What Are the Sleep Apnea Warning Signs?

What Are the Sleep Apnea Warning Signs?

September 15, 2022

Sleep apnea, mainly characterized by loud snoring, is a common sleep condition affecting millions globally.

There are three types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common and happens when there’s an obstruction in the airway. It mainly occurs when the throat muscles relax too much, blocking the airway and stopping breathing.

Second, there’s central sleep apnea. It happens when the brain fails or sends improper signals to the muscles that control breathing. Complex sleep apnea is the third and rarest type of sleep apnea. It happens when you have both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea

Since sleep apnea happens during sleep, most people don’t realize they have the condition until the symptoms begin to show. Unfortunately, regular and untreated sleep apnea can cause serious health issues.

For instance, having sleep apnea means that vital body parts don’t receive enough oxygen, which can cause complications like heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes. It also means you don’t get quality sleep, which can affect your productivity during the day.

Sleep apnea can also cause daytime sleepiness, causing work and car accidents. You should schedule a consultation with your dentist or our sleep doctor in 95610 if you think you might have sleep apnea.

Common signs to look out for include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Breathing stops, chocking, and gasps during sleep
  • Waking up tired
  • Awakening with a headache or sore throat
  • Waking up frequently at night for no apparent reason
  • Difficulty staying awake during the day
  • Feeling exhausted during the day
  • Problems concentrating or remembering during the day
  • Mood swings like irritability and depression
  • Need for frequent naps
  • Decreased libido

What Sleep Positions Are Bad for Sleep Apnea?

Usually, certain sleep positions can trigger or worsen sleep apnea symptoms. To prevent or reduce sleep apnea, avoid the following sleep positions:

  • Back sleeping or supine. If you have sleep apnea, back sleeping is the worst sleep position. Sleeping on the back increases your risk of snoring and sleep apnea. When you sleep on the back, gravity pulls your tongue and other soft tissues further into the airway, causing them to collapse and block the airway. Keeping your head elevated can reduce sleep apnea symptoms and snoring if you can’t kick out the habit.
  • Stomach sleeping. Unlike back sleeping, sleeping on the stomach pushes the tongue and other soft tissues forward, keeping the airway open. However, this position can cause alignment problems for the airway, neck, and spine. For instance, you can cover your face and mouth with a pillow, causing difficulty breathing.

What is the Best Sleeping Position for Sleep Apnea?

To prevent or reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea, try the following sleep positions:

  • Sleeping on the left side. Sleeping on the left is your best sleep position. It encourages blood flow and prevents breathing resistance, reducing sleep apnea. Left sleeping also helps to alleviate problems like GERD and insomnia, which are associated with insomnia.
  • Sleeping on the right side. You can opt for the right if you need to change position from the left side. It promotes good blood and oxygen flow, decreasing snoring and sleep apnea. Right-hand sleeping also helps improve conditions like GERD, which could trigger sleep apnea.

Besides changing your sleep position, you must consult your doctor or dentist if you have sleep apnea. They can recommend other effective options to help with your sleep apnea symptoms. These can include weight loss, avoiding certain medications, snore guards, and CPAP machines.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Are you looking for sleep apnea treatment in Citrus Heights? Contact Sacramento Natural Dentistry to speak with our TMJ doctor near you.

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