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How Sleep Apnea Can Make You Vulnerable To COVID-19

How Sleep Apnea Can Make You Vulnerable To COVID-19

It’s common to snore occasionally, although it can become irritating if you live with someone. Hence, you need not fret if you find yourself snoring. After all, almost everyone encounters a snoring problem at some point in their lives.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder indicated by abnormal breathing during sleep. The sleeper’s breathing constantly stops and starts. However, if your snoring comes with other symptoms such as daytime sleepiness or fatigue, you may be exhibiting signs of sleep apnea.

The breathing interruptions may last up to 20 seconds and can happen at least 5 to over 100 times per hour, depending on the severity. Sleep apnea can be a severe condition and may leave you vulnerable to other diseases that cause breathing difficulties, such as COVID-19.

Before we delve into the connection between these two conditions, let’s look at the overview of sleep apnea.

Overview of sleep apnea


Sleep apnea has two categories: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea, with the former being more common. An indication of obstructive sleep apnea is when the muscles at the back of your throat relax. This will narrow the airway, causing breathing difficulties.

Central sleep apnea happens if your brain fails to transmit proper signals to your respiratory system, causing breathing to stop briefly. As a result, you may wake up from shortness of breath.

Both sleep apneas have distinct risk factors. For example, the factors that may increase the risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea include:

Genetics: If you have a family member who is diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, chances are you may get it as well.

Gender: Men are considered more vulnerable to obstructive sleep apnea than women.

Age: Usually, obstructive sleep apnea happens more often among older people.

Obesity: fats accumulated around your upper airways can hamper your breathing.

Nasal congestion: if you already have difficulty breathing through your nose due to having a cold or sinusitis, you’re likelier to develop obstructive sleep apnea.

Usage of alcohol or sedatives: these substances may relax your throat muscles, making sleep apnea worse.

For central sleep apnea, these factors may contribute to the greater risk of developing it:

Gender: Men are also at higher risk of central sleep apnea than women.

Age: Central sleep apnea occurs more often among middle-aged and older people.

Using narcotic pain medications: Medications such as methadone can increase the risk of getting central sleep apnea.

Heart disorders: If you have heart disorders such as congestive heart failure, you are at higher risk of having central sleep apnea.

Neuromuscular disease: If you suffer from any disease affecting your nervous system (e.g., amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), your chances of getting central sleep apnoea is higher.

Stroke: You may develop treatment-emergent central sleep apnea if you suffer from stroke.

Signs and symptoms

Because both sleep apneas have overlapping symptoms, it’s challenging to tell which type you have. Here are some of the signs and symptoms that the two primary types of sleep apnea have:

Loud snoring

Pauses or interruptions in breathing rhythm during sleep

Choking or gasping for air while sleeping

Excessive sleepiness in the morning

Easily irritated or fluctuating mood

Sleeping difficulties at night

Dizziness when waking up

Getting headaches in the morning

How to sleep apnea compounds COVID-19

When examining COVID-19 and sleep apnea, both have a few similarities. Examples include both diseases being more prevalent in males, aged, obese, diabetics, and patients with cardiac injuries.

This may contribute to poor outcomes when adding COVID-19 to the mix, such as intensifying or causing complications. Examples include endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, oxidative stress, microaspiration, and lung injury.

A study conducted by BMJ Open Respiratory Research reveals that sleep apnea, especially the obstructive one, is identified as an independent risk factor for severe symptoms of COVID-19. This is because the common comorbidities lead to adverse physiological changes in body function, worsening the symptoms and severity of COVID-19.

To further prove their association, a FinnGen study has been conducted on 445 patients with COVID-19, where 38 of them have obstructive sleep apnea. Out of the patients who needed to be hospitalised for severe cases, more than one in five had obstructive sleep apnea.

A meta-analysis also revealed that those with obstructive sleep apnea were more prevalent among 3185 people who were hospitalised for COVID-19.

Recommended mattresses for sleep apnea

There is no definitive best mattress for people with sleep apnea. Nevertheless, they can help people by aiding them with their sleeping position.

If you have sleep apnea and want to upgrade your mattress in Singapore, one of the better ones you can invest in would be our Superior Series, designed for optimum sleeping comfort.

Moreover, it’s made of memory foam, and an experiment revealed that 10 of the participants had experienced a reduction in symptoms by half when sleeping with memory foam mattresses.

Memory foam mattresses help support stomach and side sleeping positions and relieve pressure on joints such as the hips and shoulders.

Recommended mattresses for sleep apnea


Sometimes, before we worry about COVID-19, it’s better to tackle underlying conditions that may complicate or worsen the symptoms. This is especially true for those with sleep apnea.

A good night’s sleep plays a crucial role in helping alleviate sleep apnea symptoms; we believe that investing in top-quality bedding is vital. Hence, if you are looking for something to upgrade your sleeping environment, look no further!

At Four Star, we boast a wide variety of bedroom necessities that can suit anyone’s tastes and needs.

Whether you are looking for the ideal mattress or storage bed in Singapore, we got you covered! Do visit our online store to browse our wares first-hand!


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