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Apnea: How dangerous it is to stop breathing at night

Are you tired and in a bad mood despite getting enough sleep?It could be nocturnal apnea. What do you know about sleep apnea, and what help can you read about it here.

Do you sometimes get air in your bedroom? No,  it’s not with your partner’s romantic time. Instead, you could be one of the 5 percent of women who can’t breathe properly at night, suffer from what’s called sleep apnea, and go unnoticed.

This leads to fatigue or irritability during the day, which is often misinterpreted as depression in women.
Sleep doctors explain how to see breathing disorders.

What is sleep apnea?

The word “Pause Atme” means “not breathing,” so sleep apnea means that during sleep, your breathing stops.
After a few seconds, you won’t get any air until you wake up, breathe, and go back to sleep.
In the morning, you don’t remember a thing.

This is in some cases no worse than stopping the air for a few seconds during the day.

Why does my breathing stop sometimes?

“During sleep, especially during the dream phase, all the muscles of the body are relaxed,” Schneider explains. This also includes the mouth and chin in the area called the mouth.
In some people, these muscles relax so much that they “drop” into the airways and narrow the airways. Now breathe, the muscles start to vibrate and make the typical snoring noise.

“However, in some muscles become so sloppy that no air passes through them,” says the sleep researcher. Then the airway gets completely blocked and you don’t get any more air. This takes 20 to 40 seconds on average, but can last up to three minutes. These respiratory arrests occur about 60 times an hour during the night, but are most common in the morning. This is the deepest stage of sleep in which dreams will be dreamed.

Who tends to breathless at night?

Twice as many men as women suffer from nocturnal breathing difficulties. Not necessarily because they snore more, but because they store fat differently. While in women the bacon rolls are more likely to sit on the hips, buttocks and legs, men increase especially on the abdomen. “The abdominal fat promotes the sagging of the muscles of the respiratory tract in addition to the genetic condition,” explains Schneider. People who are overweight are therefore more likely to snore than slim people.

The jaw shape also decides whether you get enough air at night. “Some people have a lower jaw that is too small, which can also block the airways,” he said. “This can be innate or due to the fact that in childhood you had long enlarged tonsils and breathed a lot through your mouth.”

What happens in the event of a respiratory arrest?

Sleep apnea does not allow air to enter the lungs due to sagging muscles, but your body protects you from suffocating. If breathing is too long, you will be scared out of sleep. You then wake up with a pounding heart and wrestle for air. After a few seconds, however, you calm down again and sleep.

If the airways are only partially blocked, you are more likely to breathe more vigorously and snore. “Through the effort, however, sufferers are too active in their sleep and are sometimes awakened by their own snoring. Many therefore only manage to sleep half at night,” explains Schneider. The best tips for a better sleep.

Why is sleep apnea dangerous?

Whether you snore or can’t breathe again and again, you’ll suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. In both cases, you may be woken up every few minutes throughout the night without reminding yourself later. So you never get into a deep sleep, you have too much effort and stress due to your breathing problem. In the long term, this can cause serious problems in everyday life.

7 Useful Tips to Sleep Well

The 7 Dangers of Nocturnal Respiratory Stops

Not only is it that you feel like you’re being wheeled in the morning, sleep apnea can also cause other ailments:

1. You are constantly hungry:

The brain needs deep sleep recovery to recharge its reserves. “But if it can’t, it thinks that the whole body lacks energy,” says the doctor, “the next day this ‘hungry brain’ wants to make sure that you have enough energy for the next night.” The result: cravings for unhealthy things, which quickly becomes noticeable on the scales.

2. Your blood pressure is too high

In order to get air again after a breath erupt, you are always a bit frightened and the heart pumps vigorously. “If this happens again and again at night, blood pressure also rises during the day, which in turn increases the risk of suffering a heart attack,” schneider warns.

3. You will get sick more often:

If you don’t sleep enough, your immune system will also suffer. If you are chronically tired, you also catch infections more often. Especially during the cold season, it is therefore important that you get enough sleep.

4. Complications may occur during pregnancy

Especially in expectant mothers, night breathing is a tricky thing: because belly fat causes the muscles of the airways to sag, almost all women snore in the last 3 months of pregnancy. On the other hand, however, it is especially important for the unborn child to have enough oxygen. The mother has only a very light sleep and is thus even more frightened.
All of this further enhances the above symptoms and increases the risk of gestational diabetes or gestational hypertension, i.e. increased blood pressure. The child can also develop worse due to poor sleep.

5. Your relationship suffers

If you’re lying next to a human sawmill every night, you’ll get as little sleep as the snoring person himself. If both partners are constantly tired in a relationship, and one still wants the other to snore at night, this can strain the relationship. Even in people with sleep apnea, the affected person is irritable and often grumpy due to the lack of sleep, so dispute is programmed.

6. You have problems mastering everyday life

“If you can never really recover, you will eventually lack the mental resilience to cope with everyday life,” says Schneider. After just a single night of sleep, you can realize that you can concentrate worse, become irritable and feel stressed faster. When this becomes a permanent state, small challenges become more and more problems, which quickly grow over your head.

7. You feel depressed

Those who feel constantly tired and overwhelmed are often irritated and in a bad mood. This can go so far in the long run that you suffer from mood swings due to chronic sleep deprivation or are permanently depressed and stressed. “Especially in women, psychologists misinterpret these symptoms as depression or burnout. The cause lies elsewhere,” explains Schneider. These are the best treatments for depression.

Woran erkenne ich, ob ich unter Schlafapnoe leide?

“Schnarchen und Schlafapnoe sind eine sehr ernste Sache, die das Leben ernsthaft beeinträchtigen können”, betont Schneider. Wenn du eigentlich genug schläfst und trotzdem ständig grundlos müde bist, kann es sein, dass du nicht gut schläfst. Um zu erkennen, ob das an deiner Atmung liegt, rät der Schlafmediziner, auf folgende Zeichen zu achten:

1. Du wachst mit einem trockenen Mund auf. Im Optimalfall atmen wir nachts vor allem durch die Nase. Beim Schnarchen und bei der Schlafapnoe muss der Körper aber mehr Kraft aufwenden und atmet deshalb verstärkt durch den Mund. “Dadurch trocknen die Schleimhäute aus, was man morgens durch ein unangenehmes Gefühl auf der Zunge oder im Rachen bemerkt”, erklärt Schneider.

2. Du hast nachts oder morgens Kopfschmerzen. “Durch die gestörte Atmung kommt zu wenig Sauerstoff und stattdessen zu viel Kohlendioxid ins Blut“, so der Schlafmediziner. Das führt zu morgendlichen Kopfschmerzen. Mit diesen 10 Tipps kommst du morgens besser aus dem Bett.

3. Du musst nachts ständig aufs Klo. Wenn du jung und nicht schwanger bist und abends nicht zu viel trinkst, solltest du eigentlich nicht nachts auf die Toilette müssen. Passiert das aber regelmäßig, kann es sein, dass du im Schlaf nicht richtig atmest. “Die höhere Anstrengung beim Atmen führt zu einem Druck auf das Herz. Das registriert das als ‘zu viel Flüssigkeit im Körper’ und löst Harndrang aus”, erklärt der Schlafmediziner.

4. Du schreckst in der Nacht auf. Meistens erinnerst du dich nicht an diese kurzen wachen Momente. Wenn du dich morgens aber daran erinnerst, irgendwann nachts atemlos aufgewacht zu sein, ist das ein deutlicher Hinweis darauf, dass du vorher keine Luft bekommen hast.

5. Du hörst es von anderen. Du teilst das Bett mit deinem Partner? Dann frage ihn am besten, ob er dich nachts schnarchen oder keuchen hört, und dass er darauf ein paar Nächte lang achten soll. “Allerdings kommen selten Frauen zu uns, weil die Männer sie darauf aufmerksam gemacht haben. Meistens ist es andersherum”, sagt Schneider.

Wenn du deshalb auf Nummer sicher gehen willst oder das Bett meistens für dich allein hast, kannst du dich auch selbst mit dem Handy aufnehmen. “Es gibt inzwischen auch immer mehr Geräte, die nachts die Atmung, den Puls und die Sauerstoffaufnahme messen, ohne dafür ins Labor zu müssen”, so der Experte. Sprich deine Hausärztin darauf an, sie kann dir dabei helfen.

What can I do about sleep apnea?

It is best to tackle the problem on two fronts: “First, those affected have to get rid of fatigue in the short term and sleep well again. At the same time, we are trying to eliminate the cause of the problem in the long term so that sleep quality improves permanently,” explains Schneider. So if you suffer from snoring or sleep apnea, the sleep physician advises you to do the following:

  • Go to the doctor! Only an expert can best tell you what exactly is the reason for your disturbed breathing. You can then work out together how you want to deal with the problem.
  • Wear a mask or brace at night! “There are various aids that keep the trachea open at night and support breathing,” Schneider says. These can be, for example, rails that you wear in your mouth that open your jaw, or masks that you put on your face. It takes about 1 to 2 weeks to get used to it.
  • Lie on the side at night! “In the back position, the breathing problems are the worst because the sagging muscles fall backwards into the airways,” explains the sleep physician. Therefore, try to get used to a lateral position for sleeping. For this, for example, there are special side sleeper pillows, or you cuddle again at night with your partner in spoon position.
  • Lie on the side at night! “In the back position, the breathing problems are the worst because the sagging muscles fall backwards into the airways,” explains the sleep physician. Therefore, try to get used to a lateral position for sleeping. For this, for example, there are special side sleeper pillows, or you cuddle again at night with your partner in spoon position.
  • Pay attention to your weight! Especially the fat on the abdomen promotes snoring and respiratory failure, which is why overweight people snore more often. Ask your GP if your weight can be a cause of your problem. In this case, you can plan together how to lose weight the healthiest to sleep better.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep! “Women in particular often get too little sleep because of multiple stress in everyday life,” explains the sleep physician. If you still breathe badly at night, it makes the fatigue worse. So use the other tips not only to make you breathe better at night in the long run, but also to make sure you sleep long enough.
  • Think about an operation! If all previous tips don’t help, an op may help you. Especially in younger years, misalignments of the jaw or nose, but also the tonsils can heal well afterwards.

Good sleep is essential for a healthy life. Because only those who can really relax at night are fit for the day. Therefore, take your nocturnal breathing problems and possible dangers of sleep apnea seriously and treat them consistently, then you are prepared against the stressful everyday life.

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