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Sleep Apnea and Dizziness: Coincidence Or Not?

One area of sleep research that has started to gain a lot more attention as of late, is the link between sleep apnea and dizziness. If you have a constant feeling of tiredness or fatigue, as well as dizziness, you might be suffering from sleep apnea or another sleeping disorder. Unfortunately, there is still not conclusive evidence that sleep apnea and dizziness are directly related, and many doctors treat them as completely separate conditions when in fact they may be directly related.



Numerous research studies have shown that a lack of quality sleep can potentially cause dizziness. This link has been strongly shown in individuals with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, as a large percentage of people suffering from these conditions often report feeling incredibly dizzy from time to time. 

Another determining factor in dizziness can also be dehydration, and people with sleep apnea are forced to sleep with their mouth wide open which causes them to wake up with a dry mouth and a feeling of dehydration. This, along with the fact that fatigue often leads to dizziness, is one of the common reasons that people with sleep apnea often wake up with a dizzy feeling.

Still, just because you wake up with a dry mouth and a feeling of dizziness, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have sleep apnea, and only a sleep specialist or an ear, nose, and throat doctor will be able to properly diagnose whether or not you suffer from sleep apnea. 

If you do not snore, and your partner has never noticed that you stop breathing for short periods while sleeping, then the odds are fairly good that you do not have sleep apnea. Nonetheless, your sleeping patterns could still be at fault for your dizziness. 

Poor Sleeping Habits and Dizziness

sleep apnea and dizzinessAs stated previously, a lack of quality sleep can lead to fatigue, which is a major contributing factor in most feelings of dizziness. This means that your poor sleeping habits could be at fault for these side effects. 

If you have frequent feelings of dizziness and constantly feel tired, you may want to consider adjusting your sleep hygiene to see if this helps. 

You should try to stay away from any large meals, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol for several hours before bed, all of which can severely degrade your quality of sleep. 

In addition, you may want to remove the TV or computer from your bedroom if you have one, as viewing any sort of electronics before going to bed can interfere with your normal sleeping patterns. 

One final step that may help is to avoid taking any naps, and try to develop as natural of a sleeping schedule as possible, meaning going to bed as soon as you are tired and not waking up until your body tells you it’s ready. All of these factors will result in a better quality of sleep, which should reduce your feelings of fatigue, and in turn help combat those frequent bouts of dizziness.

Sleep Apnea and Vertigo

Recent research has attempted to determine whether there is a link between sleep apnea and vertigo. Benign positional vertigo or BPV is an inner ear condition which can cause a person to feel extremely dizzy following a sudden head movement, either side to side or up and down. 

The dizziness normally only lasts for a few seconds or a minute or two, but many people experience residual symptoms of vertigo for weeks or even months following an episode. These residual effects can include nausea, headaches, and imbalance.

 

Typically, doctors have associated benign positional vertigo with several specific causes, including ear or other infections, head trauma, or stress. However, quite often there does not seem to be any significant event which causes the episode of vertigo. In these cases, some doctors are starting to speculate that sleep apnea and vertigo could be closely related

 

sleep apnea and dizzinessThe reason for this is because any form of sleep deprivation, whether due to sleep apnea, insomnia, or some other sleeping disorder, can lead to a heightened nervous system and hypersensitive inner ear sensors, and it is these inner ear sensors that are responsible for feelings of dizziness.

When the inner ear sensors are hyperactive, they will often overreact to movement, causing a dizzy feeling. Stress also results in hyperactive sensors, which is why it is also closely connected to vertigo. All of this evidence has lead many doctors to speculate that there could be a direct link between sleeping disorders including sleep apnea and vertigo. 

Can Treatment of Sleep Apnea Reduce Dizziness?

As there has yet to be much research done in this area, it is still unclear whether or not treating sleep apnea can reduce dizziness or eliminate bouts of vertigo. However, there is still a strong link between sleep apnea and feelings of fatigue, as well as a link between fatigue and dizziness. 

Therefore, one can safely assume that treating sleep apnea should have at least some effect on reducing the causes of dizziness and vertigo, including fatigue and sleep deprivation. 

sleep apnea and dizzinessSo, if you feel that you possibly have sleep apnea, it is important to visit a sleep clinic to undergo a sleep study to determine if you are in fact suffering from this condition. If so, then there are various treatment options available to you, depending on the severity of your sleep apnea. 

Almost all sleep apnea treatments, including oral appliances and CPAP will allow you to receive higher quality sleep, which should reduce the other factors that are responsible for your feelings of dizziness.

Also, even if your doctor determines that you do not have sleep apnea, it is still important to consider your sleeping patterns and quality of sleep as a contributing factor to your dizziness. 

While receiving better sleep might not eliminate dizziness in all people, it should at least help, and even if not, it will still improve your overall health.


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