Sleep apnea is abnormal breathing during sleep. You can be diagnosed with either central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, or both. Central sleep apnea is a disorder in which your breathing stops and starts at different times during sleep. Central sleep apnea can occur when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing. This is different from obstructive sleep apnea in which OSA is caused by an obstruction in the upper airway.

You should be evaluated for sleep apnea if you experience any of the following-

  • Observed episodes of abnormal breathing during sleep
  • Waking up gasping for air
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Mood changes
  • Headaches
  • Snoring

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you could be suffering from sleep apnea. A sleep specialist should be consulted to determine the best course of action. And who knows, your best nights sleep could be yet to come!

Author Gwen Warling, RRT

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