Is Your Lack of Sleep Due to the Holidays, or is Sleep Apnea to Blame?

sleep apnea, trouble sleepingTis the season for traveling to grandmother’s house, sleeping on pullout sofas, and eating way too much of your aunt’s famous Christmas cookies.  

If you’re feeling a little exhausted after the holiday season, it may simply be because of all the festivities, less-than-ideal sleeping arrangements in crowded households, and the consumption of all that yummy food.

However, if chronic exhaustion persists long after jolly old St. Nicholas has come and gone, your body could be trying to tell you there’s something more serious at play. Something like Sleep Apnea.  

Signs Your Lack of Sleep May be More Serious Than Holiday Exhaustion
  • When You’re Sleeping, Your Partner is Not

If your partner, or even other family members sleeping down the hall  from you, complain that your persistent snoring is keeping them awake at night, you may need to evaluate the situation.

  • You Can Barely Hold Your Eyes Open During the Day

If it takes all the energy you can muster to complete even the the simplest of routine responsibilities during the day, and you find yourself trying to sneak in some shut-eye at various points in the daytime, you aren’t getting the quality sleep you need.

  • Your Level of Exhaustion Affects Your Performance, Mood, and Relationships

When you begin to feel like you just can’t catch up on sleep, it shows. If you’re exhausted, your work performance will be compromised, your mood will be affected, and all that strain and stress can begin to negatively affect the close relationships in your life.

What You Need to Know About Sleep Apnea

Doctors estimate that sleep apnea affects more than 18 million Americans. While it’s most common in men over 40, it can also affect men and women younger than that, as well as children (in rare cases). Check out what happens to your body when sleep apnea is the culprit of all that stolen sleep.

  • You stop breathing for short periods of time during the night, resulting in loud snorts or grunts when your breathing returns again.
  • If you have the most common type of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, your tongue, tonsils, and other tissues block your airway passages in the throat. This means air can’t pass through, therefore you can’t get good breaths.
  • Sleep apnea is hereditary, so if your family has a history of it, you are more likely to develop it yourself.
  • It’s impossible to know if your exhaustion is the result of sleep apnea without a proper diagnosis from your healthcare provider. If left untreated for an extended period of time, it can have detrimental effects to your health.
Small Changes You Can Make to Snag a Better Night’s Sleep

While it’s imperative you seek medical treatment for a proper diagnosis and treatment options, there are also some simple habits you can begin practicing to help reduce the effects of sleep apnea.

  • Try to shed some of those extra holiday pounds. Losing even just a few of those extra pounds will make a positive improvement in your ability to breathe better.
  • Sleep on your side. This helps to open your airways.
  • Try a mouthpiece. Talk with your dentist about the benefits of using a mouthpiece when you sleep, to align your lower jaw and tongue.

If these measures don’t work and you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, your physician may recommend a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It is one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea and it blows air into your airway while you sleep.

Schedule an Appointment

If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep and ready to take a step toward a more restful night, our caring LeBauer pulmonologists are certified to diagnose and treat sleep apnea. Pulmonologists are available in Greensboro, Burlington and High Point. To schedule your appointment, call one of these convenient locations or use our online appointment request form.

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