Sleep disturbances are an all-too-common problem among people in every age bracket. But if you experience extremely loud snoring, you may have a more serious condition called sleep apnea. In the most severe cases, sleep apnea can actually be life-threatening, and many people may not even realize that they have it. People who suffer from this condition actually stop breathing for periods of time while they’re asleep. These pauses in breathing are called apneas, and the more often you experience them, the more dangerous the condition becomes. Sleep apnea has been linked to more serious health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and even heart disease or stroke.

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to treat this disorder. The only real way to determine whether or not you have sleep apnea is to be diagnosed by either your doctor or a dentist who treats sleep disturbances, but learning more about the symptoms is a good place to start. Here are some indicators that you may be suffering from sleep apnea.

  • Loud snoring – If you regularly wake up other people with your snoring (or wake yourself up), followed by a period of time when you’re not breathing, you may have sleep apnea. Keep in mind that loud snoring isn’t always an indicator of the condition, but it is often the most obvious sign.
  • Waking up and gasping – People with sleep apnea wake up often during the night and sometimes feel as though they are choking or gasping for air.
  • Sore throat and/or dry mouth – Sleep apnea patients often sleep with their mouths open, which causes a dry mouth and sometimes a sore or scratchy throat after waking up.
  • Feeling sleepy during the day – Because their sleep is disturbed every night, people who suffer from sleep apnea often feel sleepy during the day. We all experience some days when we feel a little drowsy from lack of sleep, but apnea sufferers feel very sleepy – to the point where they are in danger of falling asleep while driving or at other inappropriate and even dangerous times.
  • Difficulty concentrating – Sleep apnea patients often have a hard time concentrating on work or school tasks. This lack of focus can cause real problems, often negatively affecting the patient’s performance at work and/or school.
  • Headaches – People with sleep apnea are more prone to headaches, which are caused by lack of REM sleep. Apnea patients are also more prone to migraines.
  • Moodiness – People with sleep apnea typically become moody throughout the course of each day. It’s typical for people to become moody when they’re tired, but sleep apnea patients are more prone to serious mood swings and even depression.

If you believe that you might suffer from sleep apnea, talk to your doctor or dentist. There are several ways to treat the condition, and that can mean a more restful and safer night’s sleep for you!

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