Are you tired during the day, but are getting the amount of rest you need? If so, you could be suffering from sleep apnea, which is a common disorder that causes frequent disruptions in your breathing, or shallow breaths while you sleep. These pauses can last from a few seconds to several minutes and can occur 30 times or more an hour.
To help you better understand sleep apnea, let’s take a look at some common myths and facts to help you decide if you or a loved one should seek treatment.
Myth: People with sleep apnea know they have it because they’re woken up when breathing stops.
Fact: Most people are unaware they have sleep apnea because they are sleeping when symptoms occur. Many people find out their breathing is affected by another who watches them or hears them while they sleep.
Myth: Sleep apnea is just snoring.
Fact: Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. But, it also might be an annoying sound that your bed partner makes throughout the night because the muscles in his or her throat relax too much.
Myth: Only people who are old or have obesity get sleep apnea.
Fact: Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages and sizes. However, people who are overweight may be able to reduce symptoms by losing weight.
Myth: Alcohol is a good sleep remedy.
Fact: Alcohol is not the solution. Instead, alcohol relaxes the muscles in the back of the throat, which blocks the airway—sleeping pills have the same effect.
Treatment of sleep apnea can include simple lifestyle changes or oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is worn during sleep and gently pushes the lower jaw outward to create an unobstructed airway.