A common question we’ve been getting on the blog lately is this: “How do I tell if I have sleep apnea if I live alone?”
If you are asking that question, then you are at the right place at the right time.
In this article, you are going to learn of The Common Signs And Symptoms of Sleep Apnea and how to tell if you have it if you live alone.
Before we get into the steps to take, the first thing you have to understand is that snoring is different from sleep apnea. Most people confuse the two and think they are one and the same but they are not.
It is easy to tell if you snore as it is characterized by the husky noise produced during deep sleep. Sleep apnea, on the other hand, is a little harder to diagnose. Sleep apnea is characterized by frequent breaks or pauses in breathing during sleep.
So while you can fall asleep in a few minutes and someone hears you snoring, you may need to undergo a sleep study to know for sure whether or not you have sleep apnea.
Diagnosing sleep apnea by choosing to undertake a sleep study is the best decision that you can make so as to have healthier sleep.
Most of the time, the laboratory diagnosis is accurate, with plenty of extra details that can help you in the treatment of sleep Apnea.
A majority of insurance companies are willing and ready to assist you in paying your medical bills if you decide to undergo a sleep study in a medical center that is recognized.
Now a sleep study is all well and good if you already have some proof that you have sleep apnea and just want to confirm it. But what if you live alone and have no idea what’s going on when you sleep?
Well, here are a few things that you can do to find out if you have sleep apnea when you live alone.
How To Tell If You Have Sleep Apnea At Home
In case you find yourself in a situation where you have not registered with an insurance firm or cannot afford to pay for the sleep study, you do not have to worry yourself to death about it.
You can easily tell if you are snoring at home all by yourself or with a little help from your spouse.
On the other hand, when you are single, sleep apnea becomes very difficult to diagnose, since no one is watching you sleep.
Watching an apnea event at night can turn out to be a scary experience for your partner, so he/she can tell you the first warnings. However, when you are living alone, you will have no idea of what takes place when you are asleep. So you will have to discover it out all by yourself.
Below we will provide you with some tips to help you answer the question: “How To Tell If I Have Sleep Apnea If I Live Alone”
In case you are single, here are a few tips that you can use to tell if you have sleep apnea.
1. Record Yourself Sleeping
This is one of the easiest things you can do to find out if you have sleep apnea.
You can use your phone or an affordable camera. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on equipment or gadgets. You just want a good enough quality camera to get the job done.
PRO TIP – Make sure whatever camera you use has a long battery span and enough memory that will record you for at least 3 hours of sleep.
Most of us take some time to get into a deep sleep which is when your sleep apnea with be more prominent.
You may also want to have good enough lighting so that the picture quality will be good enough to analyze. The only downside to this is that if you are a person who loves to sleep in the dark you may find that you’ll take even more time to fall asleep.
2. Pay Attention To The Following:
While the following list/suggestions are not definite, they will give you an indication of the possibility that you may have sleep apnea. After which you may want to carry out step #1 above of recording yourself for more concrete evidence.
So here’s the list of what you should pay attention to:
1. Poor Concentration, Short-Term Memory, And Morning Headaches
- Do you find it hard to concentrate?
- Do you find that you are forgetting things more than usual?
- And do you also wake up with a mild headache most mornings?
If your answer is yes to any of the above questions, then the possibility is high that you do have sleep apnea.
When you have sleep apnea, inadequate air will enter your lungs while you are asleep.
The quantity of oxygen in your blood decreases significantly, and this affects your brain. The brain then releases stress hormones which will increase your blood pressure, putting you at risk of stroke, irregular heart rhythm, and heart attack.
2. Heart Problems
There is a great link between heart problems and sleep apnea.
In case of sleep apnea is not treated in time, your heart will start developing complications. Complications of the heart can be prevented if sleep apnea is treated in time.
3. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness And Drowsy While Driving or at Work
Daytime sleepiness is very common for individuals who have sleep apnea. This is because you are not getting adequate rest when you sleep at night. As a result, you tend to find yourself more tired than usual and may dose off periodically throughout the day.
Lack of sleep during the previous night because of sleep apnea may result in problems with the family, at work, and dealing with friends.
So if you’ve been falling asleep by your desk more often than not, maybe it’s time to investigate a little further if this could be as a result of you having sleep apnea. It often results in decreased productivity, irritability, motor vehicle accidents, injuries while on the job, and disruptive social and family relationship.
4. Being Obese or Overweight
Being overweight doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea. In fact, there are a LOT of persons who are overweight who don’t snore or have sleep apnea.
However, being overweight DOES increase the risk of sleep apnea. Obesity is a common occurrence among individuals who have sleep apnea. This is due to a thick neck with excess fat that can obstruct the airway and cause snoring.
So if you are overweight, check if any of the above steps 1-3 are also common for you. If yes, it’s a high chance that you may suffer from sleep apnea.
6. Monitoring Your Sleep
You can also monitor your sleep with a video or audio recorder, and then review it when you wake up. You can also use an app to record all your activities in the night while you sleep.
A good example of an app that can help in diagnosing snoring is the Snorelab app which is accessible to both Android and iPhone users.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea With The Help Of Your Partner
Bed partners are important informants in diagnosing sleep apnea. With time, untreated sleep apnea can evolve and worsen over the course of several years, until it presents a real menace to your life.
Your spouse or bed partner can be your best friend when it comes to diagnosing sleep apnea.
A detailed history from bed partners is very essential in many cases of undiagnosed or suspected sleep apnea.
Bed partners can observe the following symptoms during your sleep:
1. Snorts, Gasps, and Snoring
In case your partner has irregular snoring, together with breathing that halts briefly with a struggle to breathe in, then you ought to be very careful. This is the most common symptom of sleep apnea.
Apnea snoring is powerful and noisy. You can suspect sleep apnea in case the symptoms are present; however, diagnosing sleep _ apnea must be confirmed with a sleep monitor or an apnea monitor. The monitor will show sleep arousals and low blood oxygen levels.
2. Pauses in Breathing While Asleep
A normal and healthy person has irregular breathing at some periods while asleep.
However, a person with sleep apnea breaks from breathing completely and may hold his/her breath for approximately 10 seconds. And this can happen more than five times while asleep to a few hundred times!
You should never dismiss sleep apnea as something that is usual.
At times people dismiss it as something that is natural for those aging. This is true, however, sleep apnea can become more serious as you age and gain weight, thus it should never be accepted as something that is ordinary.
Make an appointment with a doctor and come up with several ways to treat it for the sake of your health and your partner also. Do not underestimate the risks that come with sleep apnea.