What is Sleep Apnoea?
When we sleep at night, our body controls our breathing automatically so we can have a restorative, deep and peaceful sleep. During sleep, various parts of our body work together to allow us to breathe easily and automatically. For some, our throat muscles can become too relaxed during sleep. When the throat muscles are too relaxed, the airways become narrow as you breathe in. This will usually produce a snoring sound as air tries to travel through narrowed airways.
A partial or complete obstruction to our airway causes breathing to decline or stop completely for a short time, this is called an episode.
When our body can’t get the air it needs during an episode, our brain receives a message that something is wrong. When this happens, the brain will arouse itself from sleep for a few seconds. When this occurs (sometimes hundreds of times in one night) it results in broken sleep so we can wake up feeling tired. Our body didn’t have the peaceful, deep, and restorative quality sleep it needed. We are usually unaware when this happens.
Try these questions:
- Have you been told that you snore?
- Do you often wake up tired or unrefreshed?
- Do you suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness?
- Do you wake up choking or gasping for air?
- Do you have trouble with concentration/memory?
- Do you suffer from a dry mouth or headache upon waking?
- Do you need to get up to go the toilet frequently at night?
- Do you suffer from irritability or mood changes?
- Do you suffer from depression or anxiety?