Cut if you will with sleep's dull knife
The years from off your life, my friend!
The years that death takes off my life,
He'll take from off the other end!
- Edna St. Vincent Millay
Perhaps, the above line can make you ponder if sleep has such benefits. Sleep, which is very essential for an individual’s alertness and productivity, can dangerous as well. Unbelievable ? True! Say medical professionals who cite sleep apnoea as an example. Sleep apnoea in simple terms is the cessation of breath during sleep, which in rare cases can even be fatal
Logically speaking, anything that makes you stop breathing can be dangerous. Certainly, it is not something be ignored or taken for granted. Sleep apnoea has been linked to sudden death, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms) and to increased chances of heart disease. Long-term effects include depression, irritability, loss of memory, lack of energy, a high risk of workplace accidents, and many others not foreseen at the moment.
Sleep apnoea is categorized into three forms: obstructive, central and mixed. Of these obstructive is more common. Central sleep apnoea is a neurological disorder associated with decreased levels of oxygen in the blood and is very rare. Mixed apnoea as the name suggests is a combination of the above two forms. Loud, frequent snoring, excessive daytime fatigue due to improper sleep, body movements during sleep are some of the common symptoms. The partner usually indicates the presence of acute shortage of breath.
The number of apnoea episodes and the reflection of the same on daily activities estimate the need for a treatment. Generally speaking any apnoea must be at least 10 seconds in duration or longer and must occur at a frequency of 5 or more per hour for it to be regarded clinically significant.
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