Many people have sleep apnea that goes undiagnosed for months or even years. The reason for this discrepancy is that the signs of sleep apnea are often not readily detected, and proper diagnosis can sometimes only be done through a formal sleep study performed either in a sleep clinic or at home.
Some of the most common signs of sleep apnea include daytime sleepiness and snoring. If you experience both of these symptoms with no known cause, they may be the result of sleep apnea. If you live alone, you may not realize that you snore, and it can be difficult to know that your daytime sleepiness goes above the normal levels. Many sleep apnea suffers describe this sleepiness as living in a daytime fog that rarely lifts. If you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep on a regular basis but still don’t feel rested, you may be suffering from sleep apnea.
The reason for this untested sleep is that sleep apnea suffers wake up throughout the night and often are not aware that they are doing so. Those with sleep apnea either suffer from shallow breathing or they stop breathing altogether which jolts them awake. These jolts can be so frequent but go so unnoticed that you might not realize you’ve woken up at all. However, you’re not able to get proper REM sleep when you wake up so frequently, so your body feels the effects.
Sleep apnea can also cause TMJ, and in particular teeth grinding or clenching. The reason for this is that you become so sleep deprived that your body feels stressed. Grinding and clenching can have serious adverse effects on your teeth. They can slowly wear away enamel and cause excruciating jaw pain. Additionally, grinding can keep your partner awake just as much as snoring can.
Lesser-known signs of sleep apnea include sleep paralysis and hallucinations. With sleep paralysis, your body remains catatonic even after you wake up. This can cause extreme anxiety, as you’re not able to move or get yourself fully awake. Hallucinations often happen during the waking phase of sleep, as your mind and body are working independently and not coming out of sleep as thoroughly as they should. Common hallucinations are hearing voices (often without actual words) or hearing music, both of which go away once you completely wake up.
Luckily, there are treatments for sleep apnea, such as mouthpieces, OASYS (Oral/Nasal Airway System) devices, and CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines. There is no cure for sleep apnea, but using a device to take away the shallow or uneven breathing can greatly combat daily symptoms and give you new found energy. Visit this website to learn about sleep apnea treatment in Santa Cruz.