Has a member of your family ever told you that your snoring keeps them awake at night? Do you sleep poorly, or wake up feeling exhausted the next day? While snoring may be considered a mild embarrassment that just happens to some people while they sleep, there is a good chance that you are suffering from a condition called obstructive sleep apnea.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition which occurs when the muscles and soft tissues in your throat relax too much, causing them to collapse while you are sleeping. The extreme relaxation of your throat tissue blocks your airway while you breathe, causing abnormal pauses in your breathing throughout the night. The most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are usually only noticed by someone who you are sleeping next to, and include: fluctuating intensity of snoring, pauses in breathing, and waking up gasping for air periodically. It is also common for people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea to feel exhausted throughout the entire day after they wake up.
The Link Between Obstructive Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by relaxed muscle tissue in the throat which restricts the airway. This air restriction in your throat is the same reason why people snore.
- Specialized breathing machines that produce constant air pressure to keep the airways open and require someone to wear a face mask.
- Custom oral retainers called mandibular advancement splints, which hold the lower jaw in a position which causes the airway in the throat to remain open.
Your dentist can help you overcome obstructive sleep apnea by creating a custom mandibular advancement splint for you to wear while you sleep. Talk to your dentist at Briggs Family Dentistry to discuss what the best option is to help you breathe properly while you sleep.