Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects your breathing. There are a few different forms of sleep apnea, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA occurs when your tongue and other soft tissues block your airway as you sleep. As a result, when you sleep, your body relaxes entirely with the ability to breathe normally. However, with OSA, your tongue and soft palate obstruct your airway, reducing the amount of oxygen in your body.
Sleep apnea can affect many aspects of your life and body. However, your sleep quality significantly diminishes. Without treatment, the quality of your sleep will continue to decline, affecting your mood, mind, and health.
Problems with Sleep Quality
When your body doesn’t get adequate rest, it affects your body’s ability to function efficiently. Think of all the times when you haven’t gotten enough sleep. Maybe stress or anxiety kept you awake, or you had a deadline to make. Perhaps a new baby or new puppy woke you around the clock. Remember how you felt in the morning? Irritable. Groggy. Exhausted. Imagine how bothered you would be if that were every single morning.
Without adequate sleep, you are more likely to feel irritable or aggravated. You may find yourself with a shorter temper than usual. Things that don’t usually bother you might suddenly get on your nerves. Additionally, you may be more susceptible to mood swings. This may look like irritation one second and crying the next.
Impaired Cognitive Function
Poor sleep can affect your brain’s ability to think and react. In fact, your brain requires rest in order to function. Diminished sleep quality can make it difficult to make decisions or perform tasks at your place of work. Additionally, a lack of quality sleep can reduce your physical reaction time. If you play sports, this could be the difference between catching a ball or making a play. More importantly, poor sleep can affect your reaction time, causing more serious problems, such as a car accident or a workplace injury.
Not only do you need sleep to make decisions, but you also need sleep to stay focused. You may find concentrating difficult if you constantly don’t get enough rest. Unfortunately, sleep apnea will wake you regularly throughout the night, making it nearly impossible to get restful sleep.
Other Problems with Sleep Apnea
On top of cognitive issues, patients with sleep apnea can develop problems with their heart, metabolism, and immune system. Because the body undergoes so much stress, it has to work harder for the body to function. For example, the constant jolting awake each night strains your heart. This can increase your chances of cardiovascular problems, such as hypertension, high blood pressure, or a heart attack.
You can treat sleep apnea in a few ways, including a CPAP machine or oral appliance therapy (OAT). CPAP machines are the go-to method of treating sleep apnea. However, with mild to moderate OSA, you can go to your dentist for OAT. OAT is a device that you place in your mouth while you sleep. It keeps your jaw and tongue in place so they no longer obstruct your airway.