Snoring is annoying.
There’s no way around that. Sure it can be amusing — at first — when someone nods off on the couch after a big meal.
But it can get really distracting, really quickly if you are trying to have a conversation or watch television.
It’s even worse at night when you are trying to sleep. If it’s your parent down the hall, the snoring can still be loud enough to keep you awake. If it’s your spouse, well, we don’t want to say what you’ve thought of doing to get the snoring to stop.
If someone you love is keeping you awake with their incessant snoring, he or she may have sleep apnea. You should call the dentists at Atlanta West Dentistry in Marietta for help.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs because the person with this condition stops breathing multiple times while he or she is asleep.
To put this in perspective, someone with mild sleep apnea can stop breathing between 5 and 15 times per hour. Someone with moderate sleep apnea may stop breathing between 15 and 29 times per hour, and someone with severe sleep apnea may stop breathing more 30 or more times per hour.
The snoring is a symptom of this condition. It’s part of how your loved one wakes him- or herself up briefly to take another breath.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs because the person who has it suffers from having a blocked (or obstructed) airway when he or she falls asleep.
When a person with obstructive sleep apnea falls asleep, the muscles around his or her airway relax. This can cause soft tissue to block the airway partially or completely.
This makes it difficult to breathe and amplifies the sounds of his or her snoring.
More significantly, it keeps both that person and you from getting a good night’s sleep.
You Need Healthy Sleep
When someone has sleep apnea, he or she is waking up frequently throughout the night, although many times these are so brief that the person has no memory that it has happened.
Nevertheless, these constant interruptions are preventing the person from reaching the stages of deep sleep that are necessary for healthy sleep.
Harvard Medical School has a web page devoted to the unhealthy consequences of poor sleep.
People who don’t get it are more likely to be irritable and more likely to lose focus when trying to work. More important, people who rarely receive healthy sleep are more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
This is especially true for people who have untreated sleep apnea. Multiple studies have found that people with sleep apnea have a higher risk of heart attacks (due to increase cardiovascular health issues) and higher risks of being in motor vehicle accidents (due to increased frequency of daytime sleepiness).
How To Get Healthy Sleep
One good indicator of whether you are getting healthy sleep is how you feel in the morning. Do you wake up feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, or do you feel exhausted and fatigued in spite of a night in bed?
Another clue is whether or not you dream at night. Dreaming generally occurs during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is one of the deepest stages of sleep.
As we noted, the problems stem from your loved one’s inability to breathe while he or she is asleep. Treating sleep apnea is focused on helping him or her continue breathing.
The most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is a CPAP. The user wears a mask attached to a hose attached to the CPAP machine. The machine pushes air into the person’s airways to keep them open. This allows the person with sleep apnea to continue breathing and to remain asleep.
A CPAP machine can be effective as long as the person with sleep apnea uses it like he or she should. For some people, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. The mask may be irritating. He or she may remove the mask in his or her sleep, or the mask may prevent him or her from falling asleep.
Atlanta West Dentistry has an alternative treatment. We can create a custom-made snore guard for your loved one. This is a mouthpiece that he or she wears at night. The mouthguard adjusts the position of his or her jaw. This change keeps his or her airways open so he or she can continue to breathe.
Stop The Snoring
Get in touch with us today if you are tired of feeling tired because of your loved one’s snoring and sleep apnea. If you live in or near Marietta, GA, our dentists would be happy to help you and your loved one. You both deserve to get a good night’s sleep every night.