Sleep Apnoea Symptoms
Anxiety and depression
Sleep loss from Sleep Apnoea is associated with similar findings observed in some psychiatric disorders. However, the extent to which sleep deprivation may be related to the emergence of clinical symptoms of psychopathology in individuals is not clear.
Lack of interest in sex
Deprivation of restorative sleep can create fatigue during the day and at night but combined with general depression; it can affect the libido. Exactly why is not known but studies have seen compelling data to there being a link. The sufferer’s partner can also be affected by the snoring; which leads to them suffering sleep loss.
Irritability and a short temper
Sleep loss from Sleep Apnoea can lead to changes in mood and cognition.
The human brain creates two chemicals, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, also known as GABA. Both chemicals are found in a portion of the brain called the insula. This part of the brain combines and coordinates the signals from other regions of the brain and helps regulate emotional response. They’re also linked with cognitive ability and functions like blood pressure and perspiration.
People with Sleep Apnoea have lower levels of GABA and abnormally high levels of glutamate. While GABA is a mood inhibitor and helps people keep calm, glutamate has the opposite effect. Elevated glutamate levels increase stress and stop the brain from functioning correctly.
Morning headaches are caused when the oxygen level drops due to the intermittent breathing caused by Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). Sleep Apnoea causes air to be trapped in the lungs, and this de-oxygenated air is the waste product of carbon dioxide. It builds up in the lungs and enters the bloodstream. This lack of oxygen in the blood and a build-up of carbon dioxide negatively affect the brain and lead to Sleep Apnoea headaches.
Impotence (erectile dysfunction) and OSA
Scientists don’t know exactly why men can have erectile dysfunction, but sleep deprivation can cause testosterone levels to drop. This testosterone dip, plus the lack of oxygen, could be the cause. Both are important for a healthy erection. Stress, anxiety and fatigue can also be contributing factors.
What is the main cause of Sleep Apnoea?
The main cause of sleep apnea is obstruction of the upper airway. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including obesity, large tonsils or adenoids, a deviated septum, or a large tongue or small jaw.
Other potential causes of can include hormonal imbalances, neurological disorders, certain medications, chronic nasal congestion, alcohol or drug use, genetics and smoking.
What are the long-term health risks of OSA?
Chronic sleeplessness is associated with numerous health risks ranging from minor conditions to chronic health concerns. As you are more likely to grind your teeth and breathe through your mouth, Sleep Apnoea can result in cracked teeth and an increased risk of cavities. You are more likely to have high blood pressure, depression and a lower sex drive.
Being tired all the time affects your quality of life; your relationships, energy for hobbies and the ability to perform well at work. Lack of sleep is also linked with weaker immunity, meaning you may get ill more often or take longer to recover.
Also, people with Sleep Apnoea are more likely to die prematurely. The physical effects lead to systemic inflammation (affecting the whole body) which is known to cause several chronic diseases. For instance, OSA can increase the likelihood of you developing type 2 diabetes, glaucoma, asthma, liver damage, an irregular heartbeat or congestive heart failure.
Sleep Apnoea increases your risk of having heart attacks and strokes. It can also cause complications of existing conditions. OSA can also cause complications in pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
In very rare cases, you can choke to death in your sleep. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you may fall asleep behind the wheel while driving; people with OSA are five times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident than those with normal sleep.
In-Home Sleep Test for a Faster Result
At Intus Healthcare we offer a detailed In-Home Sleep Test which is easy to perform and, as the name suggests, can be completed from the comfort of your own home.
The In-Home Sleep Apnoea test is a highly convenient first step towards confirmation and treatment for Sleep Apnoea. You can order the test online and have it delivered within 48 hours.
To assess your risk of OSA you can take our quick online free Sleep Apnoea risk assessment.
Treating Sleep Apnoea Naturally
If you are keen to explore natural solutions, lifestyle changes can have an impact on the quality of your sleep and reduce the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). If unsuccessful, CPAP therapy may be advised.
Reducing weight / neck circumference
Research has found that men with a neck circumference above 17 inches and women with a neck circumference above 15 inches have a much higher risk of developing Sleep Apnoea. Many people with severe cases of OSA are overweight or obese, as excess weight puts pressure on the upper airway.
Smoking can contribute to the development of Sleep Apnoea and make the condition worse. There are several ways that smoking can contribute to Sleep Apnoea symptoms. First, smoking can cause inflammation and swelling in the upper airway, which can narrow the airway and make it more difficult to breathe. Second, smoking can weaken the muscles in the upper airway, leading to further narrowing of the airway. Finally, smoking can increase the production of mucus in the airway, which can further obstruct breathing.
Alcohol is a sedative, and when consumed, it can relax the muscles in the throat and cause the airway to become blocked during sleep. Regularly consuming a high amount of alcohol before you sleep disrupts your REM sleep, increasing the risk of OSA by 25%.
Obesity is a key risk factor for OSA. Eating an unhealthy diet that contributes to excess body weight may cause or worsen your Sleep Apnoea symptoms. Eating a a more nutritionally dense diet can improve your weight, well-being and overall health.
Medications and sedatives
Certain medications can aggravate sleep disorders. It is worth checking with your doctor if your medication could be affecting your sleep.
Sleeping on your side is generally advised for those with sleep problems as it comfortably opens the airway.
In-Home Sleep Test
If you suspect that you have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, then an in-home Sleep Test can provide a quick, convenient and affordable way to have it confirmed. Within two weeks you would be able to begin treatment and enjoying deep, restorative sleep again. All studies are independently analysed by experienced NHS-qualified sleep professionals, and use the WatchPAT recording device for unrivalled accuracy. Our service is tailored for people who suspect they have Sleep Apnoea, and want to have it confirmed quickly, affordably and conveniently. You must have a BMI below 45 and be aged over 18 years to take this test.