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Could You Be Suffering From Mild Sleep Apnea?

One of the biggest problems with mild sleep apnea is that many sufferers are unaware they have it. This can be the same with all forms of apnea but more so in this case. Due to the fact that interrupted sleep and insomnia can be caused by many issues, lack of sleep is often ignored and put down to being part of life. Having a busy lifestyle, hectic work schedule and poor diet are a few other factors that can cause sleep problems.

Mild sleep apnea is hard for a person to detect themselves as they are sleepy and groggy when woken up. They may believe they have been experiencing night terrors or that a loud, sudden noise disturbed them. It probably would not occur to most people that they may have woken up as a result of an apnea. 

Think about it yourself. Have you ever woken up during the night and had to take a big deep breath, and then assumed something had startled or frightened you? The answer is probably yes but when you think about it logically you may have needed to breathe deeply to compensate for shortage of oxygen.

A ‘normal’ sleep is considered to be if a person wakes up less than five times during one hour. Having your breathing interrupted between 5 and 15 times in one hour is mild. To give you a comparison: a person suffering from severe or chronic sleep apnea can be disturbed over 30 times in one hour. 

As you get older, the risk of experiencing these apneas increases. Unfortunately, with age can come many other illnesses and ailments so sleep disruption is considered normal and is often ignored. This disorder is also more common in men than women. Both are at risk but men are diagnosed in greater numbers.

mild sleep apnea10How to tell if you have sleep apnea:

You can begin by carefully monitoring your sleep pattern and recording any unusual activity or disturbances. The following list shows the signs that are associated with mild apnea:

  • Fatigue or excessive tiredness
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Lack of concentration
  • Mood swings

The best course of action you can take if you think you may have this disorder, is to visit your doctor or physician. It is likely they would suggest a sleep study first. This is a test carried out to measure how well you sleep generally and why you are experiencing problems. These tests can help diagnose breathing disorders, seizure disorders, movement disorders and other sleep related issues that cause extreme fatigue during the day e.g. narcolepsy

If you undergo a sleep study and it shows you have sleep apnea in some form, your doctor or physician will give you advice as to which is the correct treatment for sleep apnea to follow for your particular disorder.

Surgery and Mild Sleep Apnea

Surgery won't be necessary: a mild form of apnea can usually be treated without going under the knife. Surgical procedures are only suggested to people with extreme symptoms when their health is severely at risk, and after all other options have been exhausted. However, if you have an illness or health problem that is severe, and could be causing your sleep disruption, you may need to have surgery for the separate issue.

If you have managed to control or eradicate your apneas, there is still a chance they might come back, although it depends on which type of the disorder you have, how severe it is and how it has been controlled. For example, if you were obese and managed to lose a great deal of weight, this could stop your sleep disruption. 

mild sleep apneaMaintaining this healthy weight should prevent the apneas from returning. However, this does not mean you will not experience sleep apnea at another stage in your life that could be caused by a different factor.

In some cases, mild sleep apnea can be treated with minor lifestyle changes and adjustments to daily activities. Being overweight or obese is detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing. By losing weight, even if it's a small amount, you can help reduce the symptoms associated with apnea.

Quitting smoking will improve your lung capacity and breathing in general. Being able to breathe with more ease should result in better sleep and could reduce the risk of being susceptible to sleep apnea. Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medicine that makes you drowsy before you go to bed. Although these products may aid your ability to sleep, they can also relax your throat, making it harder to open when sleeping.

If you have allergies that are having a negative effect on your breathing, ensure you are taking the correct medication. Additionally, you can use an anti snoring nasal spray to keep your nasal passages from closing unnecessarily during the night  


Consider adjusting the position you sleep in so that it is more comfortable but your throat is kept open. Sleeping on your back forces the tongue and throat to relax more so it is advisable to lie on your side. If you find this too difficult, there are snoring pillows available to help support you in this position. 


mild sleep apneaOral appliances like snoring mouthpieces can be beneficial to sufferers of mild sleep apnea. These can be bought as over the counter DIY devices or they can be custom made by a dentist or orthodontist. The DIY mouthpieces are made out of a plastic that melts in hot water. 

Once the plastic has softened to the correct form, the device is inserted into the mouth and pressed against the teeth to form a mould. The piece will then keep the impression of your teeth once the plastic has cooled. A dentist or orthodontist will make impressions of your whole mouth and teeth. 

This will make an exact replica for your mouth piece and works by moving the lower jaw and tongue so the airways are kept clear during the night.

Medical practices and procedures continue to advance every year so there is no need to suffer in silence. Find out what your symptoms are, do solid research and speak to a medical expert. You could be suffering unnecessarily and may be able to dramatically improve your life. Do not ignore the signs of mild sleep apnea as the mild form could worsen if left untreated.

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