What You Need To Know About Snoring And Sleep Apnea
Snoring is a common sleep disorder that can affect all people at any age, although it occurs more frequently in men and people who are overweight. Snoring has a tendency to worsen with age.
Occasional snoring is usually not very serious and is mostly a nuisance for the bed partner of the person who snores. However, the habitual snorer not only disrupts the sleep patterns of those close to him, he also disturbs his own. Habitual snorers snore whenever they sleep and are often tired after a night of what seems like quality rest.
The causes of snoring can range from a hereditary problem to the social and psychological problems of todays hectic lifestyle. But technically speaking, people who snore often have thick throat and nasal tissue, also called as “floppy” tissue, which is more prone to vibrate than in a normal tissue set up. Often, as we age, the body relaxes even more than when we were younger. Snoring also increases with fatty build up as we gain weight.
It can be tough to identify sleep apnea on your own, since the most prominent symptoms only occur when you’re asleep. If you have sleep apnea, your nighttime breathing is interrupted and doesn’t return promptly. Sleep apnea can be a life threatening condition. The airflow into your body is delayed by more than 10 seconds.
That may not sound like much, but it’s a serious situation. This breathing interruption can happen up to five times in an hour during sleep. If you snore loudly and nightly, you’re at higher risk for sleep apnea than the occasional snorer.
Not all sleep apnea is obstructive, however. Another, rarer type of sleep apnea is referred to as central sleep apnea because it is generally a failure of the central nervous system. In this case, the brain forgets to tell the body to breathe or the signal becomes blocked as it travels along the nerves. Other cases may be a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Losing weight is also important to moderating sleep apnea. Along with losing weight, you need to be in an exercise program. Many people report that their sleep apnea completely disappears once they lose weight and get back to a normal, healthy range.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) masks are worn over the nose and mouth to force air into the nasal passages in a continuous flow. This may not be the most comfortable way to sleep, but it has been highly effective and most people get used to the machine and rely on it to deliver a good night’s sleep.
If all else fails, there are surgical procedures such as widening the palate, restructuring nasal cavities or taking out the tonsils to aid in a sleep apnea disorder. Make sure you don’t ignore your snoring and mistake it as something harmless because if it’s sleep apnea, you’re putting your life at risk!
Snoring can wreak havoc on your quantity and quality of your sleep – whether you’re the one with the snoring issue, or the person lying next to you is causing the noise. It can become a serious medical condition if the snoring is something more – sleep apnea, where the person’s snoring halts their breathing and causes them to gasp for their next breath.
If you’re sleeping next to a snorer, then you may not be in full control of the solutions you consider. Many couples find the sleep deprived spouse routinely moves into another room, wears earplugs, or spends all night tapping the snorer on the shoulder to interrupt the snoring and allow them enough time to get to sleep.
It can be torturous to sleep next to someone who snores, because it’s like having someone constantly stand there waking you up throughout the night. You might get very irritable and feel guilt for getting mad at someone who can’t control their noise level during the night.
The person doing the snoring (which may or may not be you) needs to find a solution that will quiet the snoring and allow them – and the ones they love to have a peaceful night’s sleep.
Snoring is so common that about one-third of adults seek solutions for this issue every year. It may happen nightly, or only on occasion, such as when you’ve had alcohol before bed.
Some people have resorted to sewing tennis balls in the backs of their pajamas to forcibly keep them on their side, since snoring is more prominent when the person is lying on their back.
Nasal strips and oral appliances can sometimes work. These keep your nasal passages or airways in your throat open to allow your breathing to continue without interruption. If sleep apnea is an issue, where your snoring fits suddenly stop with your breathing until you gasp for air, then you might want to consider undergoing a sleep study so you can be fitted for a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. This mask pumps air into your airways, keeping them open to prevent snoring and interruption of breathing.
As a last resort, you might consider getting surgery to address your snoring issues. All three surgeries aim to do the same thing – remove tissue obstructions to help you breath better during slumber, but each one uses a different technology.
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