoms of Sleep apnea:
The most common sleep apnea symptom is snoring which is frequently accompanied by pauses in breathing and grasping air during sleep.The additional signs from sleep apnea includes:
- Day-time fatigue: People suffering from sleep apnea more oftenly experiences daytime exhaustion due to because of the sleep deprivation .
- Headaches: Because of the low oxygen levels during the sleep , people with this disorder often wake up with a headache which can be considered as a symptom for this disease.
- Difficulty concentrating: Lack of sleep can impair cognitive function which results in difficulty in concentrating on anything and memory issues aswell.
- Mood changes: Lack of sleep can also cause anxiety, depression and irratability.
- High blood pressure: The continuous disturbance in the sleep can cause increase in Blood pressure, which in turn can have negative effects on the health of a person.
After covering the causes and symptoms ,now we will move towards the treatment of sleep apnea:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure(CPAP): CPAP is one of the most common treatment method for curing of apnea. This method involves sleeping with a mask on your mouth or nose. This mask helps to keep the airways open during the sleep by delivering a constant stream of air into them. CPAP is one of the most effective for the treatment of apnea but it can be very uncomfortable for some people to wear the mask during the sleep and also the machine can be very loud so it can also disturb the person sleeping nect to you.
Bi-Level Psitive Airway Pressure(BIPAP): BiPAP is a machine which is same as CPAP but the people who have difficulty in exhaling while using CPAP mostly use it because it uses two distinct pressure levels.
Oral Devices: These are the devices which are used in the mouth to keep the airways open while sleeping.People who ususally cannot tolerate CPAP use these devices to assist them in breathing
Melatonin and Sleep:
Melatonin is a hormonethat controls the sleep wake cycle of our body . Its production is usually controlled by circadian rhythm and is controlled by pineal gland situated in our brain.
What is Circadian rhythm?
Circadian Rhythm is the normal sleep wake cycle of the body. The hormones and neurotransmitters which usually controls sleep,controls the circadian rhythm of our body.
How does melatonin affects sleep?
Melatonin helps in controlling the sleep cycle of the body, it is a crucial hormone which controls the circadian rhythm. Its release is triggered by darkness thats why we sleep easily when the room is dark and the lights are usually off. Melatonin levels control the sleep such that melatonin levels are low in the morning thats why we are not usually sleepy during the day and then rise in the evening thats when we feel sleepy.
Melatonin supplements often helps to treat different sleep disorders especially insomnia. They are available over the counter and can help you in falling sleep faster and for a long period of time.However, it is important to note that melatonin supplements can interact with other medicines aswell so its important to know that they are not always safe and thus consulting with the healthcare practitioner is always a better option before starting them.
Sleep deprivation is a very serious disorder and thus affects millions of people all around the world.It occurs when you dont sleep properly. It can be because you are suffering from some disease or just because you dont give yourself enogh time to sleep and keep engaging in activities that dont let you sleep on time.
Causes of sleep deprivation:
Some of the main causes are:
- Jet lag
- Duty shifts
- Sleep disorders such as insomniaor sleep apnea
- Anxiety and depression
- Bad sleeping habits
Tips to improve sleep:
- Maintain a consistent sleeping schedule
- Establish a sleep friendly environment
- Avoid using phones or screens during night
- Yoga or meditation
Hi, I’m Affan lateef , a pharmacist by profession. I have a degree in pharmacy and over 5 years of experience helping people achieve their health goals. I write about various topics like health, artificial intelligence in health, mental health, diet and weight loss. Follow me here on these platforms given below.