Written by Salina Jivani
Sleep. It’s the one time you can be worry-free, right? Well, not if you’re one of the 22 million Americans who suffer from sleep apnea, a condition where you routinely stop breathing while you rest. There are two types of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea, which is the less common one, and obstructive sleep apnea, the more common type of apnea where your airways collapse. Many people who have obstructive sleep apnea may not even realize they have it, but here are three signs that could indicate you do.
You wake up needing to pee
When you stop breathing, your body applies pressure to your abdominal and diaphragm muscles in hopes that this pressure will help force open your airways again. This also causes pressure on your bladder, which can give you a sudden urge to pee. If you frequently awaken with the need to go to the bathroom, be mindful of other sleep apnea symptoms.
You awake with a pounding headache
When you stop breathing, your brain doesn’t get oxygen. Decreased levels of this necessary element can cause you to awaken with headaches. Also, lack of oxygen can cause your neck muscles to strain as they work to help open up your airway again, which can also cause those annoying post-sleep headaches.
You feel sleepy just after you wake up
Although it may feel like you got a good night’s sleep, apnea will rob your body of the rest and relaxation it needs to rejuvenate. The disruptions sleep apnea causes forces your body to work overtime throughout the night so it can make sure you don’t stop breathing in your sleep. This can lead to exhaustion during the day, causing you to feel excessively sleepy, even after a cup of coffee.
If you suffer from any or all of these symptoms, visit your doctor or a sleep clinic to get tested for sleep apnea. If left untreated, this condition can cause other, more serious conditions, like heart disease, stroke and other problems…so don’t take it lightly, and don’t wait!