Sleeping 8 hours and still experiencing fatigue?

How many times have you slept for 8 hours yet woken up groggy? The reason behind this may be more common than you realize. Sleep quality refers to how well you can fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. You can get enough hours of sleep but still wake up feeling groggy if you don’t get enough quality sleep.
Sleep quantity on the other hand refers to how much time you spend sleeping per day. A person who sleeps 6-7 hours a day has a higher chance of having a better sleep quality than someone who only gets 4 hours of sleep. Insufficient sleep occurring frequently is a red flag and is extremely important to identify as it may be indicative of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which one’s breathing repeatedly stops for short intervals while they are asleep. These intervals can last anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds, even up to a minute.[5] This can result in hypoxia, where your body does not get enough oxygen supply, leading to gasping and sudden awakening during sleep.[1] These continuous short awakenings can disturb your sleep pattern, generating poor quality sleep and resulting in feeling sluggish the next day. The most common and noticeable sign of this condition is loud snoring with gasping or choking sounds which occur when the tissue behind your throat vibrates. Other symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness, strong headaches, dry mouth after awakening, irritability, and fatigue.

Sleep Apnea is classified in three types:

1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is most common type of sleep apnea. During sleep, the throat muscle relaxes. In OSA, the tongue and soft palate collapse at the back of the throat, leading to continuous or partial blockage of the airways. This causes the diaphragm and chest muscles to work harder than usual to open the airways which results in gasping or awakening with a jerk or sudden movement of the body. [2]

2. Central Sleep Apnea:
In this type of Sleep Apnea, your brain fails to send signals to the respiratory control centre in the body. Failed communication between the brain and breathing-associated muscles leads to pauses in breathing while sleeping. There is no partial or complete blockage in the airways involved in Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). This condition is mainly related to central nervous system and is diagnosed most often in people with neuromuscular diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), those who’ve had a stroke, or in people with heart failure or other forms of heart, kidney, or lung diseases. [2]

3. Complex Sleep Apnea:
Complex Sleep Apnea is also known as mixed sleep apnea. This condition is a combination of both OSA and CSA.
According to a research study, India is the 2nd most sleep-deprived country on the planet, closely ranking behind Japan. The prevalence of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) by aponea-hypopnea index (AHI) criteria in rural India is 3.73%, which amounts to 36.34 million individuals suffering from OSA. [4] Sleep apnea occurs in about 3% of normal weight individuals but affects about 20% of the obese population. Studies have shown that males are at greater risk than females for OSA.
Despite the fact that it is a common condition, sleep apnea is often missed or often goes undiagnosed. If left untreated, it may lead to severe disorders, heart conditions or can even be fatal.

Although sleep apnea can prove to be serious, it is treatable. By getting diagnosed, you can take the first step in managing the condition.

Sources:

  1. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/sleep-apnea
  2. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/sleep-apnea
  3. https://www.sleepapnea.org/learn/sleep-apnea/
  4. Sleep Statistics of India | Sleep Statistics You Should Know | Sleepvert
  5. https://www.premierhealth.com/your-health/articles/women-wisdom-wellness-/a-simple-snore-or-something-more-sleep-apnea-and-snoring
  6. Image Credit: Link


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