News / South Africa / Health

Angela Bekiaris
2 minute read
31 Jan 2018
12:53 pm

The low-down on sleep apnea

Angela Bekiaris

A look into sleep apnea, what causes it and how you can treat it.

Picture: iStock

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Experts say you may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly, and you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep.

There are three main types, explained here by Mayo Clinic:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax.
  • Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

See a doctor if you think you could be suffering from sleep apnea. There is treatment and the good news is, treatment will ease your symptoms and prevent heart problems or any other complications.

9 symptoms to look out for

1. Loud snoring
2. Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep witnessed by another person
3. Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
4. Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
5. Morning headache
6. Difficulty staying asleep
7. Excessive daytime sleepiness
8. Attention problems
9. Irritability

stress, anxiety, headache

Picture: iStock

9 risk factors

It  can affect anyone, even children, say experts. These risk factors, however, increase your chances of getting it.

1. Excess weight
2. Neck circumference
3. A narrowed airway
4. Being male
5. Being older
6. Family history
7. Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers
8. Smoking
9. Nasal congestion

medicine, tablet, drug, health

Image: Supplied.

Self-help tips  

There are some ways to help treat it yourself:

• Lose weight
• Quit smoking
• Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives
• Exercise regularly
• Avoid caffeine and heavy meals
• Maintain regular sleep hours


Bedtime prevention tips shares some great tips with us:

• Sleep on your side
• Prop your head up
• Open your nasal passages
• Tighten the muscles that keep the mouth closed

Brought to you by People Magazine

How to soothe yourself to sleep

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