Snoring and Sleep Apnea
It is estimated that 10-15 percent of working-age men have obstructive sleep apnea; a condition that causes one to repeatedly stop breathing for as long as ten to fifteen seconds at a time. This condition can go on for years causing a number of systemic health conditions. One who sleeps in the same room with an individual suffering from this condition hears a loud, continuous and irritating snoring. In actuality, this is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea that may cause serious medical complications if not treated.
The Dynamics Snoring
As we fall asleep, muscles in the throat and tongue relax allowing for the tongue to drop back into the airway, creating a narrower passage. Air moving through the reduced airway travels with greater velocity causing the walls of the throat (nasopharnyx) to vibrate. This produces the annoying sound we know as snoring.
Snoring—Not to be Ignored
Snoring in itself is not a serious health problem, but sleep apnea (periods without breathing) is. Sleep apnea is caused by the obstruction of the airway that is blocked by the soft tissues of the throat. It has been described that this effect is similar to that of a thick milkshake when sucked through a narrow straw that eventually collapses from the negative pressure.
With this obstruction, less oxygen reaches the blood and the brain. In response to the low oxygen level, the brain signals to the airway to unblock itself by tightening up. This causes the individual to gasp or snort abruptly, restoring breathing to normal. Not only is the oxygen flow to the brain decreased, but a deep refreshing sleep is not possible when this happens repeatedly during the night.
The disrupted sleep leaves the sufferer exhausted after a night of on-again, off-again sleep. This is also known to cause headaches, moodiness, daytime sleepiness and an inability to function properly.
Is There Good News?
Yes. Help available for obstructive sleep apnea. Working with your physician, Forum Dental Group can create a custom-fitted, comfortable device that fits over the teeth and assists in keeping the airway open during sleep allowing for normal breathing during sleep.
Steps to Minimize Snoring & the Frequencies of Apnea.
- Avoid strenuous exercise within two to three hours of bedtime.
- Reduce nasal congestion
- Ensure there is a quiet and dark sleep environment that has a consistent & comfortable temperature.
- Avoid large meals prior to bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol within four hours of bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine or any other stimulants within four hours of bedtime.
- Lose extra pounds if you are overweight.
If you think you might have sleep apnea, see your physician. Together, we can find am effective and comfortable solution.