We spend a large portion of our lives sleeping. We spend about 25-35% of our lives resting, and this allows our bodies to do many vital processes during sleep. Studies show that 1 in 5 adults suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is reported to be more common in men than women. It is more common in older adults (40+) than younger adults or children.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important not only to your everyday life, but also for your sleep. Certain factors can contribute to developing sleep apnea, such as:
- Obesity – excess weight is often the main cause associated with sleep apnea.
- Smoking – increases upper airway swelling, making snoring worse and breathing more difficult.
- Drinking alcohol – causes upper airway muscles to relax, making it harder to breathe and therefore sleep soundly.
- Use of sedatives – hinders the ability to awaken from sleep, which can lengthen the periods of no breathing in sleep apnea patients. Long periods without oxygen to the brain can result in significant damage or even death.
Some physical attributes may also be a factor in developing the condition:
- Small upper airway or other abnormality
- Large tonsils, tongue, or uvula
- Having a small jaw or recessed chin
- Presence of a large overbite
- A large neck (greater than 17 inches in men, and 16 inches in women)
A family history of sleep apnea can also increase your chances of developing the sleeping disorder. Obesity and certain physical features are inherited traits that increase the risk for sleep apnea.
If you are having trouble sleeping, snoring loudly, tired during the day or experiencing other symptoms of sleep apnea, call our office for more information about our successful sleep apnea treatments. We want to help you improve your sleep and quality of life.