How do you know if you have sleep apnea? The only way to tell is to see your doctor. They will either order a laboratory sleep test or a simpler one that you can do at home. Signs you may have a problem include loud snoring, fatigue, insomnia, headache, sore throat, and dry mouth upon waking. Risk factors include being overweight, having a thick neck, a family history, being male, getting older, of African American descent, smoking, and alcohol/sedative use.
The good news is there are things you can do to prevent or treat this disorder. They include:
- Losing weight
- Quitting smoking
- Sleeping on your side
- Avoiding alcohol use
- Using a saline spray to keep your nasal passages open
- Using a CPAP Device - this stands for continuous positive airway pressure and is prescribed by your doctor. It's a mask that you wear over your mouth and nose that helps to keep the throat open. I have several friends that use this device and it works very well.
These simple steps can help you to breathe easier and have a more restful night of sleep.