You've been told by your spouse that you snore terribly at night and even stop breathing from time to time. You feel more tired each day at work even though you had a full night's sleep. You can concentrate on daily tasks in the morning but want to take a nap by lunchtime. These are telltale signs that you might have sleep apnea. What is sleep apnea and how do I deal with it?

According to the experts, those who have sleep apnea pause in breathing or take very shallow breaths during sleep time. These pauses in breathing can last anywhere from moments to full minutes and are caused by different reasons depending upon the type of sleep apnea.

CSA (Central Sleep Apnea)

involves a chemical imbalance in the brain that creates a disruption in the respiration signal sent to the body. Meaning the sleeper will pause in breathing because the body will forget to breathe.

OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea)

is the most common form of sleep apnea and involves the collapse of airways due to upper respiratory infections, obesity, smoking, allergies and other factors related to the breathing function of the body.

MSA (Mixed Sleep Apnea)

is just as it sounds. There are conditions present from both types of sleep apnea creating a complex problem for sufferers.

Before you run out to take a sleep test, which doctors will encourage you to do, try some simple and easy treatments which might alleviate some symptoms and improve your rest.

Adjust sleeping positions

Sleep on your side instead of your back to help keep your throat open. You can sleep with special pillows or shirts that prevent you from sleeping on your back. It might even help to change mattresses for a more comfortable sleep.

Change eating and drinking habits

Change your eating and drinking habits before going to bed and retire earlier to see if this will treat the condition. Avoid alcohol and medicines that make you sleepy. They make it harder for your throat to stay open while you sleep. If you smoke, quit. Smoking adds to the difficulty of breathing in any situation.

If you still suffer from these symptoms, visit your physician and discuss ways you can improve your sleep time. These symptoms should not be ignored as sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea can be known to cause weight gain, diabetes, stroke, hypertension and heart failure. The goal of all with sleep apnea is to restore regular breathing during sleep which in turn helps the body to restore to health.

Take a sleep test

If you are able to take a sleep test, which consists of staying overnight in a sleep testing facility, then your doctor will direct you as to what you can do to improve your sleeping after the results of the test.

Possible treatments

Talk with your physician to find out what you can do to help the situation.

CPAP therapy

Treatment may include CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy which is sleeping with a device that gently delivers pressurized air through a tube and mask to keep your upper airway open.

Surgical solutions

Treatment might also include a surgery to open airways in your deviated septum which will help your body breathe easier.

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, treating this difficult disorder will help your brain and body get enough oxygen to function normally. Sufferers of sleep apnea will feel healthier and have more energy for a more productive life.

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