What’s the one thing we all need, but many of us aren’t able to fit enough into our lives? Sleep. We all want to get enough sleep, but there are some real medical barriers to achieving what is optimal for you. One of the main medical reasons many people aren’t able to get enough rest is sleep apnea — which happens when someone stops breathing five to 30 times an hour, or even 60 times an hour in some cases!
Imagine what stopping breathing every few minutes does to your health, as your body needs to wake itself up in order to breathe. As any new parent knows, waking up several times a night means you won’t feel fresh the next day, which impacts everything from how well you think, to your emotions, to your ability to exercise, work and drive — and it even makes you gain weight! Living with undiagnosed apnea year after year can affect your health and the quality of your life — unless you take charge of your health now.
1. Sleep Apnea Is Costing Billions in the United States
The economic costs associated with sleep apnea can be alarming. More than $149 billion in annual costsare the result of undiagnosed sleep apnea U.S. cases, including $6.5 billion in work-related accidents and $87 billion in lost productivity, as of 2015. Moreover, undiagnosed sleep apnea contributes to the $30 billion annual costs associated with the augmented medication and health care expenses needed to treat health risks that occur alongside sleep apnea.
As many as 29.4 million Americans or 12 percent of the U.S. population are estimated to be enduring the adverse effects of obstructive sleep apnea . Yet, the negative effects and costs of sleep apnea can be significantly reduced up to $100 billion if people were able to get diagnosed. However, getting diagnosed requires taking the first step: getting tested.
2. Here’s Why You Should Get Tested for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a rest disruptor and is linked to comorbidities, such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, depression, asthma, and GERD. This condition disrupts the internal clock of your brain. Studies have linked this sleep disruption to depression, which helps explain mood disorder developments, such as major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. Sleep helps to rejuvenate the body and is vital for maintaining a healthy brain function.
3. The Importance of Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene
Practicing good sleep hygiene can help subside the effects of sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea. Here are a few tips to get you going:
• Go to sleep and wake up the same time every day.
• Create a good sleep environment. Aim for a quiet and dark room with a cool temperature around 65 degrees. If needed, wear a sleep mask or earplugs.
• Exercise every day without sacrificing your sleep.
• Watch what you’re eating and when you’re eating it.
• Be consistent with your sleep patterns, even on the weekends.
• Get enough sleep. Adults generally need between seven and eight hours of sleep every night.
While sleep apnea testing isn’t cheap, it’s far more rewarding to know how to treat it and to experience that treatment. If you’re still wondering if getting tested is worth the time or cost, it’s still important to educate yourself.
Start by learning sleep apnea signs, such as snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, and insomnia. Also, get to know about what’s involved in the testing procedure. If you’re using your health insurance, you may have to first check with your primary care physician before seeing a sleep specialist. Also, expect a sleep study to be conducted either at a medical facility or at your home.
By keeping up to date with technology and your own body, you can discover innovative sleep apnea diagnosis methods and treatments to help you take control of your health today.