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Sleep Well, Live Well: Treating Sleep Apnea to Enjoy Bend’s Daytime Adventures

Bend, Oregon offers a wealth of outdoor activities and natural beauty that make it a premier destination for adventure-seekers. Whether you’re exploring the high desert, taking advantage of the area’s incredible rivers and lakes, or experiencing the nearby mountains, finding a place to rest your head at the end of a long day of adventure is key in enjoying what Bend has to offer.

But when you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea, getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge. This common sleep disorder can cause pauses in breathing while you’re asleep and may lead to fragmented and disturbed sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious and long-term health risks and make it incredibly difficult to enjoy Bend’s abundant daytime activities.

Fortunately, diagnosing and treating sleep apnea is more convenient and effective than ever. Let’s explore some of the ways you can achieve better sleep for a better life and fully enjoy all of Bend’s outdoor opportunities.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder where the person’s breathing is momentarily stopped while they sleep. These stops in breathing are usually brief and can occur frequently throughout the night. It can be caused by obstructions to the airway such as the tongue, a large soft palate or uvula, a small jawbone, or enlarged adenoids or tonsils. Other factors that may contribute to sleep apnea include a family history of the condition, being overweight, and the use of alcohol, sedatives, or narcotic medication.

There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of the disorder and is characterized by the relaxation of the throat muscles, which causes the airway to become partially or completely blocked. Central sleep apnea, on the other hand, is characterized by detriments in the brain’s ability to send the appropriate signals to the muscles that control breathing.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Most of the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring and frequent pauses in breathing during sleep, only occur while the person is asleep. As a result, many people with sleep apnea are unaware that they’re suffering from the condition. Common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud or disruptive snoring
  • Pauses in breathing while sleeping
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Frequent awakenings during the night
  • Waking up in the morning with a dry throat
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Irritability or depression
  • Difficulty concentrating

Why It’s Important to Seek Treatment for Sleep Apnea

It’s important to note that not only can sleep apnea severely disrupt your sleep quality and leave you feeling exhausted and irritable during the day, it can also lead to serious health problems. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your risk of experiencing high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even certain cancers. What’s more, research has shown that people who suffer from both obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia can experience even more intense psychological distress.

For these reasons, it’s essential to seek out a proper diagnosis and treatment in order to improve your sleep quality and lower your risk of health complications.

How to Diagnose Sleep Apnea

The best way to receive a proper diagnosis of sleep apnea is to set up an appointment with a sleep medicine specialist. At your initial visit, the specialist will conduct a thorough medical examination and may ask you to keep a sleep journal to track your sleep patterns.

In some cases, a sleep study may be required in order to make an accurate diagnosis of the disorder. During a sleep study, medical professionals will monitor your breathing and other physical functions while you sleep. This can help determine the severity of your sleep apnea and develop the most effective treatment plan for you.

How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

The most common form of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This machine delivers a constant stream of pressurized air through a mask that increases air pressure in the throat so that the airway remains open.

Other treatment options for sleep apnea include oral appliances, such as the mandibular advancement device, and surgical procedures. All of these treatment methods can help you achieve a better night’s sleep and reduce your risk of long-term health complications.

If your sleep apnea is mild to moderate, there are also several lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your sleep quality. Some changes to consider include:

  • Losing weight if you are overweight
  • Avoiding alcohol, sedatives, and caffeine for at least 4 hours before bed
  • Sleeping on your side instead of your back
  • Establishing a regular sleep schedule and avoiding naps during the day

Conclusion

Experiencing a full and joyful life in Bend, Oregon requires getting a good night’s sleep. If sleep apnea is negatively affecting your rest and disrupting your life, consulting with a sleep medicine specialist is the first step in finding a diagnosis and developing a successful treatment plan. From CPAP therapy to surgical procedures, there are a variety of treatment options to improve your sleep quality and lower your risk of health complications.

No matter which treatment option you choose, remember that seeking treatment and making a few lifestyle changes will help you sleep better so that you can fully enjoy all that Bend has to offer.