Sleep is an integral aspect of every one's overall health. Sleep is primarily related to brain health, your ability to remember, learn, and maintain your cognitive capacity. But poor sleep has an impact on all of your body organs and systems because the body is controlled by the brain.
“A fundamental discovery that has changed the way we think about sleep is that although it is of the brain, its effects are for the entire body and can be seen in all tissues. Thus, impairments in sleep can have broad effects on neurological, metabolic, cardiovascular, and immune health, which in turn can increase the risk for neurological disorders such as stroke, neurodegeneration, neuromuscular disease, epilepsy, and movement disorders.”
- Dr. Phyllis C. Zee
If you are proactive about your health and wellness, you're probably participating in a regular exercise routine, trying to eat a healthy and balanced diet, addressing your mental and emotional health, but have you considered how well you are sleeping?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is when something blocks part or all of your upper airway while you sleep. Your breath can become shallow, or you may even stop breathing briefly. You usually start to breathe again with a loud gasp, snort, or body jerk. You may not sleep well, but you probably won't know that it’s happening. Obstructive sleep apnea is linked to increased risk for stroke, heart attack, and dementia. It can also delay/prolong recovery from injury, disease, and illness, or contribute to the progression of degenerative diseases like Parkinson's Disease. Although these links are well established in medical literature, screening for it is rarely and poorly executed.
Some Questions to Ask Yourself (or consider about your snoring partner):
Do you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep?
Do you snore, gasp for air, or have been told you stop breathing during sleep?
Are you sleepy during the day?
Do you have these warning signs of OSA?
Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
Dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up
Headaches in the morning
Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, depression, or crankiness
Restlessness during sleep
Problems with sex, like a low sex drive
Waking up suddenly and feeling like you're gasping or choking
Trouble getting up in the mornings
Waking up often in the middle of the night to pee
High blood pressure
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
It may be time to ask your doctor about Obstructive Sleep Apnea as part of taking control of your health and being proactive about living your best life.
You Matter. Science Matters. Time Matters.