PANAMA CITY, Fla. - As we know, getting good quality sleep each night is essential to being our best selves.
But over 100 different sleep disorders make that difficult for millions of Americans.
News 13's Alex Thorson has this weeks health desk report..sponsored by Bay Medical Sacred Heart.
Take a deep breath, go under water, time yourself, and stay there.
"And when you come up, you are gasping for air. That's basically what the patients are doing when they have sleep apnea," Elaine Locke, a sleep technician at Medical Sacred Heart, said.
It can stop your breathing for up to two minutes at a time. The causes of sleep apnea vary.
Locke said progressive technology has helped diagnose millions of sleep disorders in recent years.
"Back then, our great grandparents didn't go to a sleep lab to have a sleep study done," she said.
If you snore, fall asleep during the day, are tired after lunch time, or waking up with morning headaches, you may have sleep apnea and not even know it.
Your doctor may send you to a sleep center.
"We can see every episode from when they're blinking their eyes and starting to go to sleep, to when they're in their deep dream REM sleep stages," she said.
Technicians will hook you up to a CPAP machine, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.
"It blows in positive air to help open up that airway. So that way they can breathe like they're supposed to," Locke said.
All while monitoring every breath throughout the night.
Just like with many health problems, ignoring symptoms can only cause additional health issues.
"You're short changing not yourself, but your family, your job, everything that you're out there to do," she said.
Locke also reminds people to continue with healthy sleep routines like eating big meals no later than three hours before bed, and holding back on naps during the day.
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