Sleep Apnea and How to Help it

In Sleep Disorders

Sleep apnea is a sleeping condition where you basically stop breathing while you are sleeping.  These periods where you cease to breathe will last anywhere from 10-20 seconds.  Obviously you aren’t always going to be aware that you have it.  There are a couple different kinds of sleep apnea that you should be aware of.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This kind of sleep apnea is most common. It occurs when the tissue in the back of your throat relaxes during sleep. This causes a blockage in your airway and can cut off your breathing for a short time.

Central Sleep Apnea

This is more of a brain communication mix-up rather than a physical obstruction. It happens when the brain stops signaling to your muscles to breathe.

Complex Sleep Apnea

This is a combination of the other types.

Some factors that can contribute to the development of sleep apnea are:

  • being overweight
  • smoking
  • or being related to someone who has sleep apnea

Not all hope is lost if you develop sleep apnea.  What you can do, if you have obstructive sleep apnea, is start exercising to lose weight; you can also quit smoking; avoid heavy meals and alcohol; and also try to maintain a regular sleeping schedule.

Note that these are mostly things that can only be done to help or prevent obstructive sleep apnea.  If you have central sleep apnea, then you NEED to see your doctor, they will have more information for you and can do a number of things to help it.  They might even hook you up with a breathing device that will assist you with regular breathing during the night.  They might also recommend you get a dental device that will help position your jaw to where it will remain open if you have obstructive sleep apnea.  Make sure you take care of it when you first notice that you have it, it can have fatal results.

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