Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common reason for people to have brief pauses in breathing while they are asleep. Apnea means stops in breathing. The episodes usually last between 20 and 40 seconds and may happen many times during the night.
When the sufferer falls asleep the muscles of their throat and upper airway become gradually more relaxed, making them temporarily close up. The passage of air is blocked and breathing stops. The patient's oxygen level in the blood drops, the carbon dioxide level rises and this stimulates the patients to wake up enough that breathing can start again. As the depth of sleep deepens again, the cycle continues.
The quality of sleep is poor and so people are often tired during the day.
Here are the main signs of obstructive sleep apnea;
Breathing stopping for brief periods many times a night.
Very loud snoring.
Seesawing of the chest and abdomen during apneic periods due to the diaphragm moving back and forth.
Sleepiness during the day leading to people falling asleep at inappropriate times, for example in meetings or while driving.
Snoring can lead to loss of sleep for partners and other people living in the same house as the snorer. Investing in a good pair of ear plugs such as these http://zenplugs.com/molded-earplugs can improve sleep for other people, reducing tiredness and conflicts through the resentment which can otherwise occur.
If you or someone you know may have obstructive sleep apnea it is very important that they consult a doctor for investigation. The disease can cause high blood pressure and increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. It can be easily treated, resulting in a longer and happier life.