How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Daily Life?

How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Daily Life?

It’s estimated that around 20 million adults in the U.S. suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, and an alarming 80% of people with sleep apnea go undiagnosed. However, if you live alone and someone isn’t there to hear you snoring loudly or gasping for air during sleep, how would you know? 

Many people discover they have sleep-related disorders after a pattern of adverse symptoms presented when they’re awake, so the real question is: How does sleep apnea affect your daily life? Read on to learn more.

Sleep Apnea: A Brief Overview

When left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of significant health issues, for instance: high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, and worsening of ADHD or diabetes. Additionally, sleep apnea almost always disrupts daily life.

How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Daily Life?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing pauses in their sleep, usually for a few seconds or minutes at a time. Left untreated, sleep apnea can have a negative effect on your physical health, mental and emotional well-being, quality of life, and relationships. Here are some common examples of what can come about from untreated sleep apnea:

#1: Fatigue

It’s a known fact that feeling tired during the day can be a result of not getting enough sleep. Since sleep apnea causes multiple sleep disruptions, it’s often a culprit of daytime fatigue.

#2: Insomnia

Insomnia can delay sleep and cause excess exhaustion, especially when paired with sleep apnea. Getting to a deep sleep, and falling back to sleep if one does wake up during the night, can become a significant challenge. This can quickly form into a vicious cycle of not being able to sleep, having trouble getting back to sleep, and feeling exhausted during the day. 

#3: Loss of Brain Function

In order to get a good night’s rest, you need to be able to reach the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep, which is the most important stage of sleep. You also need to remain there for an adequate amount of time.

Because a good night’s sleep is essential for proper brain functioning, lack of oxygen in the brain—coupled with the inability to reach REM sleep during the night—disrupts the brain’s normal functioning. Consequently, this makes a lot of people forgetful or have difficulty concentrating during the day, which can make daily activities much more difficult.

#4: Moodiness, Irritability, and/or Depression

The link between proper sleep and proper brain functioning has long been established, and for those that suffer from any form of sleep disorder, it can be expected for them to find it difficult to properly manage their thoughts and moods. This is why it comes as no surprise that a recent survey by the CDC confirmed that sleep apnea has a direct link with depression. 

Many who suffer from sleep apnea can also find it difficult to remain attentive at work or school. And in regards to irritability and other concerns, these conditions are often a result of being fatigued due to inadequate sleep.

Getting Diagnosed with Sleep Apnea

The most effective way someone can find out if they have sleep apnea is to spend a night at a sleep center or make use of portable recording equipment while at home; this equipment records oxygen levels, breathing movements, heart rate, and snoring throughout the night. A board-certified sleep physician must interpret this sleep study to find anything conclusive.

Treatment and Routine Habits for Sleep Apnea

For mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea, lifestyle changes are usually recommended in conjunction with oral appliance therapy or CPAP. Those who suffer from sleep apnea are usually encouraged to lose weight, exercise more often, quit smoking, and reduce their alcohol intake two to three hours before bedtime. Because sleep apnea has the potential to exacerbate underlying disease conditions and predispose people to various illnesses, getting a professional diagnosis is crucial whenever you notice a lack in quality sleep.

Many people have CPAP intolerance, which is why oral appliance therapy is a great alternative to improving sleep apnea symptoms and providing significant health changes to your daily life.

Trust Our Experts in Sleep Apnea Solutions

At TMJ & Sleep Solutions of Alabama, our mission is to provide personalized care and restore quality of life for our patients. If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule an appointment for a consultation or dental appliance fitting.