Hello and hope you are doing well.
Do you have problems with breathing while sleeping? Then you may be having Obstructive Sleep Apnea. When a person sleeps the airways are usually patent allowing normal passage for air entry. The upper airway that is at the region of the tongue and the soft palate is the most compliant (soft) part. So, this is liable to collapse and cause airway obstruction. Now why does this obstruction happen in some people? 1. In overweight people the circumferential diameter becomes smaller. 2. Anatomical factors (structure) like enlarged tonsils, volume of the tongue, lengthy soft palate or abnormal positing of the maxilla and mandible can further narrow the lumen 3. Some people are prone for decreased neuromuscular activity to the upper air way muscles during sleep and this reduces the tone of the muscles leading to further collapse of the airway. As the air way collapses the lungs do not have air entry leading to deoxygenation (decreased oxygen) of blood and the person wakes up. This period of non entry of air is called ‘Apnea’ and the waking up is called an ‘Arousal’. This keeps alternating and the person may not actually wake up all the time, but these repeated arousals can disturb the sleep architecture and cause fatigue, headaches and daytime sleepiness.
I would advise you to consult a sleep specialist who would assess with first a sleep questionnaire, and then he may ask for a polysomnogram, which is an overnight sleep study as this helps to detect the apneas. Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea is by CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) where air under gentle pressure is passed into the airways keeping it patent. In the meantime you could avoid taking alcohol and try to sleep on your side as this keeps the airways patent. If any nasal blocks try to keep them patent with OTC nasal decongestants. Aim for optimum weight with exercises or long walks
Hope this helped and do keep us posted.
Highly likely that it is obstructive sleep apnea, I recommend talking to your Dr. about this and having a simple sleep study.
Some signs of sleep :
In the most common form of the condition - obstructive apnea (also called upper airway apnea) - air stops flowing through the nose and mouth, but throat and abdominal breathing efforts are uninterrupted. The snoring that results is produced when the upper rear of the mouth (the soft palate and the cone-shaped tissue - the uvula - that descends from it) relaxes and vibrates as air passes in and out. This sets up an air current between the palate and the base of the tongue, resulting in snoring.
Typically, the individual will wake up, emit a vigorous snort or grunt while gasping for air, then immediately fall back to sleep, only to repeat the cycle.
In another form of the disorder, central apnea, both oral breathing and throat and abdominal breathing efforts are simultaneously interrupted. In a third type of apnea, mixed apnea, a brief period of central apnea is followed by a longer period of obstructive apnea.
Sleep apnea can be recognized by a number of symptoms. Loud and intermittent snoring is one warning signal. The person who has sleep apnea may experience a choking sensation, early-morning headaches, or extreme daytime sleepiness as well. His bed partner or roommate might comment on his excessive body movements or his snorting or gasping for breath during sleeping.
If the condition is suspected, it should be reported to a physician, who may recommend evaluation by a specialist in sleep disorders