Healthy Living

What's so Wrong with Snoring? Why it's Important to Treat Sleep Apnea

Key Takeaways

  • If you are overweight or have a disorganized sleeping pattern, then you will need to make some changes to help encourage better sleep, such as losing weight or making a sleeping schedule.
  • Nasal dilators, nose strips, nasal disks, or even teeth guards are ideal tools that will help reduce snoring and regulate breathing.
  • With sleep apnea, there are times where your breathing stops (and starts again) while you sleep.

Sleep is one of the crucial things you'll need to consider when it comes to regulating your health and staying energized. But, there may be some problems you face in the long run, may it be difficulty in sleeping or other types of disorders that can disturb your sleep. What about snoring? While snoring is amusing at first, how will you know when you'll need to have it checked?

Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder that results in snoring, and it's important to treat it to avoid further complications. To learn more about sleep apnea and how you can manage it, read on.

Why is it important to treat sleep apnea?

You may be wondering how snoring can become a sleeping disorder. While it may be something you can brush off at first, it's imperative that you see a doctor for it. If your sleep apnea continues, there will be a chance you won't be able to breathe for longer periods of time, resulting in fatal consequences.

One patient said: "Once I got treated for sleep apnea, I started feeling so much better. My partner had better sleep because I stopped snoring as well, and I also started sleeping quickly and without disruption. I now wake up feeling energized and have better focus, without the worry of what lack of sleep and breathing can do for my health."

Getting checked for sleep apnea isn't a shameful thing. It's treatable and can save your life. That's why it is recommend to treat and prioritize both your health and quality of sleep.

How you can treat sleep apnea

Treating sleep apnea will require the following: 

Lifestyle Changes: If you are overweight or have a disorganized sleeping pattern, then you will need to make some changes to help encourage better sleep, such as losing weight or making a sleeping schedule.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure: Known as CPAP, these helpful devices decrease daytime sleepiness and regulate blood pressure, all the while preventing airways from closing while you sleep. This is the most common first choice doctors would give you.

Oral Breathing Devices: Nasal dilators, nose strips, nasal disks, or even teeth guards are ideal tools that will help reduce snoring and regulate breathing.

Medicine: Medicine may not help with the breathing blockages, but they will help you stay awake throughout the day for you to do your work. It's paired with the prescribed devices you'll use.

Surgery: Surgery would only be a choice if the muscle blockage can easily be fixed, or if the other treatments won't work.

"My doctor recommended me an effective CPAP machine, which worked wonders. Thanks to the handy device, I was able to sleep in peace and without any disruption. Of course, some sleeping habits had to be changed as well, such as fixing my schedule and focusing on relaxing routines before bedtime. It took a few weeks, but I eventually got used to the CPAP machine and had an even better sleep, waking up feeling energized and ready for the day ahead."

What is sleep apnea?

Have you ever snored before or know a family member who does? Then chances are that he or she has sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea derives from the Greek word apnea, meaning "without breath." With that meaning, you can now see that this is a common disorder that affects your breathing as you sleep. With sleep apnea, there are times where your breathing stops (and starts again) while you sleep.

Not only does it affect your breathing, but it also affects the way you sleep because of jolting awake from not breathing. As a result, it ends up with you feeling groggy or less focused on your daily work. There are different types of sleep apnea, but it all boils down to the obstruction of your inability to breathe while sleeping. And one of the common symptoms? Snoring.

Kinds of sleep apnea

The three kinds of sleep apnea are as follows:

Obstructive sleep apnea

Most people have this type. It occurs when soft tissue located in the back of the throat would relax while sleeping, resulting in a blocked airway. Obstructive sleep apnea causes the mild to loud snoring. Exactly how does this happen? The muscles that begin to relax are what supports your soft palate, uvula, tonsils, and the side walls of your throat and tongue. Because of it relaxing, the airways begin to narrow, so you won't be able to breathe, and it lowers your oxygen levels.

Once your brain begins to sense your inability to breathe, it would rouse you from sleep, allowing you to wake up and breathe properly. It can happen about five to thirty times per hour, sometimes even more. Most of the time, you won't even remember it happening when you're wide awake. You wake up by making a snorting, gasping, or choking sound, and this ends up impairing your inability to reach the particular stage of deep sleep.

Central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea involves your central nervous system. It happens when your brain does not signal the muscles that control your breathing. As for central sleep apnea, you won't breathe for a period, which ends up with you waking up feeling short of breath. Sometimes, you find it difficult to begin sleeping or staying asleep.

Complex sleep apnea

Also called mixed sleep apnea, this is a combination of the two types. The one thing they have in common is that the brain would wake the sleeper up to signal breathing to start. It may be a partial wake-up call, but even with just a jolt to start breathing, it disturbs the sleeper's REM stage and results in waking up groggy and without much energy.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

There are various symptoms you may experience if you have this sleeping disorder, though it may be difficult to know which type you have. Here are the common signs of both types of sleep apnea:

  • Loud snoring, which is a very common symptom, mostly for those with obstructive sleep apnea
  • Someone witnesses your inability to breathe
  • Waking up abruptly and feeling shortness of breath (central sleep apnea)
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or a sore throat
  • Morning headache and feeling no energy
  • Attention problems, mood swings, and feeling sleepy throughout the day
  • Not being able to sleep properly

If you notice any of these symptoms, then it's best to see a doctor for him to help treat the sleep apnea immediately.

Here's an example diagnosis:

"Based on my experience, I was feeling groggy and started snoring loud enough to wake my partner, which is why I consulted a doctor to help me out. I was surprised to hear that my trouble was sleep apnea."

Take note that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Also, people who don't snore but experience the other symptoms may have it. You will need to follow your sleeping patterns carefully, as well as how you feel throughout the day. You can also ask your partner to observe how you sleep and see if you have trouble breathing or sleeping. If you live alone, recording yourself will help as well.

In conclusion

Sleep apnea may be a bit alarming, but there's no need to worry as long as you treat it properly. It does require some medical attention, but you'll be able to sleep snore-free and breathe well once you follow what the doctor advised you. You won't only stop the snoring, but you'll have the better quality of sleep as well. If you snore while you sleep, then consult a doctor today to relieve yourself from the condition and get better sleep.