What Does Sleep Apnea Do to Your Sleep Pattern?

If you’ve never heard of sleep apnea, then you might be surprised to learn that you have it, and that it may be the cause of several things you thought were inexplainable. Both the consequences of sleep apnea and the fact that it often goes unnoticed are often due to the fact that it isn’t obvious to you as you sleep. Today, we examine what sleep apnea does to your sleep and breathing patterns, and why addressing it as soon as possible could have a greater impact on your wellbeing than you realize at first.

It starts with your breathing

Sleep apnea, formally known as obstructive sleep apnea, is a disorder that directly impacts your breathing while you sleep. Specifically, it means to stop breathing periodically after you begin to go through the stages of sleep. The condition is caused by mouth and/or throat tissues collapsing into airway after becoming over-relaxed when you sleep. This can force you stop breathing altogether, and though you won’t usually notice it, your body and brain will have to wake up just enough to clear the obstruction and start breathing again. The problem is that this will continue to repeat itself throughout the night, and for many patients, the interruptions can go largely unnoticed.

The snoring is a red herring

When you suffer from sleep apnea, one of the most consistent signs is an excessively loud snoring habit that occurs every or almost every night. This occurs as your airway is being obstructed by oral tissues and growing smaller, forcing your breathing through the narrower passage at a much higher rate of air pressure. The force causes your throat tissues to vibrate loudly, leading to the sound of snoring. Because it’s the most noticeable sign at first, the snoring that’s associated with sleep apnea is often confused as nothing more than a snoring habit, and people may put up with it for years before realizing it might be more serious of a problem.

The long-term impacts of sleep apnea

The increasingly loud snoring that accompanies sleep apnea episodes is indicative of what sleep apnea actually does to your sleep and breathing patterns. Every snore is a lead up to complete obstruction, and the silence can last several moments before your body and brain realize it. Over time, this pattern can make it impossible for you to ever reach rapid eye movement, or R.E.M., levels of sleep. Before long, you can begin to experience symptoms of sleep deprivation, including excessive exhaustion, irritability, and more.

Treat sleep apnea and enjoy better rest

Sleep apnea, which is a sleep breathing disorder, can lead to a number of different concerns, many of which stem from how the condition impacts your sleep pattern. To learn more, call our Cleveland Family Dentistry office in Cleveland, TX, today at (281) 592-1234. We also serve the residents of Kingwood, Conroe, Livingston, and all surrounding communities.