In recent years, we have become increasingly aware of the vital role sleep plays in daily life and our general feeling of well-being. There are so many factors that influence whether or not we get a good night’s sleep.
Hw much sleep is enough for you? Insufficient sleep is common in today’s modern society. Busy lifestyles and technology exposure can negatively impact our sleep patterns and habits resulting in inadequate nightly sleep hours.
Our sleep can also become fragmented for a number of other reasons.
Sleep fragmentation results in overall decreased quantity and quality of sleep. This in turn will impact how we perform on the job, at home and during our waking hours.
One condition that can cause fragmented sleep is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (“OSA”).
OSA is a chronic medical condition characterized by recurrent episodes of shallow or sometimes complete cessation of breathing during sleep. This is caused by the upper airway in the body becoming obstructed.
Obstruction of the upper airway results in the blockage of airflow and oxygen, these are vital to life. This in turn causes recurrent periods of awakening (body arousal) throughout the night, resulting in sleep fragmentation and tiredness upon awakening. We may not even be aware of these periods of awakening during our sleeping hours!
– Low blood oxygen saturation levels, that is low oxygen levels during sleep time.
– Loud snoring;
– Irregular breathing patterns during sleep;
– Daytime fatigue and tiredness upon awakening;
– A morning headache;
– Daytime sleepiness and unintended periods of drowsiness;
– Difficulty completing tasks;
– Poor concentration;
– Decreased memory and retention;
– Irritability, and
These symptoms can negatively impact performance and individual function capacity.
Additionally, some individuals with untreated OSA become at risk for accidents both on the job and on the road.
Unfortunately untreated OSA also puts us at risk for medical conditions such as:
stroke, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, irregular heart rhythms and congestive heart failure.
Inadequate control of these underlying medical conditions will affect your health, quality of life and professional performance.
Risk Factors For OSA
Risk factors for OSA include post-menopausal women and women older than forty (40) years;
Overweight adults with an OSA family history;
People with certain physiological features such as facial/upper airway indicators for example large tonsils, a large neck, or large tongue, a deviated nasal septum or a small jaw.
Further, women are at increased risk of developing OSA during specific periods of life. Post menopausal women have an increased prevalence of OSA. This may be a secondary factor to decreasing progesterone levels.
There is also an increased risk of OSA during pregnancy. Factors contributing to OSA during pregnancy include hormonal changes, increased neck circumference due to weight gain, swelling within the pharyngeal region, and elevation of the diaphragm due to an enlarged uterus.
It is therefore really important to seek help from your medical provider if you, or your partner become concerned by any of the described symptoms. If you are overweight, significant weight reduction can sometimes helps to minimize the condition.
Finally, OSA when diagnosed is treatable. Treatment from your medical provider is important for long term success and an improved quality of life.
This article was contributed to GirlsLovePowerTools by Suzette Panton MD. Dr. Panton is Board Certified in Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. She is mom to 3 outstanding sons, ages 21, 19, and 12. Dr. P is a high performance professional. Click here to get your free Blueprint that will help you Build Your Business for Enterprise.