If you were to stop breathing periodically during the day, you would panic. However, there is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during the night, and you may not even realize it!
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that ruins sleep efficiency. Central sleep apnea is when a person stops breathing periodically through the night. CSA is less common than obstructive sleep apnea, and only accounts for less than 5 percent of people with sleep apnea. CSA is when the brain ceases to send the right signals to the muscles that regulate breathing.
Signs of central sleep apnea are typically observed by a second party who recognize abnormal breathing or periodic episodes of no breathing. Symptoms that are recognizable by those who suffer from central sleep apnea include insomnia, hypersomnia, waking up in the middle of the night with shortness of breath.
Often, central sleep apnea is a symptom of a deeper issue concerning the brainstem. The brainstem connects your brain to your spinal cord, which controls breathing patterns. Depending on the category of CSA reveals different contributing factors to the disorder.
Congestive heart failure or strokes can weaken breathing efforts. This type of central sleep apnea is called Cheyne-Stokes respiration. The previous conditions also are considered medical condition induced apnea.
Some prescription medications tend to disrupt regular breathing patterns as well. Drug induced apnea occurs from taking opioids. Opioids are prescription medications such as codeine and morphine. These medications can interfere with normal breathing causing central sleep apnea.
Consider seeing a doctor if there are episodes of paused breathing. People who are sleep deprived or also suffer from excessive fatigue should consider going to a physician, who may refer you to a sleep disorder clinic.
Treating central sleep apnea is a by patient basis. Some people will just need supplemental oxygen devices like a CPAP. A CPAP is a plastic mask worn during sleep that pumps pressurized air to keep your airway open.
Contrary to impulse, a sleep sedative will not be effective for those suffering with central sleep apnea. CSA requires a professional opinion and no sleep supplement will ease insomnia derived from the disorder.