Snoring isn’t just annoying AF for whoever shares your bed, it could also be a sign that you’re suffering from sleep apnoea, a common health disorder that inhibits breathing and seriously interrupts sleep.
So don’t ignore the snore, and keep reading to find out all about sleep apnoea, its causes and what you can do about it.
What is sleep apnoea?
The common condition, which affects over 1.5million Brits, can be broken down into two types: apnoea and hypopnoea. The first is when the muscles and soft tissue in the throat become so relaxed that they cause a total blockage of the airway. It’s classified as apnoea when the airflow is blocked for 10 seconds or more.
Hypopnoea, on the other hand, is a partial blockage of the airway, preventing at least 50 per cent of normal airflow for 10 seconds or more.
People with severe apnoea can experience these blockages multiple times throughout the night (sometimes as often as every two minutes!).
What happens during sleep apnoea?
The most common form of sleep apnoea is when the muscles in the throat excessively relax, as detailed above, which is known as obstructive sleep apnoea.
Central sleep apnoea, however, occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing, while some people experience complex sleep apnoea syndrome – which means that they experience both obstructive sleep apnoea and central sleep apnoea.
What are the symptoms?
Although it doesn’t mean you definitely have sleep apnoea, snoring is the main symptom of the condition, so if you’re a snorer, ask your doctor to investigate the cause.
You may also make gasping noises in the night, as if you’re struggling for air, or noticeably stop breathing for periods of time – something that would be noticed by a partner sharing the bed with you. Other symptoms include waking up with a dry mouth, a morning headache or of course, feeling very tired during the daytime.