Have you lately been struggling with sleep? Feeling trouble in getting asleep or staying asleep? Waking up in the night and then not being able to sleep again? Or getting up in the morning feeling groggy due to lack of proper sleep? Well, these are signs of sleep apnea – a disorder where pauses are frequent to breathing during sleep. It happens due to a lack of oxygen supply to the airways, so much so that it leads to brain damage and stroke in extreme cases. Worse still, you feel exhausted in the wake of improper sleep leading to loss of productivity and ability to concentrate.
Here are some of the major sleep apnea risk factors –
1. Weight Gain
Studies have proved years ago that overweight people are at a greater risk of apnea than those with normal weight. Naturally, you can lose weight and minimize symptoms of the problem to a great extent. However, not all obese people suffer from this problem nor losing weight is the only solution. You can look to lose weight to not allow airway restrictions due to the accumulation of fat around the neck. What’s more, apnea itself could make you obese and you must understand that well.
2. Sleep Medication
Stop taking any sleep medication else your apnea symptoms might worsen. Rather than helping you treat a sleep disorder, such medication might compound your breathing problems further during sleep and push you deeper into the mess of apnea. Taking sleeping pills means you will enter a deep sleep cycle from where it might harder to come out with little effort. So, if you have apnea and you take sleeping pills, just imagine how long will it take you to come out of the slumber. For that reason, such medication should be avoided to bring down the risk factor for apnea.
3. Alcohol & drinking
Some people believe that consuming alcohol before bedtime leads them to better sleep. They can’t be more wrong as what is believed is utterly wrong, or entirely opposite to the reality. Rather, alcohol might worsen sleep apnea symptoms, purely due to obstructing the airways during sleep. Plus, this beverage might reduce rapid eye movement (REM) during your sleep making you wake up frequently at night and diluting the quality of your sleep. And don’t forget, alcohol consumption is linked to weight gain bringing a double whammy to your list of problems.
4. Sleep Position
Though sleep apnea symptoms are likely to worsen in people who sleep with a back position, this condition can happen to all sleeping positions. no matter which position you prefer, the airways should not be restricted or obstructed. When you sleep on the side and use a soft pillow, you can improve the quality of your sleep easily. You can consult a sleep specialist to know more in this regard and add value to your regular periods of sleep for sure. This will help you stay away from some of the risk factors for apnea.
5. Genetics, age, and sex
The middle-aged male is more prone to apnea than women. However, this sleep disorder can happen to anyone, irrespective of age, and sex. In some cases, inherited physical traits like oral cavity design, head composition, etc. can improve the chances of having apnea. Some genetic conditions may also be the reason behind apnea, but they are of rare variety like Down Syndrome. You should, however, know that treatment options are available for apnea including oral sleep appliance, which can help you breathe and sleep better. Plus, you can change your lifestyle and alter your habits a bit to stay away from this serious sleep issue.