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Why Is My Sleep Apnea Worse Some Nights

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Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure

Why Sleep Apnea is so Bad and What Happens at Night when Someone Has Sleep Apnea

Whenever a person with sleep apnea struggles with the constant pressure of CPAP, doctors recommend a bilateral positive airway pressure . The BiPAP has the same mechanism as a continuous positive airway pressure, connecting to a sleepers face via a mask and blowing pressurized air to keep the airway open.

However, the BiPAP machine is slightly different as it releases higher pressurized air when a sleeper inhales and a lower pressure when exhales. This is a great relief for those who have trouble exhaling at the high pressures of CPAP machines. BiPAP is used to treat people with sleep apnea and obesity, or other health conditions.

Last Night Was The First Night I Havent Heard You Snore In A While

This was the first thing I heard Maria say to me this morning. It has now been 3 nights since Ive started wearing my oral sleep appliance to help me with my snoring and my sleep apnea and I can already tell that its making a difference. As you can read from my previous blog post I was fitted this past weekend for an oral sleep appliance as part of a class for dentists on sleep apnea. I had always been told that I snore with some nights being worse than others but I never really knew if I had sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can cause you to be more tired during the day but heck Ive got two kids and one of them insists on waking up at 5:30am everyday so I would typically blame him. Instead of blaming the 3 year old I should have been looking at symptoms and risk factors.

What Are The Symptoms Of Interrupted Sleep

For many people, the central symptom of interrupted sleep is easily noticeable: waking up from sleep one or more times during the course of the night .

The timing and length of these wakeful episodes can vary. A person may have only a few breaks in sleep or several. They may be awake for just a few minutes or for an extended period before transitioning back to sleep. A person may experience restless sleep, tossing and turning or feeling only half-asleep without drifting off into deeper rest.

Not all cases of interrupted sleep, though, are readily apparent to the sleeper. Some people experience very brief and minor awakenings or arousals during the night without realizing it. For example, people with obstructive sleep apnea have repeated lapses in breathing that cause brief arousals from sleep. These respiratory arousals are short enough that people with OSA dont usually know that they are happening.

With a condition like OSA or other situations in which sleep fragmentation is frequent but not noticed by the sleeper, excessive daytime sleepiness is likely to be a key symptom of interrupted sleep.

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The Dangers Of Uncontrolled Sleep Apnea

    Youve probably heard that regular exercise and a heart-healthy diet arethe most important things you can do for your cardiovascular health. As itturns out, though, the quality of sleep you receive is also critical toyour hearts wellbeing.

    In particular, undiagnosed sleep apnea is directly tied to an increased risk in cardiovascular and metabolic health. The scariest part? You might not even know you have this very common problem.

    Sleep apnea happens when upper airway muscles relax during sleep and pinch off the airway, which prevents you from getting enough air. Your breathing may pause for 10 seconds or more at a time, until your reflexes kick in and you start breathing again, explains Jonathan Jun, M.D. , a pulmonary and sleep medicine specialist at the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center.

    Sleep apnea occurs in about 3 percent of normal weight individuals but affects over 20 percent of obese people, Jun says. In general, sleep apnea affects men more than women. However, sleep apnea rates increase sharply in women after menopause. Sleep apnea is often linked to heart disease and metabolic issues like diabetes.

    What Are The Treatments For Sleep Apnea

    Why is it Important to Treat Sleep Apnea?

    Conservative treatments: In mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea, conservative therapy may be all that is needed.

    • Overweight persons can benefit from losing weight. Even a 10% weight loss can reduce the number of apneic events for most patients. However, losing weight can be difficult to do with untreated obstructive sleep apnea due to increased appetite and metabolism changes that can happen with obstructive sleep apnea.
    • Individuals with obstructive sleep apnea should avoid the use of alcohol and certain sleeping pills, which make the airway more likely to collapse during sleep and prolong the apneic periods.
    • In some patients with mild obstructive sleep apnea, breathing pauses occur only when they sleep on their backs. In such cases, using a wedge pillow or other devices that help them sleep in a side position may help.
    • People with sinus problems or nasal congestion should use nasal sprays or breathing strips to reduce snoring and improve airflow for more comfortable nighttime breathing. Avoiding sleep deprivation is important for all patients with sleep disorders.

    Hypoglossal nerve stimulator: A stimulator is implanted under the skin on the right side of the chest with electrodes tunneled under the skin to the hypoglossal nerve in the neck and to intercostal muscles in the chest. The device is turned on at bedtime with a remote control. With each breath, the hypoglossal nerve is stimulated, the tongue moves forward out of the airway and the airway is opened.

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    Youre Restless During Sleep

    People with apnea often toss and turn and otherwise show signs of restlessnighttime sleep. If you find yourself kicking, thrashing,jerking or waking up under a twisted pile of disheveled sheets, apnea mightbe a possible cause. When youre struggling to breathe at night, yoursleep becomes disrupted.

    What Could It Be?

    Sleep apnea is hardly the only issue that interferes with sleep. Expertshave described more than 70 different sleep disorders. Other commonculprits include:

    • Restless legs syndrome: RLS causes unpleasant sensations in the legs and an urge to move them for relief.
    • Narcolepsy: This disorder causes people to fall asleep suddenly during the day for periods of a few seconds to a number of minutes. It occurs regardless of how much sleep a person gets at night.
    • Insomnia: Some 60 million Americans regularly have trouble falling or staying asleep, for a variety of reasons.

    If you’re having trouble sleeping, you shouldlearn when to talk to your doctor.

    A Horrible Night: How Sleep Apnea Makes For A Bad Day And Worse

    Aug 17, 2015 | Curated, Obstructive Sleep Apnea | 0 |

    The Globe and Mail embarks on a nine-part print and online series looking at the science of sleep and the vital role of sleep in maintaining overall health.

    Life had become such a struggle for Kerri Schabert that she admits being diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea was a blessing in disguise.

    I was anxious for the results and relieved to find I had severe sleep apnea, she says of her diagnosis earlier this year.

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    Use A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine Properly

    The most effective treatment available for sleep apnea is a mask worn at night called a CPAP that transmits increased air pressure into the airway to prevent the throat from collapsing. This air pressure goes into the back of the throat holding it open when your throat muscles have relaxed too much during sleep.

    The key to CPAP treatment is finding a mask and machine that matches your needs, cleaning the CPAP components frequently and washing your face before putting it on at night. Talk to your health care provider or sleep specialist so they can tailor a CPAP unit for you based on your needs.

    What Are The Effects Of Sleep Apnea

    Sleepwalking 101

    If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a number of health problems including hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy , heart failure, diabetes, obesity and heart attacks.

    Its likely that sleep apnea can cause arrhythmias and heart failure because if you have sleep apnea, you tend to have higher blood pressure. In fact, sleep apnea occurs in about 50% of people with heart failure or atrial fibrillation.

    This is because sleep apnea can cause:

    • Repeated episodes of oxygen lowering .
    • Changes in carbon dioxide levels.
    • Direct effects on the heart due to pressure changes within the chest.
    • Increased levels of markers of inflammation.

    With the high prevalence of sleep apnea in cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure , experts recommend that you dont delay in seeking the advice of your physician.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2020.

    References

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    What Is A Cpap Device And How Does It Work

    A CPAP device is a machine that uses a hose and airtight nosepiece or mask to deliver a steady stream of air as you sleep. The air pressure helps keep your airway open, preventing pauses in breathing.

    CPAP technology is constantly being updated and improved, and the new CPAP devices are lighter, quieter, and more comfortable than they used to be. So even if youve given up on them in the past, you owe it to yourself to give them a second look.

    When Should You Talk To A Doctor About Interrupted Sleep

    If you have interrupted sleep that has been going on for a long time, is persistent, or is worsening, you should talk with your doctor. You should also consult your doctor if you have any of the following issues:

    • Significant daytime sleepiness
    • Mood changes during the day
    • Snoring that is loud and/or involves gasping or choking sounds or other abnormal breathing during sleep

    It may be helpful to use a sleep diary to keep track of your symptoms including how often you experience interrupted sleep and how frequently you have excessive sleepiness during the day.

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    Things That Worsen Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    Dr. Dan Jensen

    If you have been struggling to get a good nights sleep, wake up many times throughout the night, or wake up feeling tired and groggy, you might be struggling with obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is more common that you might think, affecting more than 18 million adults in America, many of whom never receive a diagnosis or seek treatment. If you think you might have sleep apnea, or have been having trouble sleeping at night, here are 5 things that worsen obstructive sleep apnea.

    What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a condition that affects your ability to breathe during the night. The muscles in your throat that are tense during the day and relax at night. However, when these muscles relax too much, they can block your airway, and your breathing will stop. Your brain senses the distress, and wakes you up so the muscles will tighten again and open your airway. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you could be waking up hundreds of time a night, but not remember in the morning. Does your loved one complain that you snore loudly, or notice that you stop breathing in the night? Do you feel exhausted when you wake up in the morning? You may have sleep apnea.

    The Effects of Untreated Sleep Apnea

    Things that Worsen Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    Treating Sleep Apnea

    Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea

    Why Sleep Makes Bad Memories Harder To Forget

      Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes the airways tocollapse or become blocked while youre asleep. It can cause you to stopbreathing for 20 to 30 seconds at a time, numerous times throughout thenight.

      Untreated apnea can increase the risk of a number of diseases, includinghigh blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some headachesyndromes. Yet many people with sleep apnea dont know they have it.

      Could you be one of them? Watch out for these warning signs.

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      What Is Considered Severe Sleep Apnea

      When a person experiences 30 or more sleep apnea events per hour, their sleep apnea is considered severe. Severe sleep apnea is a very serious condition and poses great risks to the sufferer’s health. Heart disease and diabetes can be connected to severe sleep apnea. More importantly, in recent studies it was found that people who experience severe sleep apnea could be more at risk for serious and fatal conditions like cancer.

      Sleep Apnea Sufferers Should Also Avoid Common Over

      Over the counter sleep aids such as Benadryl, Tylenol-PM, and Advil-PM can exacerbate untreated sleep apnea, also due to the heightened muscle relaxation effect they induce. Some antihistamine medications are used to treat allergies and can also be sedating. These medications can also make the sleep apnea worse, and this is of concern in the individual who has not had the sleep apnea treated adequately.

      Some antidepressants can be used off-label for insomnia including: Amitriptyline, Remeron , and Oleptro . These medications can be sedating and may worsen untreated sleep apnea.

      We have to be careful if we are taking these medications and are not treating the apnea. In fact, these medications really should be avoided in the individual who is not treating his apnea. In a similar fashion, alcohol relaxes the mind and the body. And in relaxing the muscles of the throat, alcohol ingestion will make snoring and apnea worse. In general, any medications or substances which induce muscle relaxation should be avoided in the individual with untreated obstructive sleep apnea.

      Are you looking for a long-term, permanent treatment option for your sleep apnea?

      One popular new treatment option for sleep apnea that can be performed in-office and offers patients the potential to eliminate the need for a CPAP machine or dental appliance is RFA. To learn more .

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      What Are The Treatments For Central Sleep Apnea

      Managing underlying medical conditions is the first line of treatment for central sleep apnea. Medications can help control congestive heart failure, Parkinsons disease, and other heart or nervous system conditions.

      You may need to stop using opioid medications if these drugs are causing your breathing to stop during sleep. Your doctor may also prescribe medications such as acetazolamide to stimulate your breathing mechanism.

      Oxygen supplementation and the regulation of air pressure during sleep are effective treatments for many people with central sleep apnea.

      Sleep Apnea Cardiovascular Risk And Metabolism

      Why Do You Snore?

      Several studies have shown an association between sleep apnea and problems like type 2 diabetes , strokes , heart attacks and even a shortened lifespan, says Jun. Why this connection? For one thing, obesity is common in sleep apnea patients, and obesity greatly increases risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack, he says. In most cases, obesity is the main culprit behind both conditions, Jun explains.

      Still, its important to note that not everyone with sleep apnea is obese. Furthermore, evidence suggests an independent link between sleep apnea and diabetes. Our lab and others have shown that sleep apnea is associated with higher risks of diabetes, independent of obesity, and that sleep apnea can increase blood sugar levels, says Jun.

      For people who are overweight or obese, weight loss is key for treating or avoiding sleep apnea. People who accumulate fat in the neck, tongue and upper belly are especially vulnerable to getting sleep apnea. This weight reduces the diameter of the throat and pushes against the lungs, contributing to airway collapse during sleep.

      Women in particular should be careful as they age. While premenopausal women tend to put on weight in the hips and in the lower body instead of the belly, this shifts with time. Weight begins to accumulate in traditionally male areas like the tummy, and this leads to a greater chance of sleep apnea.

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      Where Can I Find Treatment For My Sleep Apnea

      The doctors at Sleep Apnea Dentists of New England have extensive experience in helping patients with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Dr Vicki Cohn, DDS, D.ABDSM, is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, the highest distinction in Dental Sleep Medicine. She is committed to assisting with the underlying causes of sleep apnea and providing effective sleep apnea treatments.

      If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with us today. Well work with you to find sleep apnea treatments that will help you sleep better, feel better, and improve your overall health.

      Foods That Can Make Sleep Apnea Worse

      Some foods are not recommended for sleep apnea patients, especially when taken at night. Changing your eating habits and avoiding these foods may play a huge role in treating sleep apnea. Lets discuss some foods and beverages that you should trim or avoid entirely to facilitate effortless breathing at night.

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      How Many Apneas Per Hour Is Normal

      A rate of 0 to 5 sleep apnea events per hour is considered normal. 5 to 14 sleep apnea events would be classified as mild sleep apnea and 14 to 29 events an hour is moderate sleep apnea. 30 or more sleep apnea events per hour is classified as severe sleep apnea.

      Your doctor will make an evaluation based on your signs and symptoms or refer you to a sleep disorder center for further care and treatment .

      The Dangers Of Untreated Sleep Apnea

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      Even with healthy lifestyle changes, sleep apnea wont go away on its own. Properly treating sleep apnea is the best way to relieve your symptoms and get back to getting a restful nights sleep. Remember, left untreated sleep apnea can not only ruin your sleep quality, but it can cause or contribute to so many other health problems that can impact your quality of life and your overall health.

      So if you think you may have sleep apnea or may be at risk, its vital to seek treatment. If youre still not sure if youre at risk, take our sleep apnea quiz.Itll help you make sense of your symptoms so you can discuss them with your doctor or a sleep specialist.

      You dont have to live with the poor sleep and health problems caused by sleep apnea. Contact us at the Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee today to get started with a treatment that will help you get your sleep, your health, and your quality of life back.

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