What is the Significance of Respiratory Rate During Sleep?
Respiratory rate refers to how many times a person breathes in one minute. Medical professionals routinely record a person’s respiratory rate as a way to recognize potential health problems, as they do with other vital signs like heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. The body continually adjusts the pace of breathing to ensure the body’s cells can produce the right amount of energy.
When a person is asleep, their respiratory rate generally slows compared to when they are awake. Also, a person’s sleep respiratory rate naturally changes throughout the night depending on what stage of sleep they are in. Each night, a sleeper repeatedly cycles through four stages of sleep, which fall into one of two categories: non-rapid eye movement (NREM) or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3 occur during NREM sleep. Breathing typically slows during each stage of NREM sleep as a person moves into deeper periods of rest, reaching its slowest rate of the night during stage 3 of sleep.
Respiratory Rate During REM Sleep
In the fourth stage of sleep, called REM sleep, a person’s respiratory rate becomes less stable and increases along with other measurements like blood pressure and heart rate. People tend to experience more vivid dreams during REM sleep, as they rapidly move their eyes behind closed eyelids. Breathing is controlled by several muscles in the body, including the diaphragm and muscles in the abdomen, neck, and in between the ribs. During REM, the part of the brain that regulates breathing becomes less responsive and many breathing muscles become temporarily inactive. Together, these shifts account for continual changes in respiratory rate durign REM sleep.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Respiratory Rate?
When the most common type of sleep apnea, called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs, a person’s breathing might temporarily stop. This is usually due to the weakening of the muscles in the throat. When this occurs, the person’s respiratory rate might become erratic and the sleeper may take in fewer breaths per minute, resulting in other abnormal drops in oxygen levels in the blood. An Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) diagnosis is typically based on a score called an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), which is the number of signs of apnea or hypopnea that occur during an hour of sleep. AHI occurs when a person’s respiratory rate is significantly impacted or when they temporarily stop breathing. The AHI score is used by healthcare providers to assess if a person has OSA and should receive medical treatment.
When to See a Medical Professionals
Regardless of any other conditions a person might have, it is important to bring any issues related to breathing (or other vital signs) to the attention of a medical professional as soon as they become apparent. Changes in breathing, especially quickened rates, could signify the presence of a serious medical condition that requires medical management. Timely treatment is important to ensure optimal health and to restore a person’s vitality and wellness.
Do You Have Troubles With Snoring?
Snoring is an unpleasant and disruptive experience, which can also be a symptom of a deeper health concern, such as sleep apnea. The shape and position of the tongue, soft palate, tonsils, and adenoids can contribute to snoring, as can alcohol consumption, certain medications, aging, and the anatomy of the mouth and throat. If snoring is an issue for you and/or your partner, it is important to speak with a medical professional about it and what the best sleep-related treatment option is.
It is possible to mitigate snoring with the use of anti-snoring mouthpieces and mouthguards. These products work by holding the tongue forward and using suction to open airways, which helps reduce both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). We have covered the different types of anti-snoring mouthpieces and the different categories of sleep aids in our reviews, where we provide our readers with helpful information for finding the most effective solution to their snoring-related issues.
Maintaining Your Sleep Respiratory Rate With Mouthpieces & Sleep Aids
Maintaining a healthy sleep respiratory rate is integral to addressing potential sleep disorders and maintaining overall health and well being. While most people can keep their sleep patterns regulated without much external intervention, for those with sleep apnea or other breathing-related issues, a combination of treatments, such as the use of anti-snoring mouthpieces in conjunction with other sleep aids, can be very beneficial in restoring an individual’s quality of sleep.
At How Sleep Works, we are dedicated to providing our readers with helpful and comprehensive articles on topics related to sleep health. We are always here to answer any questions, and if you are interested in attempting to improve the quality of your sleep or your sleep respiratory rate with the use of mouthpieces, we encourage you to learn more about the many types of anti-snoring devices on the market and find the one that best suits your needs and desires.