Welcome to the university and college lifestyle. This includes lots of studying, meeting important deadlines, social pressures, partying, the occasional alcoholic drink, and poor sleep habits. Amongst all the stress and fun parts of being in college, sleep apnea in that age bracket has been surprisingly on the rise over the past few years.
The American College of Health reports that approximately four percent of college students have sleep apnea. This is vital to how a person functions throughout the daytime. As we all know, sleep apnea causes a person to repeatedly stop and start breathing while they are sleeping, causing someone to be tired and groggy throughout the day. As a result, they don’t pay attention in class, it disrupts their studies (either by developing poor study habits or skipping it altogether) and it can interfere with their social lives.
So how does this occur in college students in the first place? As mentioned above, college students arguably have the worst sleeping habits between the late study nights, heavy drinking and the occasional all-nighter. This can mess with the body’s internal clock, which regulates when you sleep, when you wake up and more. This can lead to something called “circadian rhythm disorder,” and this, in turn, can lead to more serious problems, such as sleep apnea.
The CPAP machine is the safest, and most effective form of treatment for sleep apnea, weather you are 18 or 58. But admittedly, many students in that “college age” bracket may feel too embarrassed to use their CPAP machine, in fear that their friends will make fun of them.
What’s important to remember here is the end result: a better night’s sleep for you, the ability to function normally throughout the day, and a happier, and more productive college experience. This age is about entering adulthood head first, and coming to terms with your CPAP machine is a huge part of that. The awkwardness of high school is now over and if you explain your condition to your friends, they should be accepting of it, and of you.