What causes sleep apnoea?
Mostly, sleep apnoeas are linked to the relaxation of the muscles of the tongue and the pharynx, which block the passage of air.
Being overweight, obesity, type 2 diabetes, a history of familial SAS, and age are recognised risk factors in adults.
What are the health consequences of poor sleep?
To live a healthy life, you have to sleep well. This doesn’t just depend on the amount of sleep but also on the quality of sleep.
We’ve all experienced nights of bad sleep. A hearty meal, a big night out, or a stressful meeting the next day can all lead to poor sleep.
Poor or bad sleep can refer to a number of things, including lack of sleep (insomnia), excess sleep (hypersomnia), or abnormal behaviours while sleeping (parasomnias).
Disorders are quantified according to their mode of appearance and their frequency.
Sleep disorders will all have different consequences but, regardless, they are symptomatic of a disfunction in the sleep cycle.
Insomnia, for example, is a very common sleep disorder. It has numerous short-term and long-term consequences, including affecting satiety and appetite, increasing the risk of obesity, respiratory disorders, arterial hypertension, and more.
In general, bad sleep has a direct effect on performance and it leads to difficulties in concentration, decreased alertness, irritability, and, in some cases, depression.
In short, poor sleep has dire consequences on your health and your quality of life.
It’s important to re-learn how to sleep well.
What is the best treatment for sleep apnoea?
Assisted ventilation using a positive pressure device is, to date, the only effective treatment of sleep apnoea.
There is no drug treatment.
But other factors do play a role and it is important to manage causes and effects of obesity, cardiovascular problems, and environmental factors (sedentary lifestyles, stress, smoking, etc.).
What is the role of physical activity on sleep?
It is common to hear that physical activity before bedtime can lead to difficulties falling asleep.
On the flip side, exercising in the four hours before going to bed is as good for the head as it is for the body.
A study carried out in people without health problems showed that the percentage of time spent in deep sleep was higher following sporting activity than without.
The modern, more sedentary population has shown an overall decrease in physical activity, which has led to an increase in obesity, diabetes, etc.
The correlation between physical activity and the quality of sleep is quite clear, re-establishing better cycles between day and night.
With physical activity, test subjects demonstrated an easier transition from sleep to wakefulness, better motivation throughout the day, and the desire to be active.
The balance between sport and sleep is essential as one affects the other.
Poor quality sleep makes you less efficient and increases fatigue by inducing poor muscle recovery, risking stiffness, inflammation, injuries, and etc.
However, there is no consensus on what sports activity to practise in the evening, at what intensity, for how long, or how often.
The only certainty is the quality of awakening and lessened fatigue the following day.
If we are in good shape and regularly practise sport in the evenings, our sleep will not be negatively affected.
Thank you very much, Caroline, for answering our questions.
Caroline Rolland is a physiotherapist based in Paris. She has extensive experience in her field and has been working intently with athletes over numerous years.