Sleep Apnoea - What You Need To Know

A good night's sleep contributes greatly to your physical and mental health and ensures that you are refreshed and ready to face another day. Sleep is especially important for children as this is the time when their growth and development takes place. If you experience disrupted sleep for a long period of time, your productivity will go down since your thinking, working and learning abilities will be affected. A condition which severely affects your sleep is known as sleep apnoea and it is important to have it treated to restore proper sleep.

Sleep Apnoea Defined

Sleep apnoea refers to a disorder whereby there is an interruption in your breathing when you are asleep. Your breathing stops severally when you are asleep for brief moments of time, ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes. This interruption can cause your brain and other parts of your body to have insufficient oxygen. When you stop breathing or when your breathing becomes shallow, you will automatically shift from deep sleep to a light sleep. You therefore end up having very poor quality of sleep, leaving you fatigued during your waking hours.

Sleep Apnoea - Types

Sleep apnoea occurs in two forms - obstructive and central sleep apnoea. Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is more common and is caused when the soft tissues which are located at the back of the throat collapse during sleep. When this happens, your airway gets blocked and this is when there is an interruption in breathing. Air may still try to squeeze through the blocked airway, causing very loud snoring. Central sleep apnea is quite uncommon and happens when the respiratory control center in the brain is unstable and it fails to send signals to the muscles to breathe. The muscles therefore do not make an effort to breathe for short periods of time.

Sleep Apnoea Risk

Sleep apnoea can affect anyone but there are a few factors that can increase the chances of suffering from the disorder. You are at a higher risk if you are overweight, if you are above forty years and if you are male. If you have a neck that is sixteen inches long or more for women or seventeen inches long or more for men, then your risk of sleep apnoea is higher. Any blockage on your nose due to sinuses, allergies or a deviated septum, as well as a large tongue and large tonsils all increase the risk of sleep apnoea.

Consequences Of Sleep Apnoea

Sleep apnoea when not treated increases the risk of stroke and high blood pressure. You can also end up having irregular heartbeats, heart failure or even heart attacks. You may also suffer from depression and headaches. Your daily activities will be affected, for instance school performance, work performance and you will be more prone to road accidents.


There are a range of treatment options which can be used to treat sleep apnoea. You may be required to lose weight, to go through surgery or to use CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy. CPAP therapy is used to treat OSA and uses a machine which blows air that's pressurized from a motor through a mask worn over the mouth and nose when you sleep.

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This article was published on 18 Sep 2016 and has been viewed 1487 times
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