What Happens When You Have Sleep Apnea?

For some people, trouble sleeping isn’t something obvious. They may believe that they’re sleeping soundly throughout the night, despite not ever reaching the deep, restful sleep that their brains and bodies need to rest properly. This is often the case for people who suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that directly interrupts your sleep and breathing patterns throughout the night. Today, we explore what this could mean for your wellbeing by explaining what happens when you have sleep apnea.

Understanding what sleep apnea means

The problem of obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is that it can affect almost anyone without them realizing it at first. Sleep apnea means the cessation of breathing while you sleep, and it occurs when mouth and throat tissues collapse into your airway. This makes it increasingly more difficult to breathe properly, causing you to snore increasingly louder. However, the snoring is cut short when the obstruction becomes complete and stops you from breathing altogether. This will continue until your body and brain wake up just enough to clear the obstruction, though you won’t usually be aware of this interruption.

What it does to your sleep pattern

Because sleep apnea doesn’t typically fully wake you up, it can be difficult to see how it causes you to lose sleep, or experience symptoms of sleep deprivation. The threat that sleep apnea poses to your wellbeing; on one hand, it makes it more difficult for you to receive the oxygen you need while you sleep. On the other, the sleep apnea episodes constantly force your body and brain out of their sleep patterns in order to clear your airway. This means they can’t settle down long enough to drift into the deep stages of sleep, known as rapid eye movement (or R.E.M.).

The symptoms you start to notice

The obstruction that leads up to your cessation of breathing causes excessively loud snoring until the moment it stops. However, the snoring can also go unnoticed, except by your sleeping partner. As the condition continues to diminish your sleep quality, you might also begin to experience other symptoms that are more related to the lack of sleep and adequate oxygen, including:

  • Chronic headaches or migraines in the morning
  • Daytime tiredness, and eventually, exhaustion
  • Heightened irritability
  • Loss of cognitive function throughout the day
  • And more

Learn if you can benefit from a sleep appliance

When you have sleep apnea, the only way to find the peaceful sleep you need may be with help form a custom-designed sleep appliance. To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling the Dental Centre of Conroe in Conroe, TX, today at (936) 441-4600. We serve patients from Conroe and all neighboring communities.