You may have heard from your partner that you snore loudly and frequently at night. It may have been suggested that you not lie on your back, since that seems associated with this, but you find that most position the most comfortable for sleeping. You might have also been told that being overweight can be a factor in snoring, but you find it challenging to lose pounds, of course.
It may come as a shock that snoring, obesity, and sleeping on the back are often correlated with a very serious condition called sleep apnea. Apneas are short pauses in breathing while you sleep, which causes the brain to send signal to wake up and take a deep breath to get more oxygen. What happens is that if you suffer from sleep apnea, you do not become fully conscious, but awake just enough to prompt you to start breathing again. This can happen hundreds of times during the night.
So why does this matter? Because if you have sleep apnea, you will likely wake up in the morning unaware of what has happened, but with a sore throat or a mouth that feels full of cotton, due to mouth breathing to get more air. You may also have a morning migraine or frequent headaches during the day. If you can stake awake without getting into an accident when you drive to work, you probably find yourself falling asleep at your desk or in meetings and no amount of coffee can seem to keep your eyes open. You might also find it hard to concentrate and remember what you are told.
If this has been going on for some time, you may be feeling depressed, anxious, or irritable unrelated to whatever is happening in your life. If you are male, you may have found yourself suffering from erectile dysfunction. Does this begin to sound like your experience?
If so, you should be very concerned, since sleep apnea significantly raises the risk for Alzeimer’s disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease of all kinds.
If you have many of these symptoms, you should get it diagnosed ASAP and, if all this is the result of sleep apnea, do something to control it. You should know there are two types of this disorder. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is due to a blockage of the throat’s airway, often by a large tongue, tonsils, or excess mouth tissue, especially when you lie on your back. The other type is Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), which is due to incorrect brain signaling and requires a prescription medication (we can refer you to a physician if this is your case, but it is relatively rate).
The standard medical approach to OSA is to put you on a complicated machine known as the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) system. Many find this very uncomfortable because you have to wear a mask all night connected to an oxygen provider and it requires lying on the back (studies have also shown many patients do not use it properly).
Fortunately, Wilshire Smile Studio can provide you with something much simpler and more comfortable that can keep your airway unblocked: a custom-made, FDA-approved oral appliance, worn while you sleep. Call now for to set a time for an examination and discussion about whether you may have sleep apnea.