Do you or your partner have issues with constant, sleep-interrupting snoring?
Naperville adults may not realize that snoring is the root cause of their fatigue and their lack of productivity at work or at home. Whether it is the sound of your own rasping inhale that startles you awake, or your partner’s noisiness keeping you from even falling asleep, the side effects of snoring can penetrate every aspect of your waking life!
Fact: Snoring issues are more common than you might think!
The stats are in: a whopping 40% of adults over 40 snore at least part of the time. Snoring can keep you or your partner awake, leading to sleep deprivation, daytime fatigue and general crankiness – but what many people don’t know is that constant snoring could actually have a more serious impact on their health. If you know how to stop snoring, your Naperville home could be a much happier place!
What exactly happens during snoring?
During snoring, two things happen:
- Muscle Relaxation. The muscles located in the back of the throat relax. This causes the airway opening to narrow, reducing air intake on each breath inhalation.
- Vibrations. During breath exhalation, the air being pushed through the narrowed opening causes vibrations. This is the sound normally referred to as a snore.
Much snoring is harmless (we call it benign snoring.) However, in some people, an underlying health issue is causing the snoring. In these cases, continued symptoms can cause even more issues, including:
- Heart Problems. People who snore constantly are more likely to have increased risk for cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease.
- High Blood Pressure. When snoring constantly wakes a person up (called an arousal), the sympathetic nervous system is activated. Numerous arousals each night have been linked to increased risk of hypertension.
- Breathing Issues. People who experience snoring every night could have a more serious medical condition. It starts as Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) and can turn into Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
Of these, obstructive sleep apnea can be the most frightening.
What exactly is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
During an apnea event, the following steps take place:
- The relaxed throat muscles become so unresisting that the back end of the tongue is sucked against the throat.
- This blocks the airway, cutting off oxygen to the brain.
- The oxygen level drops suddenly, and the body’s natural response startles the sleeper awake (this may not be full awareness; many sleepers don’t remember waking.)
- As the sleeper wakes, a gasping or snorting noise is made as the tongue moves away from the back of the throat and allows air to rush in. (There may be a momentary feeling of choking before the tongue and throat muscles tighten up, but you cannot actually choke from sleep apnea, nor can you “swallow your tongue”.)
An affected person may not be aware that are snoring. As an experienced sleep apnea dentist, Dr. Lydia Sosenko should be consulted if you notice you are waking multiple times in the night with a loud gasp or snort, feeling fatigued and sleepy during the day, or if your bed-mate points out that these things are happening.
What is the real danger of OSA?
The real health issues for people with OSA are related to increased risk of heart attack or stroke. This risk is increased for patients who are obese. People with OSA also have an increased incidence of car accidents (because of fatigue related to waking multiple times each night), can become depressed, have morning headaches, and other problems that affect their day to day quality of life.
How can OSA be treated?
Individuals diagnosed with OSA can try a variety of treatments. Many will complete sleep studies, to determine the severity of the problem. For some, losing weight, raising the head of the bed, sleeping on one’s side instead of on one’s back, and other behavior modifications may help. CPAP machines are often used for patients with severe OSA. These machines fit over the face and increase the flow of oxygen to the lungs. Some patients find it difficult to adjust to the machine, however. Surgery is also an option, but one that is only employed in severe cases when other options have failed.
I don’t want surgery or machines. What else can help?
For many patients, an oral appliance can help with snoring and obstructive sleep apnea! Naperville dentist Dr. Lydia Sosenko is a Sleep Apnea Appliance Therapy expert, and she routinely prescribes and fits OSA devices. Typically worn every night, the appliance positions the jaw in such a way that the patient’s airway remains unobstructed.
When sleep apnea is correctly treated, many patients find that their lives improve significantly; both they and their partner can both get peaceful rest at night, there is increased energy and alertness during the day, and headaches and depression caused by OSA can disappear.