Snoring is Not Normal
About half of people snore at least occasionally, and thirty percent of all adults snore regularly. Snoring even affects children with twenty percent of kids snoring occasionally, and almost one out of every ten kids snoring habitually. This adds up to about eighty million people snoring all night long in the United States alone. Snoring may be common, but it is not natural. Breathing should be silent and effortless, regardless of whether you are asleep or awake.
What is Snoring?
Snoring can be loud or soft. It can occur when you are congested or suffering from a cold or allergies, or it might be more regular. Snoring happens when the soft tissues in your airways are vibrating. The uvula, your tongue, and other tissues vibrate while you breathe, and while this is not necessarily a health problem, it can become one when your breathing is partially or completely obstructed by the flapping tissue.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues collapse and block the airways, preventing air from getting to the lungs and oxygen from reaching the brain. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that is characterized by pauses in breathing that last for at least ten seconds and occur four or more times an hour. Those who have sleep apnea often snore loudly, but their snoring is punctuated by periods of silence during which their breathing has stopped. Once the oxygen levels in the brain have decreased enough, their brain will alert the body to waken enough to open the airway, which causes the person to gasp or choke. This can occur just a few or dozens of times an hour, ruining the chances of a good night’s sleep and leaving the sufferer feeling drowsy and unrefreshed in the morning.
Getting a Better Sleep
If you snore or have OSA, you can take steps to get the sleep you need. Several treatment options are available, but your first step needs to be getting an accurate diagnosis. Not all snoring is sleep apnea, and some snoring can be a symptom of other sleep disorders. The right treatment can make a big difference in your sleep quality.
Partners of snorers can also get a better night’s sleep. If your partner snores, you are likely not getting the sleep you need, either. Sleep apnea and snoring can even lead to couples sleeping in separate rooms. A consultation with an experienced sleep apnea professional can help your partner get the treatment he or she needs and improve the quality of sleep for you both.
Snoring and OSA do not have to mean a lifetime of interrupted sleep and daytime drowsiness. We can evaluate your symptoms, recommend testing, and create a treatment plan to address your needs. Call us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Radfar, our sleep apnea dentist.