It’s a good thing to find out, because it can kill you. Sleep apnea, or disturbances in your sleeping, usually caused by lack of proper breathing during sleep. People with sleep apnea tend to snore, loudly and alot. They’re exhausted during the day, because they’ve been waking up all night in order to begin breathing again.

The best way to find out if you have sleep apnea is to have a sleep test done at your local hospital. They’ll attach all sorts of sensors to your body and head, and monitor your sleep through the night. Yes, you have to spend the night at the hospital, but it’s worth it.

Here are a few of the side effects of sleep apnea:

  • Damage to your heart
  • Damage and stress to your blood vessels
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Moodiness, irritability, personality changes
  • Brain damage including actual brain matter loss, especially in the centers of the brain which control breathing, speech, and emotions, which then causes more sleep apnea. Without a proper supply of oxygen, brain cells die within minutes
  • Lowered IQ
  • Problems with memory, thought, motor skills, and learning
  • Stuttering and speech impairment
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Other heart-related ailments
  • Weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Metabolic Syndrome (also called Syndrome X) — a cluster of abnormalities that cause insulin resistance
  • Diabetes — type 2 and gestational (during pregnancy)
  • Kidney failure
  • Peripheral nerve damage (tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands and feet)
  • Liver damage
  • Seizures, epilepsy, and other nerve disorders
  • High-risk pregnancies
  • Eye disorders, including glaucoma, conjunctivitis, dry eye, and various other infections and irritations
  • Worsened nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Unhappy, irritable, sleep-deprived bed partners, often leading to relationship problems
  • Higher risk for automobile accidents due to drowsiness

If your child is a heavy snorer, it is well worth the effort to have them tested for sleep apnea, asthma, and/or other brain damage. You can make sure that their brain develops properly and that their IQ remains where it should. Sleep apnea leads to dramatic gray matter loss. The studies mentioned below suggest that in children there may be pre-existing brain damage which leads to the sleep apnea, but they have not yet pin-pointed what may have caused the brain damage leading to sleep apnea. Asthma, blows to the head, some drugs…. think about what your child has been exposed to and discuss it with your doctor.

Something you can do to help combat sleep apnea is play the didgeridoo, and Aboriginal musical instrument. They’re easy to buy online, and LA Outback sells some cool-looking starter didges starting around $29, and some spectacular Aboriginal-made eucalyptus didges running up to around $800.

The benefits of playing the didgeridoo are:

  • decreased collapsibility of the upper airways
  • decreased daytime sleepiness
  • energy healing, similar to Reiki
  • better ability to sleep well at night

Additional ways to combat sleep apnea:

  • a CPAP machine, prescribed by your doctor in conjunction with sleep experts. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. The machine provides a constant airflow, holding your breathing passages open so that you can sleep while your body breathes properly. You’ll experience deeper, more relaxing, restful sleep, your skin will have a healthier pink to it, your shoulders will probably naturally fall back into a more square position, now that you have more air in your lungs, you’ll have more patience, and you’ll stay awake during conversations and movies
  • regular, rhythmic aerobic exercise, such as walking or swimming
  • if you’re overweight, get down to a healthy weight, which, ironically, can be easier when you’re on the CPAP machine
  • avoid alcohol and caffeine

Want some more information? Read these online articles: