50 million Americans stopped breathing last night due to obstructive sleep apnea. What is sleep apnea?
Apnea means “a temporary suspension of breathing.” Sleep apnea is when one stops breathing in their sleep. Episodes last ten or more seconds and end when the sleeper briefly awakens, takes a breath, and falls back asleep. Those with sleep apnea may wake up hundreds of times each night, but most don’t remember these episodes. So how do you know if you have sleep apnea?
The biggest sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring. Snoring occurs because the sleeper is having trouble breathing. The periods of snoring will then be broken up sporadically by silence, indicating the sleeper has stopped breathing. Those with sleep apnea don’t get restful sleep and are often extremely tired during the day. Not only that, sleep apnea can kill, though it often does so indirectly via heart attacks, strokes, or high blood sugar.
But you don’t need to worry. Sleep apnea is a totally treatable condition. Once you’ve been diagnosed, the most common and reliable treatment is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. The machine attaches to your face through a hose and CPAP mask. By creating positive airway pressure, the CPAP machine keeps your airway open throughout the night so you can breathe unobstructed. You’ll get better sleep and feel more energized throughout the day. Plus, if you have a bed partner they won’t have to listen to you snore all night. Everyone wins.