Tired in the Morning? It Could Be Sleep Apnea

Tired in the Morning? It Could Be Sleep Apnea

When you’re asleep, your body is hard at work. Yes, that’s right: You’re not lazy when you’re snuggled up in bed. You’re actively clearing out toxins and degraded proteins from your cells, rebuilding damaged cells, and restoring your body from head to toe.

However, the end result from all of that effort shouldn’t feel like effort. In fact, when you awaken in the morning, you should feel restored and energized. After all, that’s what your body was working on all night long: restoring and energizing you.

If you wake up in the morning feeling tired, that’s a sign that something has gone wrong. The “rest” you got wasn’t restful. It wasn’t restorative.

While there could be many reasons why you’re not sleeping well, one of the most common is a sleep breathing disorder called sleep apnea. When you have sleep apnea, you literally stop breathing for 10 seconds or more at a time. Sometimes up to a minute at a time. Sometimes hundreds of times — or more — a night.

Kimberly Bolling, MD, an experienced internist in Bowie, Maryland, is a specialist in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. Are you one of the 18 million women and men in the United States who have sleep apnea? The following questions may hold your answer.

Do you wake yourself (or a partner) with your snoring?

One of the hallmarks of sleep apnea is snoring. When you have the most common form of sleep apnea — obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) — some part of your anatomy obstructs the clear and easy flow of air in and out of your lungs while you breathe.

You may have a heavy or fat neck, large tonsils, or a recessed jaw. You may also have a deviation in your septum — the bone and cartilage that run straight down the center of your nose — that obstructs the flow of air through one nostril.

When your airway is constricted or obstructed, you snore. You may even snore so loudly that you wake yourself up. If the obstruction is severe, you may wake up gagging and choking for breath.

Do you fall asleep or feel drowsy during the day?

If you wake up multiple times during the night due to sleep apnea — even if the awakenings are so brief that you’re not aware of them — your body tries to catch up on sleep during the day. You may find yourself dozing off during lectures at school, conferences at work, or even while driving.

Drowsy driving is extremely dangerous, both for you and for anyone else on the road. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation states that drowsy driving is responsible for more than 6,400 deaths each year, and many more auto-crash related injuries.

Do you wake up with a sore throat or headaches?

If you have sleep apnea, you probably breathe through your mouth at night. Mouth breathing dries out your mouth and throat, leaving you feeling parched. You may even have a sore throat. 

When you don’t get enough rest, you may also have a headache first thing in the morning. It may fade during the day.

Do you have risk factors for sleep apnea?

While almost anyone could develop sleep apnea, some characteristics put you at greater risk. You’re more likely to have sleep apnea if you’re:

A family history of sleep apnea as well as an array of medical conditions — including Type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — also raise your risk for sleep apnea.

You not only deserve to sleep better, you need to sleep better to be healthy, alert, and happy. Untreated sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous and life-threatening condition that raises your risk for heart attack and stroke. 

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, call our Bowie, Maryland, office today at 301-352-0090 or request an appointment online for sleep apnea evaluation and treatment.

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