Affects Your Brain and Body
You might be tempted to think, “Oh, I just didn’t get enough sleep last night,” when you first start experiencing sleep apnea symptoms. But as time goes on, the lack of and fragmented ‘sleep’ you get each night will become unbearable during the day. Your quality of life will diminish, and you could start to experience negative emotional symptoms.
Fragmented sleep affects your brain and body in ways you likely haven’t thought about. During sleep, your body and brain perform essential functions to get you ready to perform at an optimal level the next day.
Your brain stores memories, categorizes information, and rids itself of toxic chemicals that build up from brain function throughout the day. Without enough time in each stage of sleep, your brain can’t perform these functions, and you’ll start to experience mood disturbances, memory fogginess, difficulty concentrating, and more costly effects such as early-onset dementia.
Your body has important functions too. While you sleep, it works to repair cells and restore your energy by releasing hormones and proteins. Without this, you’ll wake up tired and void of energy.
Sleep apnea can be hard to diagnose because it occurs while asleep. However, during the day, you may notice several sleep apnea symptoms, such as:
- Sleepiness: People with sleep apnea experience extreme daytime sleepiness. Think of daytime sleepiness as falling asleep at work, consistently in the middle of the day, or while operating machinery or a vehicle.
- Waking up short of breath: Ask yourself; “do I wake up in the middle of sleep gasping for air or short of breath?”
- Morning headaches: Sleep apnea headaches are usually brief, lasting only 30 minutes to an hour. A study showed that 29% of participants had morning headaches linked to sleep apnea.
- Dry mouth on waking: People with obstructive sleep apnea can wake up with a dry mouth because they breathe with their mouth open while sleeping. Do you wake up in the night with a dry mouth?
- Tendency to fall asleep during work or while driving: Falling asleep at the wheel is dangerous! This is a symptom of daytime sleepiness caused by sleep apnea.
- Waking up unrested: It’s common for people to feel their alarm goes off too early, but do you have a hard time waking after you’ve gotten out of bed? The feeling of being unrested lingers throughout the day for those with sleep apnea.
- Moodiness or irritability: Are you moody and irritable every day and can’t figure out why? The lack of sleep can interfere with your brain function and cause emotional distress.
- Sadness: Sadness is another common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea in Detroit and nationwide.
- Memory problems: Your brain stores memories during sleep; when you aren’t asleep long enough, you’ll experience memory issues.
- Concentration difficulties: Do you have difficulty concentrating on simple tasks? This could be a sign that you are only getting fragmented sleep.
- Weight gain or inability to lose weight: It’s hard to lose weight when you’re too tired to work out or focus on healthy eating. Many people with sleep apnea end up gaining weight.
Sleep Apnea and TMJ Link
About half of obstructive sleep apnea sufferers have TMJ, and all are prone to developing TMJ. At the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness, our interdisciplinary training and thorough approach ensure that every patient under our care receives therapeutic treatments that promote your whole body’s health.
Find Sleep Apnea Symptom Relief in Detroit
While reading this, did you find yourself counting your sleep apnea symptoms? If so, call (248) 480-0085 or make an appointment online. Dr. Jeffrey Haddad is a neuromuscular dentist who can help you get better sleep and relieve your symptoms while promoting whole health.