Your body and brain both need a good night’s sleep to repair themselves and recharge for the next day. Getting better sleep can also have long-term benefits for your health.
Poor sleep causes a range of problems, but it affects your brain first. You may feel drowsy, experience mood changes, have trouble making decisions, as well as difficulty learning or remembering things.
If you snore and you’re often sleepy in the daytime, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. It’s estimated that as many as 20% of people have sleep apnea1, but it often goes undiagnosed. It can affect men and women of any age.
If you’re unfamiliar with this common sleep disorder, you may be wondering “what is sleep apnea?”. When you sleep, the muscles that control your upper airway normally relax. If they relax too much, your upper airway becomes narrow or completely blocked and you may temporarily stop breathing, experiencing an ‘obstructive apnea.’ This can happen frequently throughout the night, lasting for ten seconds or more and placing stress on your brain and heart. It can leave you so tired that it affects the quality of your life, work, and relationships.
The first sign is usually observed by a family member: snoring. You may also make gasping or choking sounds while you sleep. Although, some people with sleep apnea don’t snore at all.
Other symptoms of sleep apnea include:
Untreated sleep apnea can present a serious health risk. Researchers estimate that untreated sleep apnea may raise the risk of dying from heart disease by up to five times.1 More than 35% of people with sleep apnea also have high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease.1 (One study found 83% of people who had high blood pressure despite taking three or more drugs also had sleep apnea.2) Almost 70% of people who’ve had a stroke have sleep apnea.3 And people with sleep apnea are 2.5 times more likely to be the driver in a car accident.4
If you think you might have sleep apnea, it’s important to get diagnosed. You can do a simple online sleep assessment to see if you’re at risk. To properly diagnose sleep apnea generally a home sleep test is done.
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea then treating it can help you to wake up feeling refreshed and improve your overall quality of life.
The gold standard treatment for sleep apnea is positive airway pressure therapy (often called CPAP5) which is simple and requires no surgery. You wear a small mask while you sleep, which gently delivers a regulated flow of pressurised air to keep your airway open through the night.
To begin with, CPAP will help to stop your snoring, making sleep easier for your partner and other family members. You can look forward to more restful, less disturbed sleep and waking up with more energy, alertness and focus to enjoy your day.
Benefits of therapy include better sleep, improved mood, less daytime sleepiness and reduced risk of car accidents.
CPAP therapy has been used for treating obstructive sleep apnea since 1981. During this period, night time, daytime and long term health benefits have been proven in multiple clinical studies.7
Choosing the right CPAP machine and mask is very important. Your preferences and comfort are vital to the success of therapy. So before buying a CPAP machine or mask, ask to have a trial. View our CPAP trial options here.
While CPAP is considered the gold standard treatment for sleep apnea, other treatments are available. Learn more about other sleep apnea treatments.
ResMed is a global leader in sleep technology that has its origins right here in Australia. Our goal is to provide people with the means to awaken their best and enjoy healthier lives by promoting good sleep habits and creating awareness for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
Harvard Health. How sleep affects the heart accessed 24 June 2019.
Logan et al. J. Hypertension 2001 Dec;19(12):2271-7.
Sharma S and Culebras A Stroke Vasc Neurol. 2016 Dec; 1(4): 185–191.
Risk of motor vehicle accidents is higher in people with sleep apnea. accessed 24 June 2019.
CPAP Benefits. http://sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/cpap/benefits Accessed 12 June 2019.
Tingting, X et al. 2017.European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, 275(2), 335–346.
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