Do you ever find yourself experiencing drowsiness, mood swings or lack of concentration? If so, you may suffer from sleep apnea. Waking up with a headache is another major symptom. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a disturbed night’s sleep. If you suffer from this condition, while you are asleep, you may stop breathing, which can also cause you to make odd noises such as gasping, choking, and loud snoring. Here are some things you can do to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Visit Your GP
When sleep apnea is untreated, it can become very serious. Visit your doctor if you suspect you are suffering from sleep apnea. They will then check your sleep routine and see how severe it is. You can normally stay at home and sleep with some devices that will check how your body is responding to sleep by measuring your heartbeat and breathing patterns. Sometimes people are asked to sleep at a special sleep clinic, but it is more common to be sent home.
Treating Sleep Apnea Yourself
If your sleep apnea is quite mild, simple things like cutting down your alcohol consumption and not smoking might relieve symptoms. Losing weight if you are overweight is another really effective treatment. Losing a significant amount of weight can sometimes even cure sleep apnea. The position in which you sleep can also affect the quality of sleep. When you sleep on your back, your tongue is more likely to slip back into your throat and block your airway. Side sleeping is therefore recommended, as it allows your airways to stay open, which will make breathing a lot easier.
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It is one of the most efficient treatments for sleep apnoea if it is affecting you more severely. It is a device that sends air into a mask, which goes over your mouth. Using a mask means your airways are less likely to collapse. A CPAP machine improves your breathing massively and will help you feel less tired throughout the day.
Your doctor can advise you on how to use a CPAP machine properly, including how to fit the mask over your mouth, how to set the correct air pressure, and how to keep it clean. The device works by being plugged into an ordinary electrical outlet and uses the air circulating around the room.
There are a few different types of masks that you can try to see which is most comfortable. There are nose masks, which allow you to breathe through your nose when you are asleep, and there are masks that fit over your nose and mouth, a whole face-covering mask, and nasal pillows, which fit against your nostrils.
It may take a few months to get used to this machine because it won’t feel normal to sleep with a mask on, no matter what shape or size, but the longer you use it each night, the more you will benefit and get used to it.
It is important to diagnose sleep apnea as soon as possible and treat it. Without treatment, you are at higher risk of having a stroke, high blood pressure, drowsiness, and also depression.