What causes Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a condition that occurs when you are asleep. Therefore, it can be difficult to recognize its symptoms on your own. However, knowing the indications of Sleep Apnea helps in the better understanding of this sleep disorder.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea while sleeping:

  • Loud snoring- Snoring can also be a symptom of Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), but in Sleep Apnea it is more prominent and louder.
  • Breathing cessation- People suffering from Sleep Apnea experience difficulties in breathing during sleep, and there are episodes of choking or gasping, several times during sleep.
What causes Sleep Apnea
  • Restlessness- The person might find it difficult to stay asleep, or may be restless during sleep, if distressed by Sleep Apnea.
  • Suddenly waking up - Due to loss of breath, the person might wake up feeling choked causing a break in sleep.
  • Frequent visits to bathroom:
  • Frequently wake up to drink water:

What causes Sleep Apnea

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea during daytime:

  • Day time sleepiness- Waking up feeling low on energy, and feeling sleep-deprived isn’t a good feeling and it indicates an improper sleep.
  • Morning headaches- Bad headaches every morning after waking up signals Sleep Apnea. Due to low oxygen levels, blood vessels can widen up causing these headaches1.
  • Dry throat - Dry or sore throat on awakening are the signs of Sleep Apnea. Dry mouth can be a result of breathing through mouth.
  • Mood swings - Feelings of irritation and anxiety are due to Sleep Apnea. Not getting quality sleep almost every night can make a person irritated or susceptible to these mood swings. If not attended on time, this can even lead to depression.
  • Loss of attention - Sleep Apnea affects cognitive functions, making it difficult for a person to concentrate for long, and even cause amnesia for some.


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.