Sleep apnea can be an underlying issue, because you might not be aware that you have it. Sometimes it takes someone being in the room with you while you are sleeping to tell you that you might have sleep apnea. If not, you should be paying attention to how you feel in the morning and throughout the day for signs that you need to be checked for this potentially dangerous problem.
If you have sleep apnea, you aren't getting enough oxygen during the night. Not getting enough oxygen has long term and short term negative effects. The long term effects are a much higher risk for a heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. The short term effects are a little more subtle and you will notice their effects over the course of a week or more. You should watch out for...
• Being excessively tired even though you got enough sleep.
• Increased irritability during the day because of a lack of quality sleep. You may also have a hard time concentrating.
• Having to urinate during the night more than you were before.
• Loud snoring, abrupt stopping and starting in breathing. You might not wake yourself up because of this -- this is when someone else in the room should tell you.
• Sweating excessively in your sleep.
• Having a dry mouth most mornings when you wake up.
• Gaining weight suddenly and quickly. Weight gain can be a side effect of not getting enough quality sleep over a period of time.
Call your doctor if you are having any of these symptoms, so you can be checked for sleep apnea. Your doctor might order you to do a few things to get rid of it, if you have mild sleep apnea. If the problem is moderate to severe, he will most likely prescribe the use of a CPAP machine.
CPAP stands for “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure”. This machine has a constant flow level of oxygen that you receive through a face mask. This continuous amount of air pressure keeps your airways from being obstructed, and the problem is fixed. Your doctor will help you adjust to using your CPAP machine and help you find the right size face mask to make it as comfortable as possible.
You should be able to see a major difference in how you feel fairly quickly. You will start to wake up in the morning and feel refreshed. One thing you might run into when you start using a CPAP machine, is a feeling of irritation or dryness in your nasal passages, or on the top of your throat when you wake up. The machine has a built-in humidifier, but sometimes this isn't enough to get you by if the air in the room is very dry, or if you have just started using it and you haven't gotten used to it yet.
Use a saline spray in your nose before you go to bed to help prevent this dryness. You can also use an additional humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep. Be sure to keep the room humidifier and the CPAP humidifier clean to avoid bacteria growth, and use distilled water only.