You may want to strangle your spouse if their snoring is keeping you up all night, but don’t bother – there’s a good chance that sleep apnea is slowly doing the dirty work for you.
This condition is no joke and its long-term health effects are deadly serious – if left untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes and even cancer. If you or your spouse are constantly waking up short of breath and tired after a full night’s sleep and if you observe yourself/them intermittently starting and stopping breathing during sleep then you’d be well advised to visit a doctor.
Perhaps because its main symptom (snoring) is so common, sleep apnea is indeed one of the most "slept-on" of conditions – lying somewhere between inconvenience and disease. To be clear not every snorer suffers from sleep apnea, but many, if not most, do. If your nose is stuffed up (due to a cold, sinus infection or deviated septum) and you tend to sleep with your mouth open it’s likely that your tongue is going to end up blocking your airway at some point in the night – the question is how much and how often.
Until a week ago I was unfortunately among the unlucky many born with a deviated septum – a condition that led to a lifetime of clogged sinuses, infections, post-nasal drainage and yes, snoring – the latter of which has reached epic proportions in recent years (as my wife can attest).
I was literally fighting a nocturnal battle every night. My dreams would invariably turn into the "fight-or-flight" anxiety variety and I’d wake up repeatedly with my heart racing to pump oxygen. The net result were days upon days feeling utterly exhausted from noon to night and constant migraines from sinus pressure and lack of quality sleep.
I had been mulling over getting a septoplasty for years until one day, about two months ago, I finally woke up and thought to myself "enough of this sh*t already, either do something about it or stop whining."
You can read about how it all went here.