How do I KNOW if I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Many times people are told that there is "something wrong" with their sleep. A friend or partner shares the room with you for a night's slumber and they notice things about your sleep such as you stop breathing in your sleep or you don't let them get any sleep because you are snoring so loud and/or constantly!!! These are obvious signs that you need help.
There are several key indicators and symptoms of OSA: (These are not in any sort of order of severity. EACH ONE can be tied to OSA and should be considered.)
Stop Breathing - while you are asleep. OSA is when your airway becomes fully or partially restricted for 10 seconds or more. Fully restricted is what's called an apnea and partially restricted is what's called a hypopnea.
Snoring - With OSA, when your airway is becoming restricted on inhale and/or exhale your airway is collapsing on itself. As the air is trying to move in/out but meeting the resistance it causes the vibrations and the snoring sounds.
Large Neck - People with a neck size of 17 or greater are much more likely to have OSA. This is not necessarily related to obesity. It could be genetic. It could be an athlete or weight lifter who has built up that muscle area. These are patients who are more likely to have OSA.
Obesity - There are plenty of obese individuals that do not have OSA; however, obesity is a key indicator of OSA. As we gain weight, part of that weight usually shows up in the areas neighboring our airway.
Wake Up Tired - We should wake up alert and rested and ready to conquer the day without the need for any supplements or self-medication like coffee or energy drinks. If you wake up tired after a full night's sleep, that's a key indicator that something is wrong.
Fatigue Throughout the Day - A good night's rest should provide us the energy we need to make it through the day. Of course, if we eat a huge lunch we can feel lethargic afterwards, but if you get up and feel like you need a nap shortly thereafter, or all throughout the day, then it is another key indicator you have OSA.
Insomnia - While this may seem counter-intuitive (especially after the two points just above), insomnia can actually be a symptom of OSA. With either the difficulty to go to sleep at night and/or going to sleep for only a few hours and then waking up and being unable to go back to sleep! If you are taking prescriptions medicine for insomnia already AND have never done an at-home insomnia test OR an at-home sleep test then you should definitely talk to your doctor about getting those done.
So how do you KNOW if you have OSA? Well, the only way to know for certain is with a sleep test - either in a lab or at home. Any and all of the above reasons are good enough to talk to your doctor about getting tested. If that is your need, we'd love to help you out at Fantastic Sleep.