A great night’s sleep is as good as it gets if you sleep like a baby. A great night’s sleep is a truly restful and fulfilling experience. As you lie in bed in a deep sleep, there is little movement; your heart rate and blood pressure both fall and become stable, and the electrical activity in your brain shows a slowing of regular activity. What is this mysterious state that can leave us vital, creative, competent, and calm, and whose absence can cause us to slur and stumble, to fly into states of emotional instability, to make simple mistakes that may have disastrous consequences? Considering the universal importance of sleep to psychosocial behavior, to our ability to learn and solve problems, and to every aspect of our physiological well being, it is amazing that so few resources are devoted to understanding the nature of this phenomenon.

Sleep Apnea is not simply a different kind of snoring. Apnea comes from the Greek word apnoia, meaning without breathe, and is the term used to describe repetitive episodes of inability to breathe during sleep. Symptoms include snoring, awakenings caused by gasping for breathe, and excessive daytime fatigue. You may not even realize that you have these symptoms unless there is someone in the bedroom who complains about your snoring, gasping, or thrashing around in your sleep. Your daytime drowsiness may have become worse with out you knowing what was happening. Having one or more of these symptoms does not mean you have sleep apnea. There are two types, obstructive sleep apnea caused by an obstruction in the upper airway and central sleep apnea caused by the brain’s failure to initiate respiration during sleep. Mixed apnea combines obstructive sleep apnea with central sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea needs to be diagnosed in a sleep clinic. Sleep Apnea is a significant sleep disorder, and those who are diagnosed with it are observed to have more than five to ten sleep apnea episodes an hour, each lasting longer than twenty seconds. This syndrome puts you at risk for other diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, and stroke, and should be treated by a physician. If you have sleep apnea, do not take sleeping medicine or sedatives. These chemicals will increase the relaxation in the tissue of the upper airway and make the obstruction worse. Treatments for apnea include surgery, weight loss, dental appliances, and the use of airway pressure devices known as CPAP and BPAP. These devices blow air into your nose keeping your air passage open. The long term effects of untreated sleep apneas can be very harmful.