Snoring is an annoying habit, but it can potentially be more damaging than you realize. This is because it could be a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. Most people with sleep apnea will snore, but not everybody who snores will have sleep apnea. But, how can you tell if you just happen to snore, or if you have sleep apnea? Although sleep apnea can cause sufferers to snore loudly and regularly, it does create other symptoms. If you recognize any of these signs, you may have sleep apnea in Courtice.
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
One major sign is the way you feel when you wake up in the morning. If you frequently feel tired and are excessively sleepy during the daytime, you might have this condition. The reason why sleep apnea can create excessive sleepiness is that it interrupts breathing. As you fall asleep, the muscles in your throat and neck relax, potentially narrowing and partially or entirely blocking the airway and preventing normal breathing. When your body doesn’t receive enough oxygen, it prompts your brain to start rebreathing, and this usually happens with a loud gasp or snort.
Although you may not wholly awaken during these episodes, they can prevent deep, restful REM sleep and may occur many times throughout the night. Even if it may seem you have slept for hours, your sleep quality could be poor, resulting in excessive sleepiness during the daytime. If you have a sleep partner who has complained your snoring is keeping them awake, it’s worth asking them if they recognize this sign.
Other symptoms include waking up with a dry mouth or with a headache and having difficulty concentrating or noticing you have mood changes. It is important to get a proper diagnosis as sleep apnea can potentially cause complications that include cardiovascular problems because a sudden fall in oxygen levels increases blood pressure and increases the strain on the heart. More severe cases of sleep apnea can increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
How Can a Dentist in Newcastle Help?
You might have wondered how we could help with you with snoring here at West Bowmanville Family Dental, but in fact, there is quite a bit we can do. Usually, it’s best to have a proper sleep study where the quality of your sleep is carefully monitored to assess whether you have a mild, moderate or more severe form of sleep apnea, or if it really is just a case that you snore. Once you have a diagnosis, we can explore suitable forms of treatment with you.
Treating Sleep Apnea
Often severe sleep apnea must be treated with a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) consisting of a small mask that you wear during sleep and which pumps pressurized air into your airway, ensuring it remains open. Milder and moderate cases of sleep apnea can frequently be treated with a custom-made dental splint and which we can fabricate for you here in Clarington.
The splint is a small device designed to keep your lower jaw in a slightly forward position which helps to maintain an open airway during sleep, helping to prevent the tongue from falling backwards and blocking your airway. You might also want to try this device if you have used a CPAP machine before and have found it very difficult to tolerate.
Other things that can be helpful when you have sleep apnea is to change your sleeping position, as most people will snore more easily when they sleep on their back. If you smoke, it could be an excellent reason to quit as people who smoke can be more likely to have sleep apnea.