The City Mattress Blog

sleep tips

What Does Sleep Apnea Look Like and How do You Prevent It?


Couple lays on adjustable bed smiling, reading a magazine and an eBook

We all need a solid seven to eight hours of sleep in order to be healthy, wake up well-rested, and tackle a new day. You know this and make every effort in order to get it right, like avoiding caffeine before bed and sleeping on a high-quality mattress. But what happens if your body won’t do what it is supposed to? For those with Sleep Apnea, this is a reality.

What is Sleep Apnea?

When you hear the term “sleep disorder” you probably imagine something like Insomnia, where someone cannot fall asleep. If you fall asleep quickly, you don’t have a sleep problem, right? Not so fast! Insomnia is only one of many different disorders. Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. When you suffer from Sleep Apnea, your airway is partially or completely blocked during sleep. These interruptions are called “micro-arousals,” and can rob you of approximately one-third of your rest every night.

The main types of Sleep Apnea are:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This is the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax.

Central Sleep Apnea

This occurs when your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome

This form is also known as Treatment-Emergent Central Sleep Apnea, and occurs when someone has both Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea.

The most common signs and symptoms of Sleep Apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep
  • Gasping for air during sleep

These would be reported by another person who sleeps with you and notices the symptoms. There are several that you would be able to notice yourself, like:

  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Regularly waking up at night 
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness 
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Irritability

What is the Difference Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea?

If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night's sleep, you might have Sleep Apnea. If you are not snoring, does that mean it is not Sleep Apnea? Not necessarily. Snoring is a symptom of Sleep Apnea, but not everyone snores. Snoring occurs in Obstructive Sleep Apnea, but not always in Central Sleep Apnea. You can have Sleep Apnea without snoring. If you regularly experience a morning headache, wake up several times each night and aren’t sure why, and experience excessive daytime sleepiness even when you think you’ve gotten your full eight hours of sleep, it’s worth considering that Sleep Apnea may be the culprit even if you are not snoring. 

Sleep Apnea and Headaches

As stated above, morning headaches are a common and debilitating symptom of Sleep Apnea. Your breathing is partially or completely blocked during sleep if you suffer from any type of Sleep Apnea. Because of this closure, the amount of oxygen in your blood being transported to your brain is reduced. This puts you at risk for serious blood- and circulation-related conditions, as well as headaches. Specifically, you’ll experience morning headaches. If you are waking up with a headache, you are likely starting your day off on the wrong foot. This is not only frustrating; Sleep Apnea and headaches prevent you from living your life to the fullest and enjoying your day.

Tips to Help Prevent Sleep Apnea

Obviously, after reading all of this, you want to know how to prevent Sleep Apnea. First, it's important to know that Sleep Apnea and weight gain are linked. Having Sleep Apnea can lead to weight gain, because you’ll be tired and more likely to over indulge in carbs and sugary foods. As well, weight gain can also make Sleep Apnea symptoms worse. It’s a cycle that’s tough to get out of! When most people gain weight, they gain it everywhere, including their neck. Excess weight in this area can narrow your airway when you lie down and lead to blockages while you sleep. This is why maintaining a healthy weight is important.

That’s not the only lifestyle remedy for Sleep Apnea. Altering your sleep position can reduce Sleep Apnea symptoms and improve your night. A 2006 study found that more than half of obstructive Sleep Apnea cases are dependent on position. The best position for Sleep Apnea is sleeping on your side.

You’ll also want to avoid alcohol before bed, quit smoking, and use a humidifier in your bedroom. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine supports oral appliances as an effective therapy for Sleep Apnea. These oral appliances can help by repositioning your jaw or tongue to keep your airway open as you sleep.

The Best Sleep Essentials for Sleep Apnea

Many people don’t need fancy Sleep Apnea equipment, they simply need to set up their bed in a way that enables them to open their airway and breath more openly. You want the best mattress for Sleep Apnea! According to experts, you have three choices:

Memory Foam

This material is ideal because of its superior pressure point relief. When you lie down, especially on your side, the weight of your shoulders and hips sink more deeply into the bed than your other body parts. Because of this, it supports your weight, provides comfort, and doesn't block your airways. City Mattress carries many memory foam mattress options, like a Nectar mattress and Serta iComfort mattresses.


Latex mattresses are very similar to memory foam, but they are a bit more buoyant. You don’t sink in quite as deeply, which some sleepers find more preferable. If you want a Talalay Latex mattress, we recommend the PranaSleep luxury mattress brand.


Let’s say you want the benefits of foam but enjoy the firm feeling of coils. We have hybrid mattress options that deliver the best of both! The Tempur-ProAdapt Medium Hybrid mattress has both premium spring coils and Tempur material for the deeper, rejuvenating sleep you’re looking for.

In addition to a Sleep Apnea mattress, you’ll also want to look into the right pillows that elevate your head as well as adjustable bed bases. Raising your upper torso can open your airways.

Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder. In fact, an estimated 22 million Americans have it. If you think you are suffering from Sleep Apnea, you’ll want to discuss this with your doctor. He or she will go over several options with you on how to prevent Sleep Apnea. Starting a program of diet and exercise can help reduce extra weight and possibly improve Sleep Apnea symptoms like headaches. Also, come into your nearest City Mattress and find the right sleep essentials to improve your night of sleep. We’ll find you a supportive pillow, a new mattress, and an adjustable bed base that creates a true slumber oasis. Once you wake up for the first time after a night of uninterrupted, deep sleep, you’ll feel the difference!