Sleep Apnea Myths

Sleep Apnea is often perceived as a passing problem of snoring. For a disorder as common as this, it surprising that not many people have the right knowledge of this condition. There are several myths about the disease that have been doing the rounds, for a very long time.

  • It is just a case of loud snoring- Snoring is a part of Sleep Apnea and not the complete definition of it. If left untreated for a longer duration, it can result in health consequences like an increased risk of heart problems and fatigue, resulting in a loss of concentration and irritation.

  • It is a condition of overweight people- Sleep Apnea is not exclusive to only obese or overweight people. In fact, the disease can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or weight. According to Korean Journal of Pediatrics, approximately 3% of children suffer from Sleep Apnea, which is often confused with ADHD.

  • Sleeping in a lab is the only way to be diagnosed- It is due to this false belief that many people avoid getting their condition checked. They believe they will have to spend a night in a sleep laboratory to be diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. Contrary to this belief, Sleep Apnea can be diagnosed by multiple portable home tests, such as HST.

  • No snoring means no Sleep Apnea- Snoring is one of the main indicator of Sleep Apnea, but is not a mandatory condition. There can be other symptoms to indicate the sleep disorder, even if the person might not snore. Waking up with a sore or dry throat, high blood pressure, morning headaches or daytime sleepiness are other such symptoms.


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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.