The most common symptoms that lead a person to a doctor are sleepiness during the day, anxious sleep at night and snoring. Sometimes it turns out that excessive sleepiness during the day is associated with insomnia due to frequent nighttime awakenings, which occur at the end of attacks of breathing problems during sleep.
There are several signs by which you can find out whether there are such sleep disorders that require a visit to a doctor:
– relatives say that you stop breathing in a dream;
– you snore at night;
– there is fatigue and tiredness in the morning, although you think you slept well at night;
– headache appears regularly after waking up; – you have reduced memory and attention; – Daytime sleepiness appears at the wrong time.
Apnea – in translation from Greek – “lack of breath.” For the first time such a state was described in the late 80s of the XIX century, and now it is recognized as a serious problem and is being actively studied.
A person who suffers from apnea stops breathing in his sleep and wakes up to breathe in again. Then breathes and falls asleep again. But, having ceased to breathe once again, it awakens again. This cycle continues throughout the night. As a result, sleep becomes intermittent and defective, the patient complains of insomnia. Every night, sleep disorders deplete strength, and finally, during the day, drowsiness and fatigue appear, with which you have to go to the doctor.
The diagnosis of respiratory failure in a dream is made when apnea lasts at least 10 seconds and occurs at least 5 times in one hour of sleep. The causes of this suffering are varied. The most common type of apnea is obstructive , that is, a blocking attack. By its mechanism, it is similar to snoring and often accompanies it. In this case, the muscles of the respiratory tract relax, leading to partial or complete blockage. This may be caused by flaccidity (in the elderly) or excessive laryngeal tissue, large uvula, fatty deposits at the base of the tongue, or compression of the laryngeal walls. And as the air passes through the nose, the blockage of the nasal passages, the curvature of the nasal septum, polyps, enlarged tonsils, allergies, colds give obstruction of the respiratory tract with respiratory failure and snoring.
A typical patient with obstructive sleep apnea is a middle-aged man with overweight or narrow airways due to reduced muscle tone of the soft palate, enlarged tonsils or adenoids and an elongated soft palate.
A less common type of apnea is central , when the respiratory centers of the brain are not sufficiently stimulated by motor neurons that control inspiration. In this case, the airways are free, but there is no breath. Usually, this type of apnea causes heart and nerve diseases, although more often the cause is not clear.
The combination of obstructive and central disturbances is mixed sleep apnea. In this case, an apnea begins with a central component (lack of a nervous stimulus for breathing). Then, when breathing is restored and the diaphragm is already working, the airways are closed and the air does not pass. All this disrupts sleep at night and state of health during the day.
Some somatic and nervous diseases can also cause breathing problems during sleep. These include: angina pectoris, hypertension, dry mouth, excessive movement of the limbs during the night, enuresis, personality changes, paralysis of the soft palate and others.
Breathing in a dream is often accompanied by snoring.
Snoring (snoring) is the result of a partial narrowing of the airways caused by many factors, such as reduced muscle tone, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, an elongated soft palate. Snoring is often combined with breath holding. With strokes, coronary diseases, overweight people, with age, and sometimes for no apparent reason, snoring appears, which is not always accompanied by apnea.
Approximately 25% of men and 15% of women are just habitual snorers. Being overweight, which is 8–12 kg more than normal, can lead to snoring, because the adipose tissue seen from the outside also exists inside, which makes the airways narrower.
Apnea and snoring themselves do not go away, but they can be treated. Since both of these disorders go hand in hand, the methods of dealing with them are the same. Apnea and snoring are accompanied by insomnia, which is why when you visit the doctor, the patient focuses on its effects: daytime sleepiness, fatigue, decreased performance and asks for a sleep. When questioning can figure out that the cause of poor sleep is snoring or apnea.
It is especially important to remember that the use of hypnotics without the supervision of a doctor is very dangerous in case of breathing problems in a dream . This is due to the fact that hypnotics are respiratory depressants and inhibit the respiratory center, making it difficult to inhale. The drugs will prolong the apnea attack, increase their number and delay the awakening in order to inhale the air. Thus, under the action of sleeping pills at the right time a person can not wake up and even suffocate.
Alcohol also depresses respiration and increases snoring along with some painkillers, so it is not recommended to use it as a means of improving sleep.
If overweight is one of the factors for snoring and apnea, then measures should be taken to reduce it.
Light attacks of sleep apnea and snoring can be alleviated by changing the position of the body, since sleep on the back increases them due to the collapse of the soft palate and blockage of the respiratory tract. If it is inconvenient to sleep on your side, it is advised to sew a pocket on the back of a T-shirt or pajamas, to put a tennis ball in it. Sleeping with the ball under your back will be very uncomfortable, when waking up, you will have to lie down correctly – on the side so as not to snore and breathe better.
Sleep apnea syndrome is dangerous in the development of stable arterial and pulmonary hypertension, heart rhythm disturbances and congestive heart failure. It increases the risk of myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accident and sudden cardiac death in sleep.