Sleep Apnea Background
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that involves difficulty breathing when asleep. The word “apnea” literally translates from the Latin to “without breathing.” A familiar symptom of sleep apnea is snoring, which occurs during the night when a person is gasping for air. Though snoring is common, just because you snore it doesn’t mean you necessarily have sleep apnea. Nonetheless, this gasping that causes snoring prevents healthy sleep, particularly because it reduces the time spent in restorative deep sleep (Carskadon & Rechtschaffen, 1994). The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute estimated in 2006 that one in fifteen people suffer from sleep apnea. Other indicators of sleep apnea include waking up tired, being overweight, the distribution of fat in the stomach and neck areas, menopause, and heredity. Recent population health studies have found that those with untreated sleep apnea have a five times higher morbidity rate than those with treated sleep apnea. (Nieto, Young, Lind, Shahar, Samet, et al., 2000). If you think you or someone you know might have sleep apnea, see a doctor and get the appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
Snoring on the other hand can be a completely healthy phenomenon - though disruptive to one's sleeping partner 🙂 It is always better to address snoring when you can because it can also negatively impact sleep. If you think you may have a deviated septum, this can cause snoring and is totally treatable by seeing your general practitioner. Other ways to address snoring can include using sounds to block out the disruptive noise that is made when one snores. You can find our snore mask within SleepSpace to access this feature. Another solution that we are working on is training people to rollover with a vibration of your Apple Watch. If you sleep with a partner who snores, simply have them download SleepSpace and when they snore there is a button you can press that vibrates their Apple Watch and trains them to roll over. Happy sound sleeping!