If you wake up exhausted after what you thought was a decent night’s sleep, you may have a common medical condition called Sleep Apnea. When left untreated, sleep apnea can eventually cause some serious health conditions, especially heart ailments.
Some people go years without ever being diagnosed with sleep apnea until the condition starts to adversely affect their lives. They may feel like they just got up on the wrong side of the bed, they feel dysfunctional at work, or they may start having memory problems.
If you’ve been told you snore atrociously loud and seem to stop breathing and then gasping for air several times during the night, it’s best to talk to your doctor about having a sleep study to rule out or confirm sleep apnea. This is a condition that easily treated and something that no one should take lightly.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Two of the most common indications of the condition are excessively loud snoring combined with what sounds like the person is choking in the middle of the night. They actually quit breathing for a few seconds several, if not hundreds of times during the night, then choke, and gasp for breath.
There are Two Primary Causes of Sleep Apnea
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA occurs when soft tissue at the back of the throat blocks the airways and the person stops breathing.
- Central Sleep Apnea occurs when the respiratory control center in the brain is impaired and the brain actually forgets to signal the muscles to breathe.
The result with either type of apnea is that your brain, in fact, your entire body, is lacking in oxygen and can cause other medical conditions if left untreated.
Main Medical Treatments of Sleep Apnea
Some doctors may recommend surgery to remove some of the soft tissue so it won’t block the airways. Other doctors simply recommend one of two machines: a CPAP (continues positive airway pressure) or BiPAP (bilevel positive airway pressure). The air pressure keeps the throat open so the soft tissue won’t cause an obstruction.
These are both non-invasive popular treatments that do not require surgery. Other suggestions your doctor may make is to change your sleeping position or even buy a new mattress.
The Best Bed for Sleep Apnea Patients
It’s important that sleep apnea patients maintain proper support of their hips, shoulders, and neck to reduce the number of apneas that occur during the night. The best bed for sleep apnea patients, then, is one that offers the following features:
1. Firm Support for the Body
The best bed for sleep apnea should have enough firmness so you don’t sink into the bed, yet will provide ample cushion for your hips and shoulders.
2. Appropriate Head Support
Sleep apnea patients require adequate head support to reduce or even prevent any airway blockages. The right pillow or pillows will raise your head enough to keep the airways open.
3. Sleeping Position
It’s often suggested that apnea patients sleep on their stomach or side to alleviate the airway blockages. If the patient uses a CPAP mask that connects to the machine, side sleeping may be the most comfortable for dealing with the hose.
The optimal bed provides the proper support to allow the patient to get accustomed to the hose and mask, and switch positions comfortably so as not to disrupt sleep and allow for unobstructed breathing.
4. Optional Addition of Technology
Getting the correct bed may involve adding an adjustable base to your bed, which allows you to elevate your upper body to a position that prevents excessive snoring and airway blockages.
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