Whether it consists of quiet, monotone snorts or grumbling, rumbling roars, snoring is more often the butt of jokes than it is a subject of serious discussion. Usually, it is either treated as a nuisance or simply ignored entirely. However, snoring can be a sign of underlying issues as well as a cause of significant health concerns. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your snore.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
As silly as it may sound, snoring is connected with some serious health risks. If it is particularly bad, it may obstruct your breathing while you are asleep, a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. When your breathing is obstructed, your blood’s oxygen levels drop, causing your brain to panic and wake up a little, interrupting your regular sleep patterns. This condition is related to a number of issues, including:
- Fatigue: The constant interruptions of deep sleep caused by sleep apnea prevent the body from resting itself properly. This leads to decreased energy levels during the day.
- Heart problems: Intense snoring leads to extra strain on the heart, increases cholesterol levels, and leads to plaque buildup in your arteries, increasing the risk of stroke and heart attack. There is also the risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm, known as arrhythmias. This too can lead to heart disease and stroke.
- Reflux disease: Snoring is often caused by abnormalities in how the muscles in the throat open and close. These abnormalities may also lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease, in which stomach acids come up out of the stomach and into the esophagus.
- Poor mental health: Getting proper sleep is key to good mental well-being, so if your nightly rest is interrupted by obstructions in your breathing, it can lead to depression and anxiety. In other words, your snoring may be literally driving you insane.
Sleep apnea is also associated with headaches, reduced bladder control, pregnancy complications, and diminished sexual satisfaction.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to treat sleep apnea and reduce snoring. Some of these can be done on your own while others require outside professional assistance.
- Since snoring often results from excess weight, losing weight can take some pressure off your throat and clear up your snoring.
- Sleeping on your side tends to open up nasal passageways better than sleeping on your back.
- Alcohol and certain drugs may relax nasal and throat tissues and thereby lead to snoring. Reducing alcohol intake may help alleviate snoring if this is case.
- Increase fluids to prevent mucus and phlegm from becoming sticky.
- Clean your house and change pillows to reduce dust and allergens.
- Use an oral appliance to open up the mouth and throat while sleeping.
Custom-fitted oral appliances are available through your dentist. At Lynn Dental Care, we fit patients with specialized devices that help tissues relax, thus opening up airways. The fitting is done with special imaging technology, so you won’t need to sit through an uncomfortable impression process. Whether you are facing obstructive sleep apnea or simply have an annoying snore, contact Lynn Dental Care today to set up an appointment and determine your options.