By Azeera Az
Ever wonder if you are sleeping well through the night? Do you sometimes wake up abruptly with shortness of breath?
According to Associate Prof. Dr Louis Adaikalam, President of Persatuan Sleep Apnea Malaysia (PSAM), if a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep, (whether if you are snoring, choking, or even waking up in the middle of the night) you might be experiencing a case of a sleeping disorder.
What is Sleep Apnea? Apnea comes from the Greek word apnoia which means ‘breathless’. It is a condition that interrupts your breathing repeatedly during your sleep causing the brain and the rest of the body to get insufficient oxygen. It is most noticeable by a bed partner, so ask them about your snoring or if you’ve ever ‘repeatedly stopped breathing’ during your sleep.
Sleep Apnea is one of 96 types of sleeping disorders and it is identified by an index called Apnea–Hypopnea Index (AHI) where they calculate the severity of a person’s sleep. The AHI level is divided into four categories: normal, mild, moderate, and severe sleep apnea. The condition is treatable based on your sleep level.
If left untreated, it can increase various risk of health problems, such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, irregular heartbeats, heart attacks, depression, hypertension, diabetes, and more. It also increases the possibility of accidents at workplace and commuting accidents. Studies have also shown that lack of sleep causes a decrease in work productivity.
What are the warning signs?
Common sleep apnea symptoms are:
- Waking up with a very sore or dry throat
- Loud snoring
- Occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
- Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
- Sleepiness while driving
- Morning headaches
- Restless sleep
- Forgetfulness, mood changes, and a decreased interest in sex
Am I at risk of having sleep apnea?
There are certain factors that can place you at a higher risk, such as:
- Overweight (Fat deposits around the upper airway may obstruct breathing)
- Narrowed airway (You may inherit naturally narrow airways or your tonsils or adenoids may become enlarged, which can block your airway)
- Chronic nasal congestion (it occurs twice as often in those who have consistent nasal congestion at night, regardless of the cause. This may also be due to narrowed airways)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Gender (In general, men are twice as likely as women to have obstructive sleep apnea.)
- Family history
Tips to avoid it:
- Dr. Louis stresses that an adult must have the right quantity, quality and consistency of their sleep (with an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep everyday!)
- Two hours before sleep, you need to switch off your phone and avoid dinner or drinking.
- If you are consuming alcohol, drink four hours before sleeping.
- You need to maintain a consistent sleep routine and a healthy diet.
Did you know that by losing 10% of your body weight, you will reduce 50% of your sleep apnea symptoms? In some cases, losing a lot of weight can even cure the condition.
Persatuan Sleep Apnea Malaysia (PSAM) offers treatment services for sleep apnea in Malaysia and it consists of giving patients sleep diagnostics, sleep consultations and solutions via natural therapy (jaw exercises, tongue exercises and etc.). PSAM is also working with Nexus Resort Karambunai with a one of a kind Sleep Program which is available for locals and tourists who are interested in fixing their sleeping problem.
Killing two birds with one stone, tourists are able to enjoy both their vacation and their sleep!
For more information:
Persatuan Sleep Apnea Malaysia (PSAM)/ Malaysian Sleep Apnea Association
Whatsapp: +6012 327 5911
Telephone No.: +603 7804 1808/ 2745/ 1294