People often complain that they have trouble falling asleep or seem to toss and turn for quite some time before they finally manage to get some quality rest. Then there are those few people who say that they sleep “like a rock” and are able to fall asleep the moment their head hits the pillow. While this may seem like a good thing, falling asleep fast and hard may actually be a sign of unrest or sleep apnea, a condition in which the airways become blocked and breathing is disrupted repeatedly throughout the night.
However, even when people feel like they are sleeping solidly, they find that they still feel worn down during the day, which is why they fall asleep as soon as they get the chance. Here, the experienced doctors of Bay Area Sleep and Breathing Solutions discuss sleep apnea and causes of unrestful sleep that may be keeping our San Francisco, CA and San Jose, CA patients from enjoying the quality sleep that leaves them feeling well-rested and refreshed.
Signs of Unrestful Sleep
One of the reasons it is so difficult to diagnose sleeping disorders is because the problems occur while a person is asleep. And even when sleep is unrestful, most people have little to no memory of waking up during the night or tossing and turning in their beds. Instead, it is important to consider the signs of unrestful sleep, such as:
- Falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow: When people are able to fall asleep right away, they often see it as a sign that they are good sleepers. However, this can actually be a sign of being overly tired. It should take about 10 to 15 minutes for the body and mind to unwind so a person can fall asleep. Falling asleep right away each night is a common sign of unrestful sleep.
- Feeling tired throughout the day: It is normal to hit a slump during the day and feel a little tired, but those who wake up feeling tired and seem to drag their feet all day long are likely not getting quality rest.
- Snoring: Snoring is not always a sign of unrest or sleep apnea, but people who have been told they snore should be especially aware of how they feel after sleeping. If snoring is combined with feeling worn down or falling asleep quickly, it may be another sign of unrestful sleep.
Causes of Unrestful Sleep
There are many factors that can disrupt sleep and lead to unrest. Some things that may cause unrestful sleep include stress, drinking too much caffeine, depression, or the use of certain medications. However, the most common cause of unrestful sleep is sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can wake people several times an hour, as the body has to alert itself to resume breathing. Even though these wakeful periods are likely to be forgotten, they keep the body from reaching the deepest level of sleep, or REM sleep. Without restful sleep, a person can feel worn down and agitated, and may experience symptoms such as frequent headaches. This silent killer has even been linked to other physical ailments, including heart disease, which makes it especially important to seek treatment.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed until a person is alerted that they stop breathing during the night, or after seeking treatment for feeling overly tired. Once our doctors have diagnosed sleep apnea, there are many treatments to consider. We will tailor treatment to the specific needs of each patient. In some cases, sleep apnea can be addressed with the use of a simple mouth guard, while other patients will need a breathing device or even surgery. We will discuss the best treatment plan for each patient after conducting a thorough exam and consultation.
If you feel worn down all day and fall asleep immediately when your head hits the pillow, you may not be getting the restful sleep your body needs. Contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss your sleeping habits and find out more about sleep apnea and its treatment.