SnoringHampton Roads, VA

Do you snore at night? Does it prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep?

Snoring, If not related to sleep apnea, can still be very disruptive. It can interfere with the ability to get necessary restorative sleep for the person snoring and their bed partner.

So disruptive, in fact, studies have shown similar symptoms as those found in a person with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The only way to know if a person’s snoring is or is not related to OSA is with a proper, simple medical evaluation.

Oral Appliance Therapy is indicated and works very well for patients with primary snoring without OSA.

What Causes Snoring?

There may be a fine line between “Do I only Snore” and “Sleep Apnea”. It is important to know what side of the line you are on. At Coastal Virginia Sleep Solutions, we work with physicians to help you figure that out.

An obstruction to the free flow of air through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose causes snoring and sleep apnea. This obstruction causes turbulent airflow which produces vibrations in the soft tissue. The sound generated from these vibrations is called snoring.

Historically snoring has been a social problem with the bed partner being the victim and the snorer the object of many jokes. It was often thought to be a normal part of aging … “doesn’t everyone snore when they get older?”

Today, snoring is a possible sign of a serious medical problem, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). These two terms describe parts of the continuum of sleep-disordered breathing. This spectrum ranges from the slight vibration of the oral tissues at its mildest, to death from asphyxiation at its most extreme. In between lies snoring and periods of complete closure of the airway called “apnea”.

The Dangers of Snoring

When you fall asleep, the muscles and tissues of the airway relax and the airway becomes smaller. The flow of air causes the relaxed tissues of the mouth and throat to vibrate producing a “snoring” sound. The more the tissues relax, the narrower the airway becomes which tends to speed up the flow of air. This makes the relaxed tissues vibrate at various pitches.

These same tissues, when relaxed enough, can actually close the airway (OSA) and cause periods of silence. The relaxation of the tongue can cause it to fall back and touch the back of the throat. Eventually, the body realizes it is suffocating due to this airway closure and arouses the sleeper (does not awaken) to a “less-deep level of sleep”, thus causing the body to move in an attempt to restart or improve breathing.

In the sleep apnea patient, this process typically repeats 40 to 60 times per hour! Thus resulting in severe disruptions to normal sleep. This leads to an increased risk of significant health problems and can even be the cause of sudden death from a stroke or heart attack. Seeking a proper diagnosis and treatment will not only reduce or eliminate your elevated risk for these concerns but will improve your overall quality of life.

Oral Appliances for Snoring

Snoring can be effectively treated with the use of an oral appliance. When you sleep, an oral appliance is worn over your teeth like an orthodontic retainer to keep your airway open and prevent snoring. A custom-made oral appliance can help you sleep better, wake up feeling more rested, and improve your overall health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can sleep apnea snoring be cured?

Yes, we can cure sleep apnea snoring. The most effective way to cure this is CPAP therapy. A CPAP machine gives continuous airflow pressure to help patients breathe throughout the night without snoring.

How do I stop snoring from sleep apnea?

The best ways to stop sleep apnea symptoms including snoring are to treat your sleep apnea. If you are overweight, we recommend that you take steps to lose weight and get into shape. Patients should also limit their exposure to alcohol, quit smoking, and try to follow a routine sleep schedule.

How do I know if I have sleep apnea snoring?

If you wake up often at night to catch a breath or gasp for air, you have sleep apnea snoring. If you do not, and rarely wake up at night for no reason, you have regular snoring. The difference between regular snoring and sleep apnea snoring is that you will literally stop breathing at certain points during the night because of a blockage in your airway. We do not associate regular snoring with lapses in breathing.

Does everyone with sleep apnea snore?

Most patients with sleep apnea snore, but not all do. Every patient with sleep apnea varies on their symptoms. Some patients may snore lightly, not know they snore, or not snore at all.

What is the best sleep position for sleep apnea?

The best position for a patient with sleep apnea is sleeping on your side, preferably the right side. This reduces snoring, and encourages blood and airflow.

Does sleep apnea happen every night?

Patients with sleep apnea can experience apneas multiple times a night, each one lasting 10-30 seconds. In patients with severe sleep apnea, this can happen up to 400 times per night.