Most people dread this diagnosis because its treatment isn’t well-tolerated.
But when left untreated, research reveals its effects can be DIRE.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the link between sleep apnea and snoring.
But did you know this condition has also been linked to smaller brain volume?
That’s because sleep apnea patients often fail to achieve deep, restorative sleep.
As a result, blood vessels to the brain become restricted. This impaired blood supply to the brain impacts white matter, which controls memory, and could increase stroke risk.
In addition, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, when left untreated, sleep apnea increases risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, depression, and even an early death. (Research suggests a three times’ greater risk of drying from any cause!)
So, let’s talk about how YOU can determine your sleep apnea risk…
Lesser-known signs of sleep apnea
It’s important to know that snoring isn’t the only symptom of sleep apnea. Other common symptoms include…
Night sweats. Research shows 30 percent of people with sleep apnea have night sweats, due to their body not producing enough oxygen.
Frequent awakenings. Nocturia, or getting up at least twice each night to urinate, can also be a sign of sleep apnea. In fact, one study found 50 percent of sleep apnea patients get up multiple times a night to use the bathroom.
Teeth grinding. Also known as bruxism, grinding or clenching teeth might also point to sleep apnea. An interesting hypothesis suggests people do this as a way to improve the obstructed airflow. Signs you might grind your teeth at night include tight or sore jaw muscles and flattened, cracked, or loose teeth.
Morning headaches. If you wake up most days with a headache that lasts several hours into the morning, you might suffer from sleep apnea.
Depression, fatigue, and insomnia. These common symptoms of sleep apnea can be mistaken as mental health issues, brain fog, and other sleep problems. But it’s very likely they’re caused by poor-quality sleep (as sleep habits affect our ability to think, react, remember, and solve problems).
At the end of the day, sleep apnea is another epidemic we have eaten ourselves into. It’s most often brought on by our lifestyle habits (like overeating!).
In fact, obesity can narrow your airways, causing the telltale sign of sleep apnea—snoring—and its many complications.
If you suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, discuss it with your doctor. They can order the appropriate tests or refer you to a sleep lab.
And if you’re overweight or obese, I encourage you to adopt a healthy diet, like my A-List Diet or Hampton’s Diet, to help regain and maintain a healthy weight. You can also enroll in my Perfect Sleep Protocol for tips for consistently achieving quality sleep.
“Five weird signs of sleep apnea.” CNN, 11/27/2023. (cnn.com/2023/11/27/health/weird-sleep-apnea-signs-wellness/index.html)