If you or a loved one snores, you know just how difficult it can be to get a good night's rest. The constant interruptions to your sleep can leave you dazed and drowsy in the morning, making it tough to get through the day.
But snoring can also be an indicator of more serious health conditions. That’s why it’s so important to get chronic snoring checked by a physician.
The importance of sleep
We all know we need our sleep. Yet its effect on both physical and mental health is often underestimated.
The body needs sleep to help repair and rejuvenate itself. In fact, not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can contribute to heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
In terms of mental health, poor sleep can impair judgment, decrease focus and affect your mood. And studies show that insufficient sleep increases your risk for depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.
Sleep deprivation can also be deadly. According to the Centers for Disease control, drowsy driving is to blame for up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year.
What causes snoring?
Snoring occurs when your airway becomes slightly obstructed during sleep. With a partially blocked airway, the air comes in more forcefully and vibrates the tissues, causing snoring.
This can be caused by:
- Mouth anatomy - Having a thick soft palate (the muscles in the roof of your mouth) can contribute to the obstruction of your airway.
- Nasal congestion - Nasal congestion can collapse the airway and leads to chronic snoring.
- Sleeping position - Sleeping on your back may increase your snoring in frequency and volume.
- Sleep apnea - Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that is often characterized by chronic snoring.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious condition where breathing repeatedly starts and stops while sleeping. Sleep apnea is treatable. But left unchecked, it can be potentially dangerous.
In the short term, sleep apnea can cause snoring, problems staying asleep, dry mouth, poor focus during the daytime and morning headaches. While most symptoms may seem manageable at first, sleep apnea can lead to serious, long-term complications like heart disease. Getting your sleep apnea treated can both ease the symptoms and help prevent any complications or long-term effects.
Treatment for sleep apnea
Sleep apnea treatment can vary greatly, but it’s still treated relatively easily. In some cases, allergy medication may be prescribed to help alleviate nasal congestion (a contributing factor to sleep apnea).
For mild cases, lifestyle changes such as weight loss or cutting alcohol and/or tobacco use may help. However, if these don’t alleviate your symptoms, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine might be prescribed.
A CPAP machine involves a nosepiece worn while sleeping. It’s connected via a tube to a machine that regulates your airway pressure. CPAP machines alleviate symptoms by keeping the airway open.
Schedule an evaluation
If snoring is an issue for you, we can help. Our providers have extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of snoring, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. For an evaluation, request an appointment below, or call us at 515-223-4368.