If you or someone you love are snoring at night, it means that breathing is being hindered. Your airway is a critical component of your total wellness and snoring is a symptom of an airway problem and needs to be addressed.
Why is that? When you sleep, your body is at rest. The muscles in your neck are relaxing and for some people, with certain conditions, that means their airway isn’t being held open. If your airway isn’t open, air cannot get through and snoring and/or oxygen deprivation can occur.
While many know what snoring is, not everyone is familiar with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea or oxygen deprivation is when you stop breathing during sleep for a short amount of time until your body unknowingly wakes itself up and breathes. For some this happens a few times a night and for others it repeats all night. Hold your breath for about 10 seconds or 30. It doesn’t feel too bad, but imagine that was happening every minute while you sleep. Your body will be exhausted! Not to mention the damage this is doing to your health if you can’t let your body rest properly.
Sleep apnea can be mild to severe. In severe cases, your heart, body, and mind suffer greatly and in the worst cases death has occurred. Even in mild cases, most people report not waking up refreshed and being groggy throughout the day. You might not even notice it because it’s a state of being that you have lived with for so long, your body and mind are working overtime to compensate.
How would you know if you have it? When you come to our office for an exam, we look for the symptoms and ask questions to see if you might be affected. It’s one of the ways we take care of you as a whole and not just your teeth. If we see the signs and/or symptoms we will recommend doing a Home Sleep Test. This is a device you wear on your wrist while you sleep. It monitors you throughout the night and we have the results read by a Sleep Physician.
What happens if I have it? The gold standard for Sleep Apnea is a CPAP, which is a machine that pushes air into your body through a mask you wear at night. Some patients have requested an alternative as they cannot get comfortable enough with the mask to fall asleep. In those cases, or some mild cases, we can prescribe a sleep appliance. This appliance will help keep your airway open at night so you can breathe.
Besides snoring there are other signs, like falling asleep when sitting still for a time. Also, if you notice dark circles under your eyes, you breathe through your mouth, you are getting enough rest and still exhausted, etc. I could go on, but there are so many. The best way to know is the Home Sleep Test.
Before Home Sleep Tests were available, you would have to go to a facility and get connected to equipment, then sleep while people watched you and monitored your progress. Now, you can take the test from the comfort of your own bed!
If you think you might have any breathing issues at night, please give us a call so we can help you. Any time you are in the office and have questions, please ask! Our team are well educated on sleep problems and how to identify the signs. We are here for you.