The Nightmare of Sleep Apnea

by | Mar 28, 2014

Are you or your partner not sleeping at night due to snoring? If so, you may be suffering from sleep apnea! Sleep apnea is a very common and potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep. Let’s explore how to identify the signs and get back on the road to a wonderful night’s sleep!

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea affects the way you breathe when sleeping. Your breathing is interrupted or becomes shallow during your sleep. Typically, the pauses between breathes can last anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds and can occur up to hundreds of times while sleeping. Sleep apnea not only can effect your partner in getting a goods night sleep, but it can also cause you to awaken or stir or throw off your natural sleeping rhythm.

There are three types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Most common type of sleep apnea, where the throat relaxes and blocks the airway often causing loud snoring. Central sleep Apnea: Less common type of sleep apnea, where the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing causing some snoring Complex sleep Apnea: Combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

What risks and issues can be caused by sleep apnea?

With a poor night’s sleep, you could suffer from overall daytime drowsiness, including slowed reflexes, trouble concentrating and higher risk to cause accidents. However, Sleep apnea can lead to very serious health problems over time, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and weight gain.

How do I know I have Sleep Apnea?

Diagnosing yourself with sleep apnea can be difficult; well since you are asleep when it happens! However, you can ask your partner to observe your sleep habits and tell you, or record yourself at night to observe your sleep habits yourself. Major signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:
  • Pauses while snoring
  • Choking or gasping after the pauses while snoring
  • Morning headaches
  • Memory or learning problems and not being able to concentrate
  • Feeling irritable, depressed, or having mood swings or personality changes
  • Waking up frequently to urinate
  • Dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up

How can I treat sleep apnea?

You can treat sleep apnea with a variety of ways, but for our focus, we are looking at dental devices. These resemble something like a mouth guard, and are made from acrylic fit for your mouth. The two most common oral devices are the mandibular repositioning device and the tongue retaining device. These devices open your airway by bringing your lower jaw or your tongue forward during sleep. If you are suffering from sleep apnea, get in touch with your doctor today!