Snoring and Sleep Apnoea help

snoring partner keeping me awake

Does snoring keep you or your partner awake?

If so, it will be affecting the quality of your sleep for both of you, often leaving the snorer unrefreshed, suffering headaches and a tenderness in the upper airway Evidence suggests that snoring will get worse over time if left untreated. Nearly a third of the population snores!

What causes snoring?

Snoring is caused by the vibration of the soft tissue in your head and neck as you breathe in. While you’re asleep, the airways in your head and neck relax and narrow. It’s thought that the narrowing of the airways increases the speed you breathe out and changes air pressure in your airways. This causes the soft tissue to vibrate by sucking the sides of the airways in.

What is sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea is a more severe collapsing of the airway in which it is obstructed for multiple periods of time for 10 seconds or more during sleep. Both in the form of a total pause or a significant shallowing of breath, oxygen levels dip and can result in a multitude of symptoms: extreme tiredness, snoring, abnormal movements whilst sleeping, headaches, and psychological issues to name a few.

During an episode, the lack of oxygen triggers your brain to pull you out of deep sleep – either to a lighter sleep or to wakefulness – so your airway reopens and you can breathe normally.

Snoring and sleep apnoea solutions offered at Larkham House

There are a number of options to help with both snoring and sleep apnoea. Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS) are commonly used for both, gently holding the lower jaw forward to keep the airway open.

For severe sleep apnoea (typically tested in a sleep clinic, but can also be done in your own home), Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is recommended and offers the highest clinical success. Compliance, however, can prove to be an issue. For those that cannot get on with CPAP and for moderate sufferers, (less than 30 interruptions an hour), a splint is the most common treatment of choice – highly effective, less expensive and more patient friendly. Sleepwell has been shown to be the most clinically successful. Make an appointment today and we will find the right option for you.

Man sleeping on a bench

Why could snoring and sleep apnoea be a problem?

  1. Snoring affects the quality of life for the snorer and their partner.
  2. It is socially embarrassing and can even lead to relationship breakdown.
  3. Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) can result from insufficient oxygen entering the body and poor quality sleep caused by multiple wakings. Effects of EDS include an inability to concentrate, poor memory, reduction in performance and, in extreme cases, can lead to the sufferer falling asleep unexpectedly.
  4. Severe sleepiness has even been found to increase the chances of having an accident whilst driving by seven times.
  5. Sleep apnoea is linked to acid reflux and increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and diabetes.
Very sleepy woman

What increases the risk of developing snoring and sleep apnoea?

  1. Your weight – particularly if you have a large amount of fat around your neck; people with a neck circumference of more than 43cm (17 inches) usually snore a lot
  2. Drinking alcohol – alcohol relaxes your muscles when you sleep, which increases the narrowing of your airways
  3. Sedatives and some types of antidepressants – in some people, these medications can have a similar effect to alcohol on the muscles
  4. Smoking – tobacco smoke can cause your airways to become inflamed, which causes greater narrowing of the airways
  5. Allergic rhinitis – where the inside of your nose becomes swollen and inflamed as a result of an allergic reaction to substances such as dust or pollen

Additional factors which may increase the risk of sleep apnoea

  1. Being male – it’s not known why it is more common in men than in women, but it may be related to different patterns of body fat distribution
  2. Being 40 years of age or more – although apnoea can occur at any age, it’s more common in people who are over 40
  3. Having an unusual inner neck structure – such as a narrow airway, large tonsils, adenoids or tongue, or a small lower jaw
  4. The menopause – the changes in hormone levels during the menopause may cause the throat muscles to relax more than usual
  5. Having a family history of apnoea – there may be genes inherited from your parents that can make you more susceptible
Dentistry advice at Larkham House Dental Practice

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