Many people suffer from sleep deprivation. In fact, as many as 50 – 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder that significantly impacts their lives. One such disorder is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when you experience interruptions in breathing throughout the night. These interruptions can last 8 seconds or longer, depending on the severity of the disorder. They can happen hundreds of times per night, preventing your body from getting the oxygen and sleep it needs to function in the following days.
If you suspect you may have sleep apnea or aren’t sure why you’re experiencing symptoms like daytime sleepiness or morning headaches, it is worth it to get tested for sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea can wreak havoc throughout your body in ways you probably aren’t anticipating. Things like heart disease, dementia, and mood disorders can result from untreated sleep apnea.
Know If You Should Get Tested for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea has systemic effects and therefore has many symptoms. Having one or two of these symptoms alone doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea, but if you’re experiencing many of these symptoms, at the very least, ruling out sleep apnea will get you one step closer to figuring out why you feel the way you do.
When deciding if you should get a sleep test, you can first evaluate your symptoms, their severity, frequency, and if they occur together.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Some of the most common and easily identified symptoms of sleep apnea are below.
Choking or gasping for breath
Grinding your teeth
Dozing off during the day
Snoring is a common symptom, but snoring by itself doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea. Although, if you’re snoring loud enough to wake up your partner (or even yourself!), then it’s likely there is a significant blockage in your airway. The snoring sound that you or your partner hear is the air rushing past the relaxed soft tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate.
Severity – The louder the sound, the looser the soft tissues, and the more likely it is that they’re impeding your oxygen intake. Severe snoring is a serious issue.
Frequency – Do you snore nightly or just after a drink or two? Or maybe you only snore when you’re sleeping on your back? Sleep apnea may not be a concern if you only snore after a drink. However, it’s no surprise that sleeping on your side would help snoring subside since sleeping on your back could close off your airway due to gravity. If your sleeping position significantly influences the severity of your snoring, a sleep test may be in order.
Choking or gasping for breath is something else you or your partner may wake up to in the middle of the night. This means that your brain has gone without oxygen for some time and is trying to resume breathing.
Severity – Have you ever woken up choking or gasping for breath? Pay attention to when this happens; if it’s only when you’re sick and congested, sleep apnea isn’t a huge concern. Otherwise, this can be a tell-tale sign.
Frequency – How often do you wake up choking or gasping for air? The more often, the more severe your obstruction could be.
Grinding your teeth may seem like an odd symptom of sleep apnea but is one that anyone could notice, including your dentist. Your teeth will begin to wear down, crack, chip, and break because your brain tells your body to compress the soft tissues in your throat. Due to this, you clench your jaw and grind your teeth.
Severity – How worn are your teeth? Severely worn teeth don’t necessarily mean sleep apnea, but either way, head to your dentist to rule out other causes like TMJ.
Frequency – Does your partner hear you grinding your teeth nightly or multiple times per night? If so, something is off, and you should get it checked out.
Morning headaches are hard not to notice! You’ll know if your headache is due to sleep deprivation if your headache is intense more immediately but doesn’t last long.
Severity – Morning headaches are typically severe and subside quickly.
Frequency – Do you get a headache every morning? If you do, don’t let it continue. Ruling out sleep apnea could be a step on your way to figuring it out or curing your morning headaches.
Dozing off during the day can be a hazardous side effect of sleep apnea. Without enough sleep, your body won’t be able to stay awake, and you could fall asleep at work, watching TV, or even driving!
Severity – What tasks do you find yourself dozing off while performing? Is it later at night watching TV or during the day while you’re operating machinery? Take the latter situation seriously. Get a sleep test if you are dozing off during activities that typically keep people awake.
How to Get Tested
You don’t have to worry about going to a clinic to get a sleep study. Simply order from SleepTest.com and take your test in the comfort of your own home.
With SleepTest.com, you can order an affordable sleep test directly, or even use your medical insurance benefits. Our affiliate sleep specialists will analyze your results, make a diagnosis, and recommend treatment options. Using SleepTest’s online system, the entire process is simple.
Order a sleep test
Take the sleep test
Get your results
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea treatment looks different depending on the severity of your disorder. Your doctor could recommend a CPAP, Oral Appliance Therapy, or in some cases, an Inspire device. You can also curb sleep apnea with lifestyle modifications, but it’s not a stand-alone treatment. Lifestyle modifications should always be in conjunction with CPAP or oral appliance therapy.
Get a Sleep Test, Get Your Life Back
The right time to get tested for sleep apnea is now. The dangerous consequences of sleep apnea can be much more costly than sleep apnea treatment. Don’t wait, get a sleep test from SleepTest.com to find out if you have sleep apnea. You’ll be glad you did.
* This article was originally published on Sleeptest.com