If you are a snorer, you might not think it’s anything more than a nuisance. But it can be serious, and may even be a sign of a potentially life-threatening condition. People who sleep with snorers may lose more than an hour of sleep every night, which can lead to health problems and increased conflict in a relationship. Snoring can also be a sign of sleep apnea, which can lead to premature death through heart disease, stroke, or car and workplace accidents.
If you snore regularly, don’t ignore it. We can help you get tested for sleep apnea, or find a more comfortable treatment option if you’ve already been diagnosed but don’t like CPAP. Please call (702) 873-0324 or email dentist, Dr. James B. Polley in Summerlin today.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is caused by a narrowing of your airway at night. During the day, gravity and your muscles hold your airway open. However, at night when you lie down gravity no longer pulls your airway open. Then, when you fall asleep, your muscles relax, allowing gravity to narrow your airway.
When your airway narrows, the airflow becomes restricted and turbulent, resulting in vibrations that we hear as sound. Your tendency to snore depends on many factors, including the anatomy of your airway, your jaw position, weight, lifestyle factors, sleeping position, and more.
Is It Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when your airway doesn’t just narrow at night—it closes completely. When your airway cuts off your air supply, your brain is forced to awaken partly to restore breathing. This not only prevents your brain from reaching the restorative levels of sleep, it stimulates your heart to work harder, which puts stress on your heart and increases risks of high blood pressure and stroke.
People with sleep apnea don’t know they’re waking up, though it may happen hundreds of times a night. A cosleeper may observe that your snoring stops suddenly in a choking noise. Otherwise, look for the following sleep apnea symptoms:
- Waking up feeling unrested
- Daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Mood changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of motivation
- Memory problems
- Difficulty losing weight
- Diagnosis of conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease
If you suspect sleep apnea, it’s important to get treatment. Studies suggest that people with severe cases have a short-term mortality risk five times or more greater than people without sleep apnea.
Comfortable Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatments
One way to treat both snoring and sleep apnea is to reposition your jaw so that it does a better job of holding your airway open. The tissues of your airway essentially hang off your jaw, so putting it in a better position when you sleep can reduce the severity of your snoring and sleep apnea. Some people eliminate the condition entirely.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, but are unhappy with the CPAP treatment you’ve been prescribed, suspect that you may have the condition, or are looking for a snoring treatment that works, we can help. Please call (702) 873-0324 or email our office, in the heart of Summerlin.