Snoring And Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Your sleep impacts every aspect of your health and daily life. Sleeping well helps you look, feel and perform your best. But a sleep problem can be harmful to your health and well-being. One of the most common sleep problems is snoring.

Snoring is a harsh sound that occurs during sleep when soft tissue in the upper airway vibrates as you breathe. Snoring is extremely common in men, but also occurs frequently in women, especially during pregnancy and after menopause. Obesity, nasal obstruction, alcohol, smoking and anxiolytics all increase the risk of snoring.

The sound of snoring can be a nuisance to your partner, but loud snoring can wake the person who snores, too, fragmenting and un-refreshing sleep and may indicate a serious health condition.

As matter of fact loud and frequent snoring is a common sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, repeated breathing pauses occur, which often reduce your oxygen levels, and are followed by brief awakenings that disturb your sleep.

Treating obstructive sleep apnea is incredibly important because if left untreated, sleep apnea can cause excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, morning headaches and memory loss, increasing the risk of drowsy driving and workplace accidents. Besides, untreated sleep apnea raises the risk for serious health problems:

  • High blood pressure

  • Stroke

  • Heart disease

  • Diabetes

  • Chronic acid reflux

  • Erectile dysfunction

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. The CPAP machine keeps your airway open by providing forced air through flexible tubing. CPAP therapy requires you to wear a mask as you sleep. Although CPAP therapy is effective, some people are unable to adhere to it.

In severe cases if you are unable to tolerate CPAP therapy, but as first choice in mild to moderate OSAS, an oral appliance can be the treatment. Many people like an oral appliance because it is comfortable, quiet, portable and easy to wear.

The oral sleep appliance is worn in the mouth only while you sleep and fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. Oral appliances support your jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway.

However, losing weight, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and sleeping on your side also can help reduce snoring.