Sleep Deprivation and Apnea

If you are suffering from chronic tiredness during the day, the chances are you are being deprived of sleep. The problem is that we become so used to this type of tiredness we often don’t realise how it is affecting our quality of life until we suddenly manage to improve our quota of sleep.

Sleep tends to be like money, the longer you go without an adequate supply of it, the worse your situation gets. Unfortunately many of us run up a “sleep debt” without even realising it.

OSA to Blame?

Sleep apnea is one of the worst offenders for causing disturbed sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (apnoea) or OSA for short is the interruption of air into the lungs whilst a person is asleep. This is usually caused by some kind of obstruction, and can be quite dangerous to the person who is suffering from it.

More often than not, OSA is a nuisance rather than anything else, but if the person who is suffering from OSA stops breathing for more than 10 seconds at a time and it happens more than ten times in an hour, this can give cause for concern and should be looked into further by your doctor or health care provider.

If you look at this type of sleep pattern, it is easy to see why the person who is suffering from OSA becomes lethargic and unwell. If his sleeping pattern is being broken to such a degree, then he is not falling into the deep natural sleep that is needed to rejuvenate the body and mind.

Why so Disruptive?

We need our sleep to stay fit and healthy and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea can cause serious disruptions. The reason OSA is so disruptive to our sleep pattern is because when we stop breathing whilst asleep, the brain gives us a nudge to wake up quickly. This often happens with a very loud snore or snort, so if this sounds a familiar problem with your partner or someone you know, it could be they are suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.

It has been discovered that OSA only occurs whilst we are asleep. This is because it is a lack of muscle tone within the part of the airway that causes the problem. Due to this lack of muscle tone, the airway tends to collapse in on itself thus causing the problems of lack of breathing.

The reason it doesn’t occur whilst we are awake, is because the muscle tone of the airways remains sufficiently toned to allow us to be able to breathe. However if a person has a significant problem, his breathing may sometimes become laboured whilst he is awake and at rest.

We may mock people who snore and snort loudly whilst they are asleep. We often get very exasperated with them, (especially if the problem is affecting the rest of the household). However what needs to be realised is the culprit may well be suffering from a medical problem which could become potentially life threatening.