Snoring or Sleep Apnea?

Snoring or Sleep ApneaWe probably all know someone who snores. Who can forget the rumbling, tumbling, and even gasping sounds in the middle of the night? Snoring is something that can contribute to many problems for sufferers, the effects can even last into the next day. There are various reasons why we snore, and why it is more common among men. There is also a more dangerous type of snoring that is called sleep apnea. The sound that we hear originates from the vibration of the soft tissues in our throat. The uvula is a bag shaped object in the back of our throat that vibrates when we take a breath.

There are certain contributing factors that can increase the likelihood of snoring. We all have different body types; some, unfortunately, can make us more susceptible to snoring. If you happen to have a thicker neck, your airways have a greater chance of becoming constricted. This is one of the reasons that men are more likely to snore; they are usually more muscular and therefor have more mass surrounding their airways. Another thing to think about is our eating habits. Poor eating habits can lead to weight gain; which will also increase the size of one’s neck. Excessive drinking of alcohol is one more. Alcohol use will relax the muscles in your body, including the ones around your mouth, nose, and throat. So, yes, drinking at bedtime can help you fall asleep faster, but not without a price. The problem is that the price is usually paid for by your spouse!

Many times, snoring can be so problematic that eight hours of rest can end up feeling like four. When someone wakes up numerous times a night and does not remember it, it may be accredited to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when there are actual pauses in one’s breathing during sleep. These pauses might be only a few seconds long, but have the ability to stretch on for longer periods of time. Once breathing is “restarted”, it usually begins with a loud choke or gasp. It can be very unsettling to hear. These pauses can occur dozens of times every hour. With sleep apnea, it can be challenging getting a good night’s rest, because you drift in and out of deep sleep. Having headaches and being groggy for an extended period of time is not uncommon for those with these nightly breathing complications.

For the basic light snorer, there are a few remedies that can be implemented at night. Taking a hot shower to clear the sinuses, drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated, and using “over-the-counter” nose strips can help. To someone who snores heavily or experiences sleep apnea, these simple solutions probably won’t offer much assistance. For these sufferers, advanced treatment may be in order. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy involves using a positive air pressure mask that covers the nose. It maintains a constant air flow into the nasal passageways, ensuring no disruptions in breathing. When used properly, they are very efficient and effective. Specially formatted dental appliances are another option. These devices, which are FDA-approved, are simple to use. They are custom fit and reposition your lower jaw. Adjusting the placement of the jaw relieves any potential blockage. Many sufferers prefer this device, because it is less invasive.

If you or a loved one suffers from snoring or sleep apnea, call Pelican Landing Dental at (239) 948-2111. They are located in Bonita Springs at 23451 Walden Center Dr #100 and have been helping many patients with these conditions.
Schedule a complimentary consultation  with Dr. Rich Gilbert to discuss this important subject so you can return to having a restful night’s  sleep. Call 239-948-2111.

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