How do alcohol and drugs affect sleep?
Obviously, stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines make it difficult to sleep. More surprising is the finding that most of the CNS depressants that facilitate sleep (such as alcohol, analgesics, sedatives, and tranquilizers) disrupt the normal sleep cycle. The principal problem is that they reduce the time spent in REM sleep and slow-wave sleep. Unfortunately, these are the sleep stages that appear to be most important to a refreshing night's sleep.
How much Sleep do people need?
The average amount of daily sleep for young adults is approximately 8 hours. However, there is considerable variability in how long people sleep. Sleep needs vary from person to person.
What are Symptoms of sleep apnea that you may notice in adults?
- Episodes of not breathing (apnea), which may occur as few as 5 times an hour (mild apnea) to more than 50 times an hour (severe apnea). How many episodes you have determines how severe your sleep apnea is.
- Loud snoring. Almost all people who have sleep apnea snore, but not all people who snore have sleep apnea.
- Restless tossing and turning during sleep.
- Nighttime choking or gasping spells.
Symptoms in children depend on how old the child is:
- In children younger than 5, symptoms include snoring, mouth breathing, sweating, restlessness, and waking up a lot.
- In children 5 years and older, symptoms include snoring, bed wetting, doing poorly in school, and not growing as quickly as they should for their age. These children may also have behavior problems and a short attention span.
How can you relieve the symptoms of snoring?
- Avoid the use of alcohol and medicines, such as sleeping pills and sedatives, before bed. These can relax your throat muscles and slow your breathing.
- Eat sensibly, exercise, and stay at a weight that is as close as possible to a healthy body weight.
- Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back can increase snoring. Try this: Sew a pocket in the middle of the back of your pajama top, put a tennis ball into the pocket, and stitch it shut. This will help keep you from sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your side may eliminate mild sleep apnea.7
- Quit smoking. The nicotine in tobacco relaxes the muscles that keep the airways open. If you don't smoke, those muscles are less likely to collapse at night and narrow the airways.
- Raise the head of your bed 4 in. to 6 in. by putting bricks under the legs of the bed. You can also use a special pillow (called a cervical pillow) when you sleep. A cervical pillow can help your head stay in a position that reduces sleep apnea. Using regular pillows to raise your head and upper body will not work.
- Promptly treat breathing problems, such as a stuffy nose caused by a cold or allergies. Breathing problems can increase the risk of snoring. Avoid taking antihistamines because they can make you drowsy and make apnea episodes worse. Instead, use decongestants, which decrease drainage.
What are the different types of sleep apnea?
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea - those who suffer from this type of sleep apnea will awaken with a sudden gasping or choking noise. This experience is not remembered and victims believe they had a full night's sleep. An airway obstruction reduces brain oxygen levels until the brain arouses you from sleep to open the airway.
- Central Sleep Apnea - victims of central sleep apnea are aroused from sleep due to the brain failing to regulate breathing muscles. Men and women who suffer from this form of sleep apnea remember waking.
- Complex Sleep Apnea - a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea.
What are common sleep apnea symptoms?
- Chronic morning headaches (although this may also be related to Temporomandibular Join Disorder)
- Daytime tiredness even though you felt like you received a full night of sleep.
- Loud snoring
- Inability to remain asleep throughout the evening.
- Hearing a partner wake with a sudden choking or gasping sound.
What Does the Word "Apnea" Mean?
Apnea is a Greek word meaning "want of breath."