Sleep apnea could be the reason you wake up feeling tired.
Manifesting itself in breathing difficulties and stopping breathing during sleep, sleep apnea is one of society’s frequent but little known issues. If left untreated, this condition, which causes the sufferer to wake up feeling tired, can lead to a number of other problems including brain and heart vascular disease.
If you wake up with a headache, dry mouth and feeling tired, you could be suffering from sleep apnea! A frequently occurring sleep disorder, sleep apnea is little known in society. Experts have determined that sleep apnea is even the underlying cause of some traffic accidents, because people who do not enjoy good quality sleep suffer a loss of concentration and are easily distracted.
We were briefed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Burcu Örmeci from Yeditepe University Hospital Department of Neurology about the problem, which can lead to serious health problems, principally brain and heart vascular disease.
POOR QUALITY SLEEP IMPACTS ALL AREAS OF LIFE
The body renews itself during sleep. Therefore one of the absolute ‘musts’ for a healthy life is regular, high quality sleep. This allows a person to wake up feeling fit and refreshed, able to enjoy a healthy and productive day. Pointing out that a lack of good quality sleep makes a person feel weary and exhausted all day, Burcu Örmeci explains “This can severely impact a person by impairing their ability to concentrate throughout the day. People’s requirement for sleep varies from person to person, but on average a period of seven to eight hours of proper high quality sleep is important for a healthy life.”
MORE FREQUENT IN MEN
Sleep apnea manifests itself in various ways, including snoring, stopping breathing during sleep, severe daytime fatigue, nervousness, lack of concentration, depression, lack of sexual desire, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. Left untreated, sleep apnea can play a role in future elevated risk levels for brain and heart vascular disease.
Occurring twice as frequently in men compared to women, sleep apnea signals itself through increased night sweating, especially in the head and neck regions, and a frequent need to urinate during the night. Other symptoms include morning fatigue, headaches and dry mouth.
BREATHING STOPS IN THE NIGHT
Sleep apnea is a cause of irregular breathing and snoring while you are asleep. In addition, there can be frequent and prolonged periods when the sufferer stops breathing altogether, sometimes for as long as 10 seconds. This leads to a lack of oxygen as well as sleep deficiency.
SPECIALIZED DIAGNOSTIC SLEEP TESTS
A ‘polysomnography test’ is used to diagnose the existence and severity of sleep apnea. The person stays overnight at the sleep laboratory where they are monitored for a period of seven hours under eight parameters:
• Electroencephalography (EEG)
• Electrooculography (EOG)
• Electrocardiography (ECG)
• Electromyography (EMG)
• Respiratory effort tests recording chest and abdominal movement
• Nasal and oral airflow
• Oxygen saturation
• Body position
Stressing that the treatment plan is determined after the test results have been analyzed to establish the degree of severity of the individual’s sleep apnea condition, Örmeci told us “According to the degree of severity, sleep apnea treatment might involve the use of ‘Positive Air Pressure’ (PAP) equipment, or surgical methods carried out by experienced ENT specialists.” Sleep apnea patients are generally advised to lose excess weight and to give up smoking and alcohol. Diagnosing and treating sleep apnea syndrome in high risk patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and obese people, is of particular importance for their general state of health.
“According to the degree of severity, sleep apnea treatment might involve the use of ‘Positive Air Pressure’ (PAP) equipment, or surgical methods carried out by experienced ENT specialists.”