If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you know how it feels to live with the condition. The constant waking up tired, feeling sluggish and run down, having a sore throat or sinus headache when you wake up in the morning.
But, do you know exactly what is happening during the night while you are sleeping? Does your partner know? Having information about the biological events that happen due to a condition, can help the person who is suffering understand the importance of prevention and treatment measures.
It’s not always fun to wear your CPAP mask, and losing weight or quitting smoking are really hard, but understanding exactly what is happening to your body while you sleep, just might be the motivation that you need.
What does obstructive sleep apnea do to your body while you are sleeping?
- It causes your airway to narrow and even close off, so that you breathe shallow or can’t breathe at all. This causes you to make gasping or grunting sounds because your body needs air to survive. Once the flow of oxygen has been established, you will begin snoring. The episode of blocked airway can happen several times per night. Depending on how many times it happens, your apnea will be referred to as mild, moderate, or severe.
- When you have reduced breathing or stop breathing all together, the oxygen levels in your blood go down, and the carbon dioxide levels go up. In order for your heart rate and nervous system to maintain homeostasis, your heart and blood vessels have to work even harder to get oxygen. This leads to high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Because your body systems are fighting for oxygen while you are asleep, they are not resting and repairing like they should be when your body is at rest. This means that you wake up tired, have trouble concentrating, suffer from depression or anxiety, and are more likely to have an accident due to poor focus.
Sleep apnea can be a deadly condition. Not breathing several times per night is a very dangerous situation. And, the repercussions that it can have in your day-to-day life are significant. Prevention and treatment are key to your health and longevity if you are suffering from sleep apnea.