If you’re plagued by restless nights due to snoring, gasping for air or a sore throat in the mornings, you may have sleep apnea. This article will help you answer the question: Do I Have Sleep Apnea, through a simple Quiz of 8 YES and NO questions.
Below each question, we’ll explain why it’s being asked and finally, at the bottom of the article, we’ll look at possible remedies or cures.
Also check out our review on the Best Mattress for Sleep Apnea
- What is Sleep Apnea
- Sleep Apnea Questionnaire
- What To Do If You Have OSA
- How To Cure Sleep Apnea On Your Own
What is Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is the dis-ease of not sleeping soundly due to chronic interruption of the air flow associated with breathing. It can be caused by things like obesity or age, making the muscles around the neck to “sag” and constrict air flow.
The risks can be quite serious and one should consult a doctor if they persist for more than a few days.
Sleep Apnea Questionnaire
• Are You a Loud Snorer?
• Are You Exhausted During the Day?
• Do You Wake Up Gasping for Air?
• Do You Suffer from High Blood Pressure?
• Are You Heavy Set?
• Are You Older than 50 Years?
• Do You Have A Large Neck? (Circumference Greater Than 16 Inches)
• Are You a Male?
If you answered Yes to more than 4 of the 8 questions, you may be experiencing sleep apnea.
Here’s why these 8 symptoms matter:
1. Are You a Loud Snorer?
When you sleep, your muscles relax. This includes the throat and tongue in the area around the tonsils and adenoids. As the air passages are constricted, the resulting turbulence creates fluttering of the walls which creates an audible snore.
2. Are You Exhausted During the Day?
The interference with your natural sleep cycle can result in a lack of sleep. With your body not recovering at night, you may feel tired or sleepy in the daytime. You may feel a complete lack of energy and think that vitamins or supplements are the answer, when in fact a good uninterrupted sleep is all the body needs.
3. Do You Wake Up Gasping for Air?
Your breathing naturally slows as you fall asleep as your body required less oxygen to function. However, if you’re running low on oxygen due to constriction of the air passages, your brain will instruct your body to produce adrenaline and “wake” you up to quickly grab some more air.
This gasping can sometimes be quite violent but may remain unnoticed in less severe cases. Either way, your sleep cycle is disturbed and may need to reset each time.
Furthermore, the panic caused by the abrupt transition from sleep to gasping for air creates not only physiological concerns but psychological too! It takes a massive toll on your state of mind and needs to be resolved as quickly as possible.
4. Do You Suffer from High Blood Pressure?
This is more a symptom than a cause. Your overall health can be greatly affected by lack of sleep and high blood pressure os one of the tell-tale signs of deteriorating health.
It’s also closely associated with being overweight, which is another contributing factor.
Unfortunately, all this creates a declining cycle of health since the high blood pressure will, in turn, impede the body’s ability to break down fats and sugars.
5. Are You Overweight?
As described in the previous question, being overweight is a large factor connected with sleep apnea.
Another reason why it’s such a key contributor is that the area around your neck will become heavier than what your resting throat muscles, which are needed to keep open the air passages.
As the muscles sag under the weight, your airways will be restricted resulting in excessive snoring and gasping.
6. Do You Have A Large Neck?
Your neck may be naturally large which has the same impact as above. Even though you’re not (what would commonly be referred to as) overweight, you may carry a disproportionate amount of weight in your neck area. Once again, this additional weight causes excessive strain on the muscles dedicated to keeping your throat open and you breathing freely.
You can take a tape measure and see if your neck circumference exceeds 16 inches in which case it would be considered larger than normal.
Unfortunately, there aren’t very many exercises you can do to reduce weight around your neck. You’ll need to focus on diet and exercise as the only real remedies.
7. Are You Older than 50 Years?
Age is one of the “unpreventable” causes of sleep apnea. It is natural to lose muscle tone as you get older and this includes the muscles needed to prevent sleep apnea.
If you are over 50, it doesn’t mean by default that you have the disease… What it means is that if you’re experiencing many of the related symptoms, that given your age, the condition is very likely.
8. Are You a Male?
For physiological reasons, men have suffered from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) much more than women. In fact, according to a 2013 study, if you’re a male, you’re chances of being diagnosed are twice as high. (This could also be due to the fact that women will often describe their symptoms differently resulting in a misdiagnosis. Depression and anxiety are often mistaken for OSA.)
What To Do If You Have OSA
Due to the variety of factors that play a role in diagnosis, it is suggested that your first step would be to consult with a doctor.
You may just save hundreds of Dollars in gadgets and essential oils to find out that the problem is actually medical.
How To Cure Sleep Apnea On Your Own
If you’ve consulted with a doctor or don’t feel that the symptoms are bad enough to do so, you can try some of the following.
Sleeping on Your Side
Due to the bulk of the weight coming from the from the front, you can drastically reduce the pressure by turning on your side. Some people go so far as to sew a tennis ball into the back of their sleep shirt which helps remind them to sleep on their side at night.
This solution might seem simple but it would be one of the first options to try.
Humidifier and Essential Oils
Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Thyme and Chamomile are great essential oils with varying properties which helps unblock airways. You could simply place a few drops on a tissue next to your bed or burn essential oil candles before bedtime. Another way to benefit from the oils is to add a few drops to a humidifier which runs during the night.
A slightly more drastic form of device is the CPAP machine. It stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and effectively drives a light stream of air into your throat while you sleep.
This helps you retain the correct oxygen levels even if some restriction occurs.
Here’s a helpful video with natural treatment options.