Some habitual snorers feel incredibly fatigued, and often find themselves falling asleep during the day. They may unwittingly fall asleep during even the shortest car rides, while watching a movie, or even during business meetings. These same people may have difficulty falling asleep at night or wake up repeatedly to go to the bathroom.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you might have sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous condition that needs to be treated. Apnea means the “absence of breathing,” and sleep apnea is defined as “a stoppage of breathing for 10 seconds or more while asleep.” As many as 4 in 100 men and 2 in 100 women have sleep apnea. Most people are affected as they get older, but I also see young men and women - as well as children - who suffer from this problem.
Nighttime breathing can stop when people who snore or suffer from CAID have episodes of upper-airway obstruction to the point at which the airway is completely blocked for a short period of time.
When this happens, the airway cannot supply oxygen to the body. Instead, those with sleep apnea must rely on their brains to make sure that they continue to breathe. Even in the deepest stages of the sleep cycle, their brain must remind them to wake up and take a deep breath. Often, this reminder is less than gentle: It must be with such a force that it causes a sudden alertness, often in the form of loud snorts or gasps that literally wake up the sufferer and his or her sleeping partner. And because these people are constantly waking up throughout the night, they are not getting refreshing sleep.