Snoring and sleep apnea are common problems among men, people who are overweight, and those of you over 40 years old, but anyone can suffer these problems. And if you’re suffering from them, that means your family is likely suffering as well.
Everyone knows what snoring is, but sleep apnea is a little more unusual. It is when your breathing becomes fragmented and intermittent while you sleep. This happens when the muscles in your throat relax, causing the upper airway to tighten and even collapse. Sleep apnea literally stops you from breathing, which causes you to wake in a mini-panic, gasping for air. Yet you never fully wake up, so you fall back to sleep relatively quickly –– only to continue this cycle of gasping and sleeping over and over again. The noise is so similar to snoring that most people with sleep apnea don’t know they have this particular problem.
There are many things that can cause snoring and sleep apnea. Sleeping on your back, nasal congestion from colds and a tongue that relaxes too much during sleep can all interfere with normal breathing, leading to the noise and sleep issues. However, one often-overlooked cause is being overweight. Obesity can lead to airway problems, which in turn leads to noisy, restless sleep.
A common solution prescribed by doctors is the CPAP machine. This bulky device uses a tube and air mask to continuously force air into your mouth, preventing the airway from collapsing. However, CPAP machines can be loud. Worse, you would have to wear the mask and hose throughout the night. We offer a different, less problematic solution to snoring and sleep apnea. A custom-designed sleep apnea mouthguard, similar in look and function to a retainer, helps keep your mouth aligned in such a way to keep your upper airway open and unconstricted.
By keeping the lower jaw slightly forward, the tongue is kept from the back of the throat. This keeps your upper airway open, preventing snoring and sleep apnea in the vast majority of our patients. Since being overweight can help create the conditions leading to snoring and sleep apnea, losing weight can help as well. That’s why we offer nutritional counseling to help find the right diet for you. Eating well can not only help your teeth look better and last longer; it can also help solve some of your sleeping issues. Before any of these solutions can be tried, you first need a confirmation that sleep apnea is the problem. We can order sleep tests to give you a proper, official diagnosis. Snoring and sleep apnea are complex issues.