Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing for several seconds, multiple times while sleeping. Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Choking or gasping noises while sleeping
- Frequent morning headaches
- Waking without feeling rested
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is very important that you undergo a sleeping test to determine if apnea is present. Left untreated, the condition increases risks for hypertension, heart attack and stroke, along with a range of emotional and psychological issues including depression and anxiety.
Sleep Apnea and the Weather
Recent studies have found that sleep apnea may get worse as the weather cools. As it gets colder, humidity decreases and the air becomes drier, issues that can make sleep apnea symptoms become more frequent and pronounced. These problems can be exacerbated by indoor heating systems and fireplaces, the latter of which may also introduce smoke particulate and further diminish air quality. If you suffer from sleep apnea, it is important to take steps that minimize your risk of stimulating a severe response to the cool and dry air.
Sleeping with a humidifier may help to reduce some of the issues caused by the fall and winter air in Calgary. Individual humidifiers can be used in bedrooms and throughout the house, or a whole-house humidifier can be added to some heating systems. A combination of these options may be most effective for people who struggle with more severe sleep apnea symptoms. Improving moisture alone, however, may not fully resolve the problem.
Treating Sleep Apnea
The two most common treatments for sleep apnea are:
- CPAP. This is a device that provides a continuous flow of oxygen while you sleep to help ensure smooth and even breathing
- Snore Guard. While specifically designed for people who snore, a snore guard can help keep airways unobstructed and allow proper airflow while sleeping
Which option will be most effective for your needs depends on the type of sleep apnea you have and various other factors unique to your situation. Having an experienced sleep specialist diagnose and evaluate your condition will help you choose which option is best.
If you struggle with snoring or believe you may have sleep apnea, call Evolution Dental at 403-208-9965 to schedule an evaluation. Located in Calgary, we welcome patients from all nearby areas of Alberta.