You Know It’s Time to See a Sleep Doctor When…
Sleeping is a natural function of the body, and doctor’s recommend that we get as many as 8 hours of sleep every night. Many can attest, however, that sometimes sleep doesn’t always come as easily as we would like.
We dream about those extra Zzz’s all day at work, yet, when bedtime rolls around we struggle to drift off into an effortless slumber. A number of factors could contribute to sleep deprivation.
- You’re stressed at work.
- You started a new job or report to a new boss.
- You’ve been traveling a lot.
- You didn’t have time to workout.
- You had one too many glasses of wine at dinner.
Whatever the case may be, you are not getting the recommended hours of sleep each night and it’s beginning to drain your energy and show in your work performance. You’re not alone.
So, how do you know when minor sleep troubles become a complicated sleep disorder?
Identifying major sleep problems such as sleep apnea on your own is very difficult since symptoms commonly occur when you are asleep. To get around this, ask your bed partner to observe your sleeping habits or record yourself during sleep.
If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, it’s time to see a sleep doctor for professional advice.
You wake up multiple times throughout the night.
When you have an obstruction in your natural breathing process, your oxygen level drops and the carbon dioxide in your blood rises causing an increase in heart rate. Unbeknownst to you, this obstruction causes abrupt stops and starts in your breathing and interrupts your sleep cycle. So you wake up multiple times through the night in order to breathe (scary) and then you start the sleep process once again.
Constant fatigue even after you’ve slept for at least seven hours the previous night.
Ever wake up feeling exhausted even though you sleep through the night? And a feeling of drowsiness continues to weigh you down throughout the day when you’re performing routine activities such as driving, sitting at your desk or during meetings. You find yourself heavily relying on coffee or other caffeinated drinks to remain alert. If daytime fatigue continues to inhibit your daily routine for a prolonged period of time, schedule a consultation with a sleep doctor.
Disturbing others when you are a sleep.
Within proximity, snoring can be one of the worst noise pollutants for your bed partner or family members. Not only that, if you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, you may make choking sounds or explosive gasping sounds during the night. Don’t let your loved ones lose sleep. Schedule an appointment with a sleep doctor if your bed partner or family members frequently complain about frequent snoring or unusual respiratory sounds.
Repercussions of untreated sleep disorders can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke and uncontrolled weight gain.
Sleep apnea is a very common sleep disorder that can be fixed. When left untreated, your breathing is interrupted over 100 times throughout the night and the interruptions can last between 10 to 20 seconds.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can be divided into three categories.
- Obstructive sleep apnea. This is the most common condition of sleep apnea, occurring when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes and blocks the airway while asleep. As a result, patients suffering from this condition loudly
- Central sleep apnea. This type of sleep apnea is a rare condition connected to the central nervous system. The brain fails to send signals to the muscles that regulate breathing. Patients suffering from this condition hardly snore.
- Complex sleep apnea. A combination of both central and obstructive sleep apnea, complex sleep apnea involves both the central nervous system and the soft tissues in the back of throat.
Consequences of Sleep Apnea
If you do not see a sleep doctor, sleep disruption and low oxygen will lead to many other medical problems.
- Lack of sleep alone deteriorates your quality of life, increasing your irritability and sleepiness during the day. In the event of untreated sleep apnea, you run a greater risk for making mistakes in the workplace or causing car wrecks while driving.
- Low blood oxygen may cause your skin to turn a bluish-tint color, a condition known as cyanosis. Without a constant supply of oxygen, your brain cells may die. If prolonged, it may lead to poor concentration, lack of planning skills and function inefficiency, or even death.
- Sleep apnea increases your heart rate thereby increasing your risk of high blood pressure, cardiac arrest, stoke and congestive heart failure.
If you suspect that you or a member of your family is suffering from sleep apnea, you can make an appointment to see one of the eos sleep doctors.