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Do you still feel tired during the day despite sleeping for 8 hours? Do you snore? Are you a little overweight? Wake up with headaches? If any or all of these apply to you, then you may have a condition called Sleep Apnoea (or Sleep Apnea in American English). The good news is that almost all cases can be treated by therapy that can start in as little as two or three weeks.
Sleep Apnoea can make you still feel tired despite a full night's sleep
Sleep Apnoea (pronounced app - knee - ah) is a very common condition. It is estimated around 1 in 20 people have it, and it is around twice as common in men as it is in women. Often it goes undiagnosed for many years as although the side-effects are quite apparent (tiredness during the day, snoring), the actual apnoeas themselves are often unnoticeable to the sufferer. In fact, partners are far more likely to notice an apnoea taking place than the sufferer themselves, as we explain below.
Sleep Apnoea is a condition where your airways close up momentarily as you sleep, causing you to stop breathing. Your partner or room mate may have noticed you choking or making a loud, exaggerated snoring noise that is a clear sign of you suffering an apnoea. Your brain then wakes up, opens your airways, and you start breathing again and fall straight back to sleep without you even realizing it has happened. These brief pauses in sleep are called micro-arousals. The apnoeas that cause these arousals can happen up to 400 times a night, but will almost always go unnoticed. The result? Fractured, unrefreshing sleep, leaving you feeling tired during the day – despite seemingly having slept well.
What can you do? If you feel you may have sleep apnoea as a result of being tired during the day even after sleeping, the best thing to do is to take a Sleep Study (also known as a Sleep Test or an Oximetry Test). A Sleep Study monitors your oxygen levels as you sleep. When you have an apnoea, your body is temporarily starved of oxygen until you start breathing again. These fluctuations in your oxygen levels then show whether or not you do have Sleep Apnoea.
How do I get a Sleep Study?
Sleep Studies are available both privately and through the NHS. Waiting times for an NHS Sleep Study can be quite lengthy; In June this year there were 4,461 people on the NHS waiting list for a Sleep Study, 16% of which had been waiting for over a month already. Once you have completed your Sleep Study, you will then have to wait for the results, and then for the equipment you require. It is not unusual for the process to take several months from start to finish, during which time you are prohibited from driving by the DVLA. If you are falling asleep during the day or generally feeling tired despite having a full night's sleep then waiting that length of time may seem daunting, but there is an alternative.
Alternatively, you can order a Sleep Study online for as little as £99 and have a confirmation within two weeks. The Finger Pulse Oximetry Test uses a Konica Minolta PulsOx 300i to monitor your oxygen levels and show whether or not you do indeed have sleep apnoea. It is the same test that the majority of NHS Sleep Studies use. Although an oximetry test will provide a detailed enough Sleep Study to confirm Sleep Apnoea, if you wanted a more comprehensive test you could try the Multi Channel Respiratory Test. You can then take those results back to the NHS, bypassing the waiting list for a Sleep Study, or use it to get your equipment privately and further shorten the process. Once you have your results, the appropriate options for your needs will be explained to you.
You do not have to still feel tired after a full night's sleep
There are many people who are at risk from sleep apnoea; being middle-aged or older as well as being slightly to extremely overweight can be major contributing factors. However, Sleep Apnoea can affect anyone, so if you still feel tired after sleeping there is every chance you could have it. Other symptoms include loud snoring, headaches and a lack of concentration. Taking a Sleep Study will allow you to know one way or the other, and with a positive confirmation you can begin the therapy which will allow you to sleep perfectly and start feeling refreshed and energised. You can begin to feel alive again, with the energy and enthusiasm that restorative sleep brings. Hundreds of thousands are already benefiting from therapy for their Sleep Apnoea across the world, so if you want to start feeling your old self again and get the most out of life, then choose a Sleep Study and take that first step towards successful treatment for your Sleep Apnoea.