Snoring is annoying to your sleep partner, but it can also be a symptom of sleep apnea. What is sleep apnea, and why should you care? Let’s talk about snoring and sleep apnea.
What Causes Snoring?
If you’re looking for a quick snoring fix, you may just want to buy an anti snoring mouthguard like VitalSleep. First, though, let’s talk about what causes snoring.
Snoring is caused by an obstruction of your airway. Lots of things can cause airway obstruction when you sleep, including:
- Soft tissue in the back of your throat blocking your airway
- Your tongue relaxing into your throat
- Narrow air passages in your nose
These causes may be genetic, like if you have a deviated septum. However, external factors can also cause snoring, such as drinking alcohol or being obese.
What Stops Snoring?
If you’re reading this article, you probably want to know how to address your snoring problem.
One of the most common ways to stop snoring is to use a snoring mouthguard. There are two main types of snoring mouthguards.
Tongue Retaining Device (TRD)
If your snoring is caused by your tongue blocking your airway, a TRD may be a great solution. A TRD holds the tip of your tongue between your front teeth so it can’t fall into your airway.
The main complaint about the TRD is that you must be able to breathe through your nose to use it. Otherwise, it’s usually more comfortable than the next type of snoring mouthguard. Also, you can use a TRD if you wear dentures.
Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)
The MAD uses a different technique for keeping your tongue out of your airway. It pulls your entire lower jaw forward so your tongue can’t fall back far enough to block your airway. You can often adjust the MAD to fit your mouth and teeth.
MADs work well for a lot of people. However, some people find them very uncomfortable. Also, you can’t use a MAD if you have dentures.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, a condition where you stop breathing as often as 30 or more times per hour. This has a serious impact on your sleep. There are 3 main kinds of sleep apnea:
- Central sleep apnea, a condition where your brain forgets to make you breathe
- Obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where your airway becomes completely blocked
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome, a combination of central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea
As you can imagine, stopping breathing off and on throughout the night does nothing good for your health. Your brain and body don’t get enough oxygen. Also, your brain wakes up every time you stop breathing to make you breathe again.
As a result, moderate to severe sleep apnea can lead to heart problems, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
While anybody can have sleep apnea, some people are at a higher risk than others. Some risk factors for sleep apnea include:
- Being male
- Being older
- Drinking alcohol
- Family history
- Large neck circumference
- Narrowed airways
- Nasal congestion
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Is your snoring just a symptom of sleep apnea? These are some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea:
- Feeling tired during the day
- Gasping for air while you sleep
- Loud snoring
- Stopping breathing
- Trouble falling asleep
- Trouble paying attention
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- Waking up with a headache
If you have any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about doing a sleep test.
What Is the Treatment for Sleep Apnea?
If you only have mild sleep apnea, a snoring mouthguard may be all you need to treat it. If a snoring mouthpiece doesn’t help enough, it’s time for a trip to the doctor.
A sleep test will determine how often you stop breathing. You may be prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to keep your airways open while you sleep. A CPAP works by supplying pressurized air to you via a mask.
Is It Snoring or Sleep Apnea?
If a snoring mouthpiece relieves your symptoms, you probably have nothing to worry about. If that doesn’t help, you need to see a doctor and do a sleep test. A sleep test measures things like your heart rate, oxygen level, how often you stop breathing, and how often you wake up.
While sleep apnea is more severe than simple snoring, it is often easily treated with a CPAP machine.