How do I know if I have Sleep Apnea? Why should I treat it?

Apart from all the above-mentioned points, there are a few other ways that can help you diagnose the severity of Sleep Apnea. These methods are diagnostic tests such as - polysomnography (PSG) and home sleep test (HST)

How do I know if I have Sleep Apnea? Why should I treat it?

While PSG is an elaborate complex test performed at hospitals for all kinds of sleep disorders, HST is very specific for Sleep Apnea and can be performed at the comfort of one’s own bed at their home, making it affordable too. The test was made accessible for patients after the American Academy of Sleep Medicine approved its use for diagnostic purpose in 2009.

The HST device is very simple to use and can used by yourself or with the help of service provider. The device records the total number of episodes of cessation of breath resulting in drop of oxygen levels during your sleep. With the advancement of technology, treatment options have become quite vast, which makes dealing with Sleep Apnea, a lot easier.

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Sleep Revitalizes your Mind, Body, & Heart

The body goes under many transformations, while it is in the state of rest during sleep. There are many essential functions that take place in the body such as tissue repair, memory and energy restoration, release of essential hormones, muscle relaxation, and others. While you are asleep, the brain releases indispensable hormones that promote tissue growth. This process helps your body rejuvenate from the daily hustle bustle. Moreover, tissue growth aids in the recovery from wounds or cuts. Sunita Kumar, Co-Director, Centre for Sleep Disorders, Loyola University Medical Centre, aptly remarks that during sleep the body produces more white blood cells, to fight countless bacteria and viruses1. The heart rate also registers a dip during sleep, which according to Ms. Kumar, strengthens the heart as it is at rest with lowered activity. Moreover, a good night’s sleep also reduces the chances of getting afflicted with heart diseases.

Good Sleep = Sharp Memory

Sleep is a time, when becomes sharp and strong. Sleep quantity and quality play a fundamental role in determining what one remembers and what one doesnt. Therefore, development of long-term memory (LTM) from short-term memory (STM) happens during sleep.  Scientific researches state that the brain follows a different mechanism for storing memories through the hippocampus and neo-cortex areas. Hippocampus helps you to remember your life experiences (childhood memories), while the neo-cortex is responsible for remembering the concepts you learn (name of a color). Communications and sync between the two, helps in learning new data and updating old ones.

Sleep Steers Hormonal Hunger

Sleep not only affects your energy levels and mental functions, but also regulates your body weight. Improper sleep is related to the increasing cases of obesity, worldwide2. Many hormones which regulate the feeling of hunger (ghrelin) and signal the feeling of being full (leptin), are all influenced by the quality of your sleep.  Leptin: This is also known as satiety hormone, which is produced by the fat cells of the body. It prevents overeating by sending signals to the brain that the body does not require more food, as there is enough to fuel the body.  Ghrelin: This hunger hormone is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, which signifies the body that there is need for food. This hormone rises in the body, when you feel hungry and decreases when you have consumed some food.  Studies show that people who have disrupted patterns of sleep - have larger appetite, because of higher ghrelin secretion and lowered secretion of leptin. This imbalance in the secretion of these hormones is a result of improper sleep patterns3.

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Reference

1

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/discomfort-15/better-sleep/healing-power-sleep?page=2

2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3619301/

3

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3619301/